9 Best Ways How To Keep Baby Warm At Night—Safe Sleep Guidelines

How To Keep Baby Warm At Night

When preparing for the arrival of a newborn, we try to think of everything to ensure we are ready for anything. One thing that often be overlooked though, is how to keep baby warm at night. Babies cannot regulate their body temperature like adults or even older children can, so it is up to us to ensure that we keep the baby warm.

Safe Sleep Guidelines

The CDC and other experts have prepared guidelines for parents on safe sleep and how to keep a baby warm at night without endangering the baby or upping the risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome.

1. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Also known as SIDS, this tragically happens to thousands of babies a year. There is no known cause for SIDS and no sure-fire way to prevent a child from death by unknown causes. However, doctors and experts have implemented guidelines that parents should put into place to significantly reduce the odds that their child will become a victim of SIDS. Keeping babies warm is obviously essential, but doing so safely is of the utmost importance.

2. Keep Baby on Their Back

Safe infant sleep begins with positioning. Going to bed in the baby’s crib should occur the same way every time the baby sleeps. Keeping the baby’s room warm and placing them on their back to sleep will reduce the suffocation risk and help you gauge whether your baby is warm. You can tell a sleeping baby is chilled by touching the hand or cheek of a baby on its back much more easily than you can a stomach sleeper. Nighttime sleep should always be on the baby’s back.

How To Keep Bub Warm At Night with wearable blanket

3. Firm Mattress or Sleep Surface

Babies sleep better on a firm surface and should always be on an approved crib mattress or firm bassinet. Believe it or not, this will also help keep your baby warm at night because a firm surface holds the temperature more steadily and will not have as many warm and cold spots as a soft mattress or sleeping surface.

4. No Loose Blankets or Loose Objects

Most of us reach for a warm and thick blanket on cold winter nights to keep us warm. However, a baby’s crib should be without blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, crib bumpers, and anything else that is loose. These things all act as a suffocation hazard. Adding layers or using a sleep sack is much safer for infant sleep and will keep the baby warm at night and safe. Sleep sacks are a much safer and more effective option.

5. Baby’s Sleep Area

It is tempting to keep a baby warm by snuggling up with your little one in your own bed, but experts say co-sleeping is far less safe than babies having their own space. You can keep your baby warm at night in much safer ways than sharing a bed, and young babies significantly benefit from following these basic safety guidelines.

Signs baby is cold at night

There are many ways to check if you worry that your baby does not stay warm at night or that the baby’s room is too cool. Cold nights make many parents worry that they have not dressed the baby appropriately for sleep or that the baby’s room is too cold for little feet and hands. The following are ways you can do to ensure that you are keeping your baby warm at night.

Touch Your Baby

This is the easiest way to know whether or not the cold weather is too much for your baby. Touching your baby on the cheek, the neck, or the belly will give you a good idea of whether or not the room is too cool for your little one. If the baby’s head or belly is cool to the touch, they are probably not warm enough. If the baby feels warm or sweaty, the room is too warm, and you need to turn down your thermostat or remove a layer of clothing from the baby.

The Ideal Room Temperature

The ideal room temperature for a baby, even on cold nights, is between 68 and 72°F. Keeping a thermometer in your baby’s room can help you immediately discern if your baby’s room or your house, in general, is too cool or too warm for your child to sleep comfortably.

How to dress baby for sleep

Since we have already discussed that blankets are a no-no to keeping the baby warm at night, what else can be done to keep your little one warm at night? Most of what can be done that still falls within the safe sleep guidelines has to do with how we dress a baby for sleep. A baby dressed appropriately and at a comfortable temperature will sleep better and longer and give you a chance to rest without worrying about the cold air on the baby’s skin.

How To Keep Baby Warm At Night

1. Sleep Sacks

Sleep sacks are a great way to keep a baby warm without using a blanket or other loose bedding. Sleep sacks are wearable blankets that you dress babies in over their pajamas or sleepers. Most of the time, it offers a range of motion for the baby’s arms and hands and is tight enough that there is no risk of suffocation.

Sleep sacks can be used when you are convinced or confident that the baby’s temperature needs assistance to stay warm in the winter months. It is like a sleeping bag that the baby is safe in, but be careful, as a sleep sack is often made of fleece or other heavy material, and excess heat is not suitable for a baby. You want to keep the baby cozy, not hot. You can usually keep your baby warm, even on cold winter days, without using a sleep sack.

2. An Extra Layer of Clothing

The general rule of thumb for babies younger than 18 months is to dress a baby in one extra layer for sleep than what an adult is comfortable in. Keep in mind that adults usually go to bed with a sheet and blanket or comforter. An infant does not have that luxury because it is not safe. We have extra warmth from our bedding that our babies do not have access to.

