Keeping your baby warm, safe and cosy on colder nights
During the summer months it can be a struggle to keep your baby cool and comfortable at night time, and on those few hot days that we had in the UK this year, lots of babies and toddlers’ sleep suffered. Now that the nights are drawing in and getting cooler, we need to think about helping our little ones snuggle down, get nice and cosy and stay safely warm. There is no doubt that if your child is kept at the right temperature, it will have a positive effect on the quality of their sleep.
First of all, consider the room in which your child sleeps. The recommended room temperature for a baby is 16-20 degrees C [61-68 degrees F.] For many of us, this feels a bit chilly, but research has shown that it is a safe and comfortable temperature for a baby to sleep in. It is usually best not to have a radiator on in your child’s room overnight but if it is extremely cold you can have the heating on low. Use a thermostat to ensure that the room is kept at a safe temperature. The Gro-Egg is a great help when it comes to showing at a glance whether the room temperature is right or needs adjusting.
Having a bath is a lovely way to warm up, and I always recommend a nightly one for babies and children, whether its winter or summer. As well as being a great sleep signal, research has shown that a warm bath helps towards a good night’s sleep. After your baby’s bath, they need to be quickly dried and then dressed [or wrapped in a warm towel if they having a massage.]
It is best for babies to be tucked up in bed within half an hour after coming out of the bath – any longer than that and they tend to get a “second wind” and then get over tired and fractious.
Your baby’s bedding is important and you should choose it with care. Grobags are ideal, as they keep your child cosy and replace the need for sheets and blankets, which can be kicked off. They come in different tog values, so you can keep your baby comfortable in both summer and winter. For most year round use in the UK a 2.5 tog is suitable as by layering the clothing the child wears underneath the Grobag it can be used in temperatures between 16-20°C. For colder winter nights a new 3.5 tog Grobag the Winter Warmer has been introduced which is more appropriate for temperatures under 16°C. In colder temperatures baby’s arms can feel cool compared to the rest of babies bodies in answer to this brand new product the Gro-suit has been introduced it is made from 100% jersey cotton and has quilted sleeves with cuffs that cover the hand to keep baby’s arms snug at night. If you are buying now in anticipation of the cold weather, do make sure that you get the right size. If you over estimate how fast your baby will grow, and get one that is too big, you can run the risk of them slipping down into the bag.
Whichever temperature your child is sleeping in and whichever tog you use it is important that you should never use a duvet or quilt with a Grobag and in fact even without one, duvets are not recommended for babies under the age of one year.
Sheepskins are safe to use provided that your baby sleeps on their back and for this reason, they are only really suitable for the early weeks before they are able to roll over [at around 6 months but often before then.]
Younger babies often love to be swaddled to keep them cosy, warm, and feeling secure. Swaddling is safe, provided that you do it from early on in your baby’s life and that a light, natural material is used such as the 100% jersey cotton that the Gro-swaddle is made from. Your baby’s head should be uncovered and if it is very cold in your baby’s room then increase the number of layers underneath the swaddle instead of adding other bedding on top of it.
Sometimes, despite taking every care, you might not be sure whether your baby is too hot or too cold. The best way to check is to feel their tummy or neck. Remember that babies’ hands and feet do feel cold and are not a good indication of their actual body temperature.
Remember too that new babies are not able to regulate their body temperature by sweating of shivering, so you need to make sure that they are kept safe and comfortable.
Electric blankets should never be used and if you use a hot water bottle to take the chill off your child’s bed or cot, it should be removed well before they get into it.
Although duvets are considered to be safe for babies of over a year old, in my experience, babies sleep better if they stick with blankets or Grobag until they move into a toddler bed at the age of around 2 years. Once they make that transition, then a duvet and little flat pillow are lovely and cosy. If your child wriggles about a lot in their sleep and the covers come off, this can be problem – especially in winter. The Gro “stay on duvet bedding set ” is a good solution and as well as staying put, it also helps toddlers to feel cosy and contained.