Winter’s fast approaching in the northern hemisphere – the nights are already getting longer and colder, and they’re only going to get chillier from here. This leaves many new parents with a conundrum: How can you best keep baby warm at night when blankets pose a suffocation risk, but keeping them too warm increases the chances of SIDS?
Fortunately, not all hope is lost! There are some simple tricks you can use to help your child stay pleasantly warm overnight.
*Set your nursery to a pleasant temperature. The highest temperature recommended is about 72 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can safely go as low as about 61 degrees (which may feel chilly, but it’ll be just fine for baby!). Start raising the temperature in the nursery in the middle of the afternoon, so it’ll be just right at bedtime, and turn the heat off or down right after their bath is over.
*To prevent overheating, keep the crib away from your radiator or heater vent – as well as the window! Direct sunlight, as we all know, gets very warm very quickly, and the last thing you want is your baby fussing first thing in the morning because the sun is too much.
*Get a firm crib mattress and a fitted flannel sheet. The firm mattress will encourage your little one to sleep on their back, which will help decrease the risk of SIDS, and the flannel sheet will help keep things nice and toasty.
*If the house is very cold, you might want to use a hot water bottle or heating pad to warm up the crib a little before bedtime. DON’T use an electric blanket – that’s too much heat for babies, who don’t regulate their temperature as well as adults yet!
*Lightweight pajamas are your best bet, especially if you’re still swaddling your little one. You don’t want to dress them in lots of layers for the whole night; SIDS prevention guidelines recommend putting baby in the same number of layers you would wear for the room’s temperature. Rather than using a blanket, invest in a child-sized sleeping bag; it won’t cover their face and can’t be kicked off in the middle of the night.
*Keep an eye on your child to see how they’re doing! Blotchy skin that’s cool to the touch calls for a little extra warmth, while damp, sweaty babies are bundled up too well and need to lose a layer or two. Even in the winter, being wrapped too snugly can cause heat rash!
*Your little one’s comfort isn’t only affected by the heat, but also the humidity – or, in the winter, a lack of it. If the room is too dry, your child’s going to be uncomfortable and fussy, which isn’t fun for anyone! If necessary, look into a cool-mist humidifier to help balance things out without overheating.