The winter sleep checklist: Everything your baby needs
Get your baby cozy and ready for bed this winter with our winter sleep checklist. In this blog, we’ll take you through how to dress your baby to sleep in the winter, crib safety, and tips for helping them sleep.
What babies should wear to sleep during winter
It’s tempting to bundle your baby up in layers when the temperatures drop but this isn’t the safest or the most comfortable for them. Newborns and babies cannot regulate their temperatures like adults and the best way to check if they’re too warm or too cold is to check the nape of their neck. To keep your baby comfortable during their nap and at night, we recommend dressing them in two layers. Here, you’ll learn about the first layer - the base layer and the second layer - the outer layer.
PJs and Sleepers
For the first layer, you can dress your baby in PJs and sleepers. We recommend PJs and sleepers made from breathable fabrics like GOTS certified organic cotton and bamboo. For the winter, you may prefer footed sleepers. Footed sleepers keep your bubs’ feet warm on cooler nights. For walkers and climbers from 6-12 months, we design our footed sleepers with rubber grip soles to prevent them from slipping while they explore their world.
Wearable blankets are sleeping bags for infants and babies that keep your baby safe, warm, and comfortable while they sleep. These include swaddle sleep bags, sleep bags, and footed sleep bags (previously called sleep suits). The Nest Designs Sleep System is designed to grow with your baby that includes safe, wearable blankets.
Swaddle sleep bags are for newborns and babies up to 6 months. When a baby is first born, they still have their Moro reflex or natural startle reflex. This is how your baby responds to loud sounds or movements. You’ll see your baby throw their heads back, tighten their bodies, fling their arms up and flinch. When swaddling is done right, it can help reduce their natural startle reflex, make them more comfortable, and help them sleep better. Need help with choosing a swaddle sleep bag? Read our blog post here. To learn how to swaddle a baby, read our guide here.
Once your baby outgrows their startle reflex around 6 months of age, you’ll need to stop swaddling to keep them safe and switch to sleep bags. Sleep bags are great because you don’t need to worry about your baby kicking off their blankets in the middle of the night. These are available in sleeveless, long sleeve, and with removable sleeves.
The next stage in our sleep system is for the Flip Flopper. This is when your bubs become more active. Footed sleep bags or sleep suits are wearable blankets with feet which allow your bubs to move freely and is a safer option over sleep bags. These are loose enough to keep them comfortable but tight enough to keep them safe and can be worn over a pair of PJs or a sleeper.
When the temperatures drop, you’ll want to find a wearable blanket with a heavier TOG. The right TOG depends on a few factors. To read more about winter TOGs, read our blog here. In general, there are a few TOGs you can choose based solely on the temperature of your baby’s your sleep space:
- 1.0 TOG is ideal for year-round or warmer rooms between 20-24°C (69-74°F)
- 2.5 TOG is a mid-heavy weight that is ideal for rooms between 16-20°C (61-68°F)
- 3.5 TOG is a heavy weight that is ideal for cold rooms between 10-16°C (31°F)
For the winter, Nest Designs uses warmer, breathable fabrics like certified organic cotton, bamboo, bamboo blended wool, and Sorona®️, which keep your bubs cozy and warm, are gentle on your bubs' skin, and are good for the environment.
How to prepare a baby’s crib for winter
It can be tempting to fill our baby’s crib with cute stuffed animals, blankets, bumpers, pillows, and other things but it isn’t the safest. The Canadian Pediatric Society and Public Health Agency of Canada's safe sleep guidelines recommend keeping your baby’s sleep space simple - a firm mattress and a fitted crib sheet.
Once your baby turns one, you can introduce a lovey safely. A quilted crib blanket and pillow can be introduced around 18 months of age or when you feel your toddler is ready for these items.
Read more on how you can set up a safe sleep space for your baby here.
Tips for helping babies sleep during winter
Can my baby wear a beanie to sleep?
Hats and beanies are not recommended for sleep and are not considered safe. This is because babies release heat through their extremities like their head and faces. These can also make your baby overheat and pose as a choking or suffocation hazard.
Can my baby wear socks to sleep?
Socks are not considered safe for sleep because they can be kicked off and be a suffocation hazard. If you’d like to keep your baby’s feet warm, choose footed sleeper or sleepers with folder cuff options.
How do I keep my baby’s hands warm at night?
Babies release heat through their extremities like their hands and feet. Mittens are not recommended for safe sleep because they can become loose and pose as a suffocation hazard. To keep your baby’s hands warm, choose sleepers or PJs with hand cuffs that can be folded over to keep their hands warm and prevent your baby from scratching their face.
What are signs of overheating?
To check to see if your baby is too warm or too cold, check the nape of their neck. Some signs of overheating are:
- Warm to touch
- Red skin
- Rapid breathing
- Lethargic or being unresponsive
Sweet dreams, little one
Dressing your baby lightly during the cooler weather will keep them more comfortable and safe while they sleep. With this winter sleep checklist, you can get them cozy and help your bubs sleep better at night - so hopefully you can get some good rest as well.