How to dress your baby for bed in winter

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Brrrr… well now winter is upon us, we turn our attention to our little people and what they need to be wearing to bed.  Like us, our little ones need to be comfortably warm for a sound night’s sleep.   Overheating has long been associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and being too cold can disturb their sleep and inhibit weight gain. Is your baby’s temperature just right?

Babies Can’t Regulate Temperature

Whilst all babies are different, they are all unable to regulate their body temperature as well as an adult for the first few months of life.   A baby’s body surface is about three times greater than an adult’s, relative to their weight, so they can lose heat rapidly – as much as four times more quickly than adults.

When babies are cold, they use energy and oxygen to generate warmth. By keeping your baby at his or her optimal temperature, they can conserve energy and build up reserves. When temperature is regulated and maintained, a baby is more relaxed, they sleep longer and gain weight.  This is especially important when babies are sick, premature or of low birth weight.

Babies control their temperature predominantly through their face*. Sleeping your baby on their back with the head and face uncovered is the best way to protect your baby from overheating.  Once your baby is rolling, using a baby sleeping bag ensures they don’t become entangled in blankets and sheets, which would present risks of overheating and suffocation.  A sleeveless baby sleeping bag allows for airflow through the arm holes.

It is not necessary to monitor the room temperature or to leave the heating on all night as long as the baby is dressed appropriately for the room temperature.  In Australia, we’re lucky that it’s rare to experience temperature extremes.

How to Check Baby’s Temperature

A good way to check your baby’s temperature is to feel your baby’s chest.  Their chest should feel warm – don’t worry if bub’s hands and feet feel cool, this is normal. If your baby is sweating or has a red face, remove some bedding or clothing. This may be necessary if he/she is unwell, in which case you should seek medical attention.

Remove their hat if you’re returning home and putting him/her straight to bed, even if it wakes them up.  Never use electric blankets, wheat bags or hot water bottles for babies.


Newborns and babies not yet rolling independently should be swaddled for safety and comfort.  For cold nights clothing underneath the swaddle can include singlets and onesies. Your baby can also be covered with blankets over the swaddle for extra warmth, adding more layers if your babies’ chest feels cool.

Baby Sleeping Bag

A baby sleeping bag is a wearable blanket that maybe used once your baby has started rolling over independently or moving around the cot.  Sleeping bags are a safe and convenient way to ensure they are dressed appropriately for cold nights.  Most are TOG rated, like a doona.  TOG is a European measure of thermal resistance relative to surface area. The higher the TOG rating the warmer the garment.

What To Wear Guide

When choosing a suitably TOG rated sleeping bag for your baby there are three things you need to consider. The clothes your baby is wearing, the temperature of their bedroom and your baby’s health.  Baby sleeping bags padded with wool offer greater insulation without adding weight and bulkiness. This guide below, for the Bubbaroo Platinum Joey Swag range, will help you dress your baby appropriately for winter:

Platinum Joey Swag Temperature Guide


All Bubbaroo Joey Swag Sleeping Bags have a front zip, ideal if your child moves around.  All Joey Swags feature YKK two-way zip and a slit at the back closed with beautiful soft Velcro. This means that all Joey Swags can easily be used with a 3 or 5 point harness of a car seat or pram.

*Ref: SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping. This program is based on scientific evidence. It was developed by Australian SIDS researchers, paediatricians, pathologists, and child health experts with input from overseas experts in the field.

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