Learn Exactly How To Tell If Baby Is Too Cold When Sleeping

How To Tell If Baby Is Too Cold When Sleeping

Unlike adults, the body temperature of a baby cannot regulate itself. 

A baby’s temperature can dip to dangerously low levels if they are in a sleeping environment that is too cold. 

At risk for conditions like hypothermia, if a sleeping baby gets too cold, parents have to keep a close eye out for signs that the body temperature of their little one is getting too low.

This article will help you to decipher the signs your child will show when the room they are sleeping in is too cold. 

We will discuss what to look for, what can help keep the baby warm, and the risks to your baby’s safety.

How to tell if baby is too cold when sleeping

Your infant cannot communicate with speech to tell you they feel cold in their crib or bassinet. Therefore, it’s up to the parent to look for signs that the baby’s temperature stays regulated.

The following are some crucial pieces of advice when it comes to keeping a baby warm in a room that may not be optimal room temperature.

Never use a blanket

It may seem logical to allow your infant to sleep with a blanket so that they can be covered if they are too cold at night when sleeping. 

However, doing so can be dangerous, and this well-intentioned action can prove fatal.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome risk increases when a foreign or soft object is in the crib with your baby. 

You should never allow your infant to sleep with loose blankets, pillows, toys, or stuffed animals. All of these items can cause suffocation.

Swaddle or sleeping bag for safety

If your little one seems cold in their crib, you can keep them comfortably warm while keeping them safe with a swaddle or infant sleeping bag, like the baby sleeping bag.

A swaddle blanket that you can zip or button baby into won’t wander up over baby’s face and pose any risk, and also keeps baby’s hands-free. 

Much like a swaddle blanket, a baby sleeping bag allows for a range of movement with the arms but allows the baby to feel warm without posing any risk.

Don’t judge baby’s temperature by touching baby’s hands or feet

A warm baby should have warm extremities, right? Not always.

Many adults assume that cold hands on a baby mean that the baby is too cold because we can generally assess our own comfort level by assessing hand and foot temperature. 

However, the same is not true for newborns and infants.

Why are baby’s hands cold at night?

Baby’s hands are often much cooler than the rest of the baby’s skin because they are not covered by clothing or a swaddle and are often put in your baby’s mouth. 

When a wet hand leaves the baby’s mouth and meets the cool air, the hand will cool down significantly.

Trusting the feel of your baby’s extremities will not give you a clear understanding of whether your baby is too hot or too cold.

Baby’s core

Rather than bothering with the extremities, stick to the baby’s core. 

Touching a baby’s chest, back, or stomach will give you a better idea of whether your baby is too hot or too cold. 

If these body parts are cold, your baby isn’t warm enough, or her optimal temperature has not yet been reached. If your baby’s chest or back is sweaty or wet, then your baby is too warm.

If the baby is too cold, you can add a swaddle, extra layers of clothing, or a baby sleeping bag to the equation to warm the baby. If the baby is too warm, you can remove these additional layers.

How To Tell If Baby Is Too Cold When Sleeping

Pay attention to the baby’s behavior

A typical baby will react to the temperature being too hot or too cold by thrashing around, tossing and turning, or crying loudly. 

If the baby’s room is too cold, the baby may try to curl up in a ball to conserve body heat.

In higher room temperatures that make a baby feel warm to the point of distress, the way your little one reacts to a bottle or the breast may change. 

When you have a too warm or too cold baby eating, they may react to food sluggishly and without much interest. Or they may refuse the bottle and scream instead.

Pay attention to any deviation in your healthy baby’s normal behavior, and then feel the baby’s core to find out if they are overly warm or cold.

Is baby getting a good night’s sleep?

A tired baby with a normal body temperature will sleep well at bedtime without much fuss. 

However, if a baby starts to lose heat or if it gets too warm in the room baby is sleeping in, newborn babies often wake up.

If the cold wakes the baby, you can assess if the room is too cold or if your little one rapidly loses heat due to insufficient layering of clothes. An extra layer can help to keep the baby appropriately dressed and warm.

