With just a few days until it’s officially Winter, we thought it was a good time to write a post with some tips for prepping for the Winter months ahead. As the nights get cooler, we start rugging up in our flannelette pajamas and sheets, but how do we adjust our babies sleep space to ensure they are safe and warm all night? It isn’t until about 18 months- 2 years old that babies learn to properly regulate their temperature, so they rely on us to make sure their sleep environment is suitable for a cool night. It’s a natural reaction to want to dress your baby in lots of layers and put a heater on in their room, as that’s what we do for ourselves. But this can lead to your baby overheating, which is a risk factor associated with SIDS. There are a few factors that can come into play during the Winter months, to ensure baby (and therefore you!) get a safe and good night’s sleep.
What should I dress my baby in for sleep?
You will need to consider a few factors when dressing your baby for their bedtime, including their room temperature and what sort of fabrics are used in their sleepwear. We recommend natural fibers such as cotton or merino wool. Many suggest merino is particularly good to use for the layer against their skin as it has so many great natural benefits, it’s odour resistant and fire retardant, but more relevant to this topic, it’s moisture wicking so it helps with temperature regulation. The only downside is I find it can get a bit itchy when right next to the skin, so I have always used cotton for the layer for my babies skin, these bodysuits are a good winter option. As a general rule babies only need one extra layer than adults, we would recommend this layer be a sleep sack or a lightweight blanket, as long as it is safely tucked in so it can't come loose.
It’s really important you don’t dress your baby in a hat/beanie when you put them to sleep, not only is this a risk for overheating as heat escapes from their heads, it is also a suffocation risk if the beanie slips down over their face.
What temperature should my baby's room be?
The ideal temperature for your baby’s room is 18 °c -21 °c. If you have a heat pump in your baby’s room you should set the temperature to this and keep it at that temperature all year around. If not, it might pay to invest in a good room thermometer and use a panel heater to warm it to this temperature. We understand this can be quite hard to achieve, so this is when you will want to make sure you have your baby in the correct layers to keep them at the ideal temperature throughout the night.
What bedding should I use?
Like the sleepwear fabric, we would recommend natural fibers are used for your baby’s bedding. Again, merino wool is a great option, due to the benefits listed above. We have a merino mattress protector as I felt so passionate about the benefits of merino wool we really wanted to include it in our airnest range. Another great option is Tencel. Tencel is a sustainable cellulose fiber derived from wood pulp. It is great for babies as it is super breathable, letting air flow freely around your babies sleep environment. Our airnest sheets are made from Tencel, we’ve had them tested for airflow and they came back with a 100% breathable rating. Tencel is also as ‘soft as silk’, when I moved Amelia from her cotton bassinet sheets to her Tencel cot sheets her bald spot completely grew back- just another added benefit!
While we are speaking about bedding, you should also consider what mattress your baby is sleeping on. Many mattresses on the market these days aren’t breathable, so they contain heat. You should also be wary of mattresses made of latex, although a natural material, it is known to retain heat, which we know is not ideal for babies (even in Winter!) The airnest mattress is great as it is 95% air by volume, meaning it is 100% breathable. All our airnest products work together to provide a sleep environment that lets air flow freely, combating overheating.
What are the signs my baby is too cold?
A good way to tell if your baby is too cold is by touching the back of their neck, if neck is cool they are probably a bit chilly (or if it’s sweaty then your baby is too warm). We don’t recommend judging their temperature by touching their hands or feet, as most babies will have cooler feeling hands and feet due to their immature circulatory system. If this is a concern for you, you should consider a sleep sack with closed hands and feet, Love to Dream are one of my favourite sleep sack brands.
What is a TOG rating?
One last thing to consider when you choose your babies sleepwear is the TOG rating. “TOG” is a unit of measurement in the textile industry, to indicate the thermal insulation of a fabric. A low TOG rating is suggested for Summer months, and a higher TOG rating in Winter months.
If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to get in touch!