How Much Clothing Should My Baby Wear While Sleeping?

Since the day my daughters were born, my mother has been trying to tuck a blanket around them. Her intentions, of course, are grandmotherly and good. But boy, did it take some work to undo this notion that babies must wear a pound of clothing to keep warm.

In fact, the medical community agrees that over-bundling little ones has potential for heartbreaking consequences—overheating babies, experts say, are at greater risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. So, what can you do to ensure your baby sleeps warmly, comfortably, and as safely as can be? I posed that question to a board-certified pediatrician, Dr. Mona Amin, D.O.

Here’s Dr. Amin’s advice for dressing your baby for bedtime.


What to look for first

It all depends on the temperature of your home. And there’s no reason to crank the thermostat or turn up the air conditioner to accommodate your little one. Keep their room at a comfortable temperature for you and dress baby accordingly.

To check baby’s temperature, Dr. Amin recommended parents feel the back of their little one’s neck. If it feels sweaty, you’ve likely dressed baby in too many layers. However, a baby’s feet and hands often feel cold to the touch, so Dr. Amin advised that parents not use these to gauge their child’s comfort.


Her foolproof formula

To ensure baby stays warm, safe, and comfortable, Dr. Amin offered a simple formula for nighttime dressing:

  • Onesie + Swaddle (or age-appropriate sleep sack)
  • Footie pajama + Swaddle (or age-appropriate sleep sack)
  • Footie pajama on its own

“The best rule is to dress babies in one layer plus an optional second layer, such as a swaddle or sleep sack,” Dr. Amin said. “I often find parents try to bundle their babies up in too many layers. This is not necessary and can overheat the baby.”


Read More: How to Get Your Kids to Sleep Past 5am (Experts Share Their Best Tips!)