Your baby’s sleep outfit is important to their sleep. Babies aren’t able to thermoregulate by shivering and sweating as well as adults can, so dressing them in enough layers is important. At the same time, dressing babies in too many layers can put them at risk of SIDS by causing them to overheat.
Between 68°F to 72°F is just about the right temperature for your baby to sleep in. For sleep in a 70° F room, start with a short-sleeved bodysuit as a base layer. You can then add long-sleeved footed pajamas over the onesie and wrap them up in a light swaddle or sleep sack to keep them cozy. Stick to breathable fabrics such as cotton and linen and save the heavier fabrics such as wool and fleece for the colder months.
This article will cover dressing your baby for sleep in a 70° F room as well as in different temperatures, understanding TOG ratings, and ways to check if your baby feels too hot or too cold.
How to Dress Your Baby for Different Temperatures
When dressing your baby for any temperature, it’s best to think in layers. Layers will trap heat and keep your baby warm, but can also be removed when the temperature climbs up. As a rule of thumb, your baby should be wearing 1 more layer of clothing than you would wear at the same temperature.
For a 70°F room, dress your baby in a diaper, short-sleeved bodysuit, long-sleeved footed pajamas, and 1.0 TOG sleep sack or swaddle.
- For room temperatures 81°F, dress your baby in a diaper and short-sleeved bodysuit or a diaper with a 0.2 TOG – 0.3 TOG sleep sack or swaddle.
- For room temperatures 78°F to 80°F, dress your baby in a diaper, short-sleeved bodysuit.
- For room temperatures 75°F to 77°F, dress your baby in a diaper, short-sleeved bodysuit, and 0.5 TOG sleep sack or swaddle.
- For room temperatures 71°F to 74°F, dress your baby in a diaper, short-sleeved bodysuit, and 1.0 TOG sleep sack or swaddle.
- For room temperatures 69°F to 70°F, dress your baby in a diaper, short-sleeved bodysuit, long-sleeved footed pajamas, and 1.0 TOG sleep sack or swaddle.
- For room temperatures 64°F to 68°F, dress your baby in a diaper, long-sleeved bodysuit, long-sleeved footed pajamas, and 1 TOG sleep sack or swaddle.
- For room temperatures 61°F to 63°F, dress your baby in a diaper, long-sleeved bodysuit, long-sleeved footed pajamas, and 2.5 TOG sleep sack or swaddle.
- For room temperatures lower than 60°F, dress your baby in a diaper, long-sleeved bodysuit, long-sleeved footed pajamas, mittens, socks, and a 3 TOG sleep sack or swaddle.
Note that these bullets only serve as a guide. If you dress your baby in thicker base layers, you may need a sleep sack or swaddle with a lower TOG rating than the one listed above. Your baby may need more layers or fewer layers than what is listed above depending on how warm or cool they run.
Premature and low-birth-weight babies often do not have enough body fat and may need more layers and help thermoregulating than full-term babies.
In any case, avoid using hats and beanies to cover your baby’s head and covering them with loose blankets while they sleep. These can cause babies to overheat quickly and pose a choking hazard should they fall off or be displaced.
Understanding TOG Ratings
TOG stands for “thermal overall grade”. It is a standard unit used to measure how much thermal insulation a fabric can provide. The higher the number, the warmer the garment. Manufacturers will usually indicate TOG ratings for sleep sacks and swaddles to indicate how much warmth they provide.
Using a 1.0 TOG sleep sack or swaddle for your baby’s sleep in a 70°F room is ideal.
0.2 TOGs to 1.0 TOG are ideal for summer use, while garments up to 3.0 TOGs are ideal for winter use.
- 5 TOGs is enough for room temperatures between 74°F and 80°F.
- 0 TOG is enough for room temperatures between 69°F and 73°F.
- 0 TOG garments are also suitable for year-round use if their room temperature stays above 68°F. Simply add or subtract the number of layers your baby needs throughout the year to stay warm with the 1.0 TOG sleeping bag.
- 5 TOGs is enough for room temperatures between 61°F and 68°F.
- 3 TOGs is enough for room temperatures below 60°
How to Tell If Baby is Too Warm or Too Cold
Babies communicate their needs by crying. If it is a particularly warm or cold day and your baby is particularly fussy, the temperature may be making them uncomfortable. Taking off or adding a layer may help them feel better.
Babies are more vulnerable to cold and heat when they are asleep. They may not give you the same cues as to how they feel like they do when they are awake. Aside from dressing them in the appropriate number of layers, it is important to check your baby for signs of overheating and chilling as they sleep.
An easy, reliable way to check if your baby is feeling cold while they sleep is by feeling their torso (back, chest, and tummy) or nape. They should be warm to the touch.
Babies are not able to regulate body heat to their hands and feet as efficiently as adults can. If the room is at an appropriate temperature, cold hands and feet shouldn’t be anything to worry about. Your baby’s body temperature will become more uniform at around 3 months of age.
While they most likely aren’t a cause for concern, frozen-cold hands and feet may disrupt your baby’s sleep. Feel free to slip a pair of mittens or booties on to keep tiny fingers and toes warm.
On the flip side, if your baby feels overly warm, is sweating, or feels restless, they probably feel too warm. You may also notice their ears and faces turn red and hot if they feel too warm. Sweat may get trapped underneath their layers and cause a benign heat rash. Dress them in fewer layers, use a sleep sack or swaddle with a lower TOG rating, or lower the temperature of the room if you notice any of these signs.
While not a clothing item, having a stand fan or ceiling fan in your baby’s room will help keep them feeling comfortable by improving ventilation and air circulation. Studies have also shown that using a fan while your baby sleeps reduces SIDS risk by up to 72%.
Babies aren’t able to communicate as adults do, so parents will need to go through a bit of trial and error to find what works best for their baby. Figuring out the right way to dress your baby for sleeping can be tricky.
Keeping a 70°F degree room temperature should keep your baby comfortable while they sleep. Finding the right balance and number of layers your baby needs at that temperature may be tricky though. It’s okay not to get it down pat the first time. Experiment with adding or subtracting layers and observing how they feel until you find what they are most comfortable at.