To combat this, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to dress a baby for sleep in one layer more than what they feel warm enough in. It means that if you are wearing a simple pair of pajamas, dress your baby in a onesie and then footie pajamas. Remember that a sleep sack counts as an extra layer. You are trying to keep away the cold and maintain an ideal temperature for the baby to sleep comfortably.

3. Thicker Pajamas

On colder nights, when the room thermometer is just not convincing you that the correct temperature can be maintained, opt for thicker pajamas for the baby. Your baby’s core temperature needs to stay level for the baby to sleep well, and part of that means keeping the baby’s feet and hands warm. Footie, thick, and snug-fit pajamas are all great options to keep the baby safe and warm at night.

How to Keep Baby’s Hands Warm at Night

We have all seen those adorable baby mittens at the store. Most parents probably even have a few pairs on hand. At least, at first thought, it makes sense to let the baby sleep with a couple of these mittens on to keep their hands warm. But are they really needed, and will they really help?

keeping baby warm

1. Cool Hands Aren’t Bad

We have all got that well-meaning mother-in-law, friend, neighbor, or family member who grabs a baby’s hand and proclaims, “Little one’s hands are so cold! How can baby sleep with cold hands?

While it is easy to worry that a baby’s hands indicate that your child is cold, rest assured that cool hands on an infant is a very normal thing. Most of the time, it does not mean anything serious, and it does not mean that your infant is freezing. Remember that loose items in bed with a baby are a safety hazard. Keeping the baby warm should only be done safely. For a baby who does not like keeping the mittens on, you may need to try another option if you are concerned about cold hands.

2. Sleepers with Attached Mittens

Many brands of baby sleepers now come with attached mittens or hand coverings that can be rolled down over the sleeves. This keeps the baby’s hands inside of the pajamas, but the mittens cannot come off and become a suffocation hazard or health risk. A quick search on the internet can lead you to all sorts of cute sleepers in this style, and they offer a way to keep your baby warm and safe. They also keep your baby from scratching that delicate skin on their face.

Other Options to Keep Your Baby Warm at Night

Aside from apparel and a thermometer in the baby’s room, there are other ways to ensure that your little one gets a good night’s sleep while giving you the secure feeling that they are safe. It is also a good idea to have a diaper bag with all of your baby’s essentials.

1. Hot Water Bottle or Heating Pad

A cold mattress can shock a sleepy baby who is used to the warmth of mom or dad’s body temperature. A great way to warm up the baby’s bed before placing the baby in it is to heat a water bottle or heating pad and place it in the crib for a few minutes before bedtime. Remove these items before putting your little one to bed, and be sure to put your hand in the crib and make sure that it is not too warm or that the hot water bottle has not leaked. This quick prep work can be done to keep your baby warm from the start of the night.

How To Keep Baby Warm At Night

2. A Fire Proof Space Heater

A space heater can be used in the baby’s room before bed to warm up the room. Today, most space heaters allow you to set the desired temperature in the room, so they automatically shut off when the room reaches the temperature you set. After putting the baby in bed, it is best to turn off the space heater before leaving the room. Space heaters can pose a fire hazard, and for older babies who can climb out of a crib or reach the appliance from their crib, they can pose a burn hazard.

Space heaters also tend to create dry air, which can be rough on the nose and sinuses of your little one. So you may find that if you choose to use one, you also have to use a humidifier to keep the room from being too dry.

3. Dress Baby According to the Temperature in Your Home

You may put your baby in several layers if you see that there is snow on the ground or if the temperature is too cold due to the weather outside. This is a great way to keep your little one warm and ensure a good night’s sleep. Cold winter nights outside do not necessarily mean that it has to be a cold winter night in the bedroom where your child is sleeping in.

Keeping track of the temperature in your child’s room will help you decide with more accuracy if your child is dressed appropriately for sleep. For example, if the room is 74 degrees, it is unlikely that a sleep sack needs to enter the equation. A simple sleeper will likely do the trick perfectly.

4. Swaddles for Newborns and Small Infants

If you do not have a sleep sack and your newborn or infant is cold, you can use a swaddle blanket to keep your little one warm at night in bed. However, once your child can roll from their back to their side or stomach, a swaddle blanket becomes loose bedding and is no longer safe. A securely and tightly swaddled baby that cannot roll from its back will stay warm, but if the baby is old enough to roll, the blanket can come unraveled, and the risk of suffocation or getting trapped in the swaddle becomes much higher.


Regardless of how you choose to keep your baby warm at night. It’s an important step that can often be overlooked. It may take a bit of experimenting to determine which method works best for your baby but once you determine the best method. Your baby will not only stay warm but they will also sleep better.

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