You’re scratching your head on this one, right? The obvious answer would be pajamas, but the reality is that your baby can overheat quickly if they’re overdressed for bed. So, how do you dress your baby for sleep in the summer? Let’s take a look.
Why does it matter what my baby wears to sleep in hotter months?
If your baby is too hot, they may become restless — and irritable — when they should be sleeping. A poor night’s sleep throws off your baby’s nap schedule, creating a cycle of unhealthy rest — rest your baby desperately needs as they grow at a furious pace. Apart from poor sleep, there is a serious side to overdressing your baby for sleep in the summer — overheating.
How can I tell if my baby’s overheating?
Babies lack the ability to regulate their body temperature properly and do not produce sweat like children and adults, which can cause them to overheat if overdressed at nighttime. Lacking the ability to cool their body temperature with sweat, babies release heat from their heads — this is one reason why you should never send your baby to bed with a cap on (another reason is the suffocation risk if the cap slides over their face).
If your baby’s fussy, without the usual reasons — hungry, diaper change, etc. — it may be because they’re uncomfortably hot. A quick look at them can indicate if your baby is getting too hot, as their ears and cheeks may be red, or their neck is hot and clammy to the touch.
A sign that your baby is too hot is heat rash — little red dots demarcating hair follicles — causing irritation. Heat rash often appears on your baby’s neck, back, chest, and in the folds of skin at joints — hips/thighs, knees, armpits and elbows.
The SIDS connection
A heat rash is something you can deal with, but overheating has been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). For this reason, you want to make sure you follow safe sleep recommendations for your infant and ensure that they’re staying cool when they sleep.
Keep the temperature cool in your nursery, as this can not only help prevent overheating but also provide a soothing environment for your little one to sleep. How cool? Between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
But, what should my baby wear to sleep in the summer?
You already know that blankets have no place in a baby’s crib, so you need to dress your baby so that they don’t overheat or get too cool. Make sure that your baby’s sleep clothes are made of a breathable fabric, like cotton. A simple short-sleeved onesie and footed bottoms are perfectly fine for your baby to sleep in. You can also dress your little one in a cotton footed sleeper. I’m a big fan of sleep sacks, which function as a sheet but pose no risk to your baby. Sleepsacks come in lightweight cotton, linen and wool fabrics — perfect for summer sleep — as well as thicker, fleece sacks for keeping baby warm in the winter.
The general rule of thumb is to dress your baby as you dress in the summertime, and they should be fine.