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How to Dress a Baby for Sleep: Expert Tips for Choosing the Safest, Most Comfortable Sleepwear

How to Dress a Baby for Sleep: Expert Tips for Choosing the Safest, Most Comfortable Sleepwear


There is probably nothing more stressful and confusing for many parents and caregivers than a baby's sleep. Whether it's how to get a baby to sleep through the night or how often to feed at night, many parents and caregivers have many questions about baby's sleep habits. A pressing question that can have a major impact on a baby's comfort and safety is how to dress them for sleep.

Sleepwear plays a crucial role in babies' safe sleep by helping to regulate their body temperature and reduce the risk of SIDS, says Dr Anna Cornish, director of general outpatient pediatrics at Staten Island University Hospital.

The basic principles for dressing a baby comfortably and safely are that caregivers should dress their baby in lightweight, breathable clothing appropriate for the room temperature, Cornish adds. Here, we'll explore the ins and outs of dressing babies for sleep, including expert advice on the safest and most comfortable baby sleepwear to choose.

How clothes and other factors influence baby's sleep

Part of the reason why infant sleep can be so confusing to parents and guardians is that it is constantly evolving. Sleep changes dramatically when a baby first opens their eyes and continues throughout the months of tireless exploration leading up to their first birthday, explains Dr Robert Quillinboard-certified pediatrician and medical director of Pediatrix Newborn Services of Texas.

Sleep is an important part of baby's development, says Dr. Matthew Deng, pediatrician at Northwell Lenox Hill Hospital. Newborns typically sleep about 16 to 18 hours a day and sleep in shorter periods, he explains. As babies grow and develop, their total hours of sleep will decrease slightly to around 12 to 16 hours per day, including naps. They will also sleep longer.

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Several factors affect the quality and comfort of a baby, including the quality of their feeding, whether they have had a stressful or overly stimulating day, developmental changes they may experience, and their comfort, including the way he is dressed. Sleep patterns follow genetics as well as environmental cues, Quillin explains.

How to dress a baby to sleep

When thinking about how to dress a baby for sleep, safety should be a priority. It's important for parents to create a safe sleep environment for their baby to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related risks, says Cornish.

Each year, about 3,400 babies die from sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), which includes SIDS, deaths from unknown causes and accidental strangulation and suffocation during sleep, according to the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention (CDC). The sleep environment you provide for babies, including how you dress them, plays an important role in preventing SUID.

In addition to always putting babies to sleep on their backs and keeping the sleep area free from choking hazards, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following clothing guidelines for safe sleep:

  • Don't overdress your baby for sleep.
  • Don't let your baby overheat.
  • Do not use hats on babies indoors or while they are sleeping.

What are the safest sleepwear for infants?

Overheating is a major safety issue, so Cornish advises dressing babies in lightweight, breathable clothing. The experts we spoke with recommend the following as the safest options for baby sleepwear:

  • Lightweight cotton overalls.
  • Sleep bags.
  • Wearable blankets.

As your baby moves beyond the newborn months, Dr. Ilan Shapirochief health correspondent and medical affairs manager at AltaMed Health Services, says you can add footed pajamas to the repertoire, especially if the temperature in the room is cool.

Watch for overheating and remove layers with warmer temperatures.

Dr. Anna Cornish, Director of General Ambulatory Pediatrics, Staten Island University Hospital

Additionally, remember that babies prefer anything that reminds them of the times when they were safe and comfortable in the womb. Recreating the womb environment is a great way to think about how to get babies to sleep comfortably. Babies love to feel good in a swaddle or sleep sack, Deng adds.

How many diapers should babies wear to bed?

It cannot be stressed enough that you do not want to overheat a baby while sleeping, as this is a major risk factor for SIDS. So, even on cold nights, the AAP recommends Dress babies in just one extra layer of clothing than you would wear yourself.

It is recommended not to use blankets, pillows or other loose bedding in a baby's sleep space as they can pose suffocation or strangulation hazards. Instead, opt for sleep sacks, swaddles or wearable blankets to keep your baby warm and secure while they sleep, suggests Cornish. However, she says, watch for overheating and remove layers with warmer temperatures.

How to choose the right baby sleepwear

Beyond the types of clothing to focus on, there are various other factors to consider when it comes to how to dress a little one for sleep. Here's what our experts say:

1. Consider fabric type and breathability

The type of fabric is important when it comes to baby clothes. Try opting for breathable, soft fabrics like cotton or bamboo, which are gentle on baby's skin and help regulate body temperature, Cornish recommends. Avoid synthetic fabrics which can cause irritation or overheating.

Choosing breathable materials like cotton keeps babies from overheating, says Shapiro. Also remember that babies have sensitive skin, so it's important to avoid rough materials that could irritate the baby's skin, he adds.

2. Consider the season

A baby's clothing needs will change as the weather changes. Cornish recommends choosing clothes that are appropriate for the seasons as well as the temperature in your home. In cold weather, opt for thicker, warmer sleepwear, she says. Lightweight, breathable options are ideal for warm weather.

Remember to also consider the temperature in the baby's sleeping area. If the room temperature is reasonable, heavier clothing may not be necessary. In terms of temperature, anything you feel comfortable in will usually be comfortable for the infant, it tends to be around 68-72. [degrees Fahrenheit]Deng said.

3. Pay attention to size and fit guidelines

Choose clothes that fit your baby well, not only so that they are comfortable, but also so that they are safe. Make sure sleepwear fits your baby properly to avoid any risk of suffocation, advises Cornish. She recommends staying away from any clothing that is too tight or too loose.

4. Prioritize security features

Baby clothes often come with features like snaps and zippers, which can make changing baby easier on the go or in the middle of the night. But it's important to avoid poorly placed zippers that could come close to the baby's nose or mouth, advises Deng.

If you notice a baby's skin is chafed or irritated by a snap or zipper, Shapiro recommends opting for a different garment. It's also important to avoid decorations that can come loose and pose a choking hazard around the baby, says Shapiro.

5. Prepare sleepwear before using it

It can be tempting to put new clothes on a baby without washing them first, but Quillin advises against it. Pre-washing baby clothes will prevent skin irritation, he says. He also recommends removing hard tags from clothing, as this will improve comfort and promote more satisfying sleep.

The essential

If you have questions about the best way to dress a baby for sleep, it may be helpful to seek advice from a pediatrician, as they know the baby's individual needs. Above all, when it comes to how to dress baby for sleep, parents and caregivers should prioritize comfort and safety. Fortunately, the two usually go hand in hand.

By considering factors such as fabric type, seasonal variations, size, safety features and toxin-free materials, parents can create a safe and comfortable sleep environment for their babies, Cornish concludes.




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