You may notice the baby pulling at their clothes if the room is too warm. Rapid breathing and the baby’s head and arms thrashing around may indicate that your baby is too warm.

Dress baby appropriately

Parents must learn signs of appropriate layering and clothing for bedtime to keep the baby’s body temperature regulated. 

Stay aware of how warm a piece of clothing is when considering how to dress your child for bed.

For example, fleece pajamas with attached feet are much warmer than thin cotton pajamas without feet. Exposed body surfaces will cool down more quickly than covered body surfaces.

The rule of thumb adopted by most parents is that you should dress your baby in one layer more than what you yourself feel comfortable in. 

So if a single layer of clothing feels comfortable for you, your child should be dressed in two layers.

Sleepwear for a cold environment

Polar fleece sleepwear offers a lot of warmth if you cannot maintain the best room temperature due to a frigid environment. 

Babies raised in cold environments benefit best by having sleepwear made of fleece, flannel, wool, or thick cotton, with feet or even mittens attached to the pajamas.

Although a baby’s hat can keep them warm during the day, it is never advised to put a baby to bed in their typical sleep environment with anything on their heads. 

Keeping the head uncovered helps to keep them safe, as the hat can come off and impede or cut off a small child’s breathing.

Sleepwear for a warm environment

In geographically warmer regions or during a hot summer, dressing the baby appropriately is critical to prevent an overheated baby. 

A light summer outfit or light cotton pajamas without attached feet or mittens is ideal. Sometimes it’s appropriate to allow the baby to sleep in a light undershirt or onesie as well.

How To Tell If Baby Is Too Cold When Sleeping

Assess baby’s health

If you have a sick baby, or if the baby weighs less than it should, you need to consider these circumstances when considering body temperature. 

Preterm babies and babies struggling with weight gain issues have more difficulty maintaining or reaching an average temperature.

Low birth weight babies are especially prone to issues keeping their ideal temperature leveled out. 

If you are having trouble maintaining the right room temperature, if your baby seems uncomfortable, or if they have overly cold hands or a high body surface temperature, you need to make changes so your child can stay comfortable. 

Pay attention to a small baby’s cues.

If you notice a baby behaving sluggishly or lethargic, or if the baby feels overheated and you can’t get them cooled down, call your pediatrician immediately or go to the nearest emergency room, especially if you have a preterm infant. 

If the baby shows distress or wakes screaming and in visible pain, seek help immediately.

How to dress baby with fever at night

There seems to be a bit of confusion among parents regarding the normal range for infant body temp. In infants, a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher is considered a fever.

When you have a fever or are sick, you may feel cold even when the room temperature is normal. 

Don’t assume that just because you have a sick infant who feels warm actually feels warm. 

You don’t necessarily need to make the room temperature lower.

Sick babies may sleep longer

Your little one may sleep more when something is physiologically wrong with the baby, such as illness or a fever. 

Exhaustion sets in, especially in little bodies with immune systems that are still developing.

As long as your little one is breathing slowly and regularly, it’s ok for a sick baby to sleep more. It gives their body a chance to heal. 

Just maintain a mental awareness of your child’s sleeping duration and continue to feed your baby regularly, even if they have no interest. 

You must still feed the little one, regardless of how much your baby sleeps.

Light layers and steady room temperature

Even if it seems like your baby’s body radiated heat at the average room temperature, you should still maintain a steady temperature. 

Lowering the nursery’s temperature can make your baby sick longer and make them feel as though they are freezing.

Dress babies in light layers if they have a fever, rather than heavy clothing or a sleep sack, and provide a dark and comfortable setting in the room. 

Close the curtains to ensure that there isn’t too much sunlight for your infant to sleep comfortably.

Some reminders

Your baby’s temperature cannot regulate itself like an older child or an adult. 

It won’t be until the age of three or four that baby’s skin will be able to produce ample goosebumps or sweat to cool or warm the body on its own adequately.

Look for signs like a change in baby’s normal behavior, the touch of baby’s core body, and whether your infant has a fever to assess and then address the temperature of your precious little one.

You are doing your best. Stay in tune with what your baby needs, and everything will be ok. 

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