What Should I Cover My Baby at Night With?
Having a baby is the greatest adventure anyone can embark upon, but it can also be tricky to know the right thing to do. We know that all you want is the best for your baby and to keep them safe, and it’s a full-time, round-the-clock job with no breaks, even at night.
Understanding what bedding is best for a baby isn’t always easy as you want to ensure your baby is warm enough, yet not too warm and nice and cool but not cold. No wonder parents scratch their heads over what to do with their baby at bedtime.
In this post, we discuss how you should cover your baby at night to ensure they’re safe and comfortable and so you can get some well-deserved rest with peace of mind that you’re doing all you can to get a good night’s sleep.
Simple steps to cover a baby at night
So, should babies be covered at night? Yes, but they shouldn’t be covered in anything. It’s best to use light layers of breathable material to keep your baby warm yet cool in the night. In this section, we have provided simple steps to covering your baby at night, including what to dress them in.
Dress your baby in 1 layer of clothing
Babies can’t regulate their temperature well, so they can quickly overheat. It’s important to dress them lightly for bed. Putting them in a 1-piece sleep suit or a pair of pyjamas, preferably made with naturally breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen. Wool is a great alternative to keep them warm on colder nights, but it’s still a breathable material, so it will help to stop them from overheating.
Swaddle your baby
Some parents like to swaddle their baby in a swaddle blanket to add extra warmth and to help them to feel calm and soothed. You shouldn’t place blankets over a newborn at night; wrapping them in a blanket specifically designed as a swaddle is perfectly fine. Swaddling your baby means they can’t get blankets over their face that get in the way of their airways.
Put your baby in a sleeping bag
Baby sleeping bags are great if you don’t want to swaddle your baby or for colder nights. If the air feels cold to you, it will feel the same for your baby, so choosing a sleeping bag will keep them nice and toasty as they’re padded like a quilt.
Place your baby inside a sleeping bag, positioning their arms inside the arm holds. Do up the zip of buttons, and this stops the sleeping bag from riding up, so it keeps your little wriggler safe at night. Different sizes of sleeping bags are available so your tiny newborn isn’t drowning in a sleeping bag way too big for them.
Check them regularly
Naturally, you will wake up at night to check on your baby, and if you don’t, your baby will almost certainly wake up anyway. When they do, always check their temperature by putting your hand on their chest or the top of their back. Feeling their hands and head isn’t an accurate indication of their temperate as those body parts are usually out from under any layers at night.
If they feel hot or sweating, remove 1 layer of fabric to help cool them down; this could be the swaddle or sleeping bag. This is important as babies can’t do it for themselves. Remember to only remove 1 layer at a time, as removing too many layers can make your baby cold at night.
Avoid clutter in your baby’s cot
Avoid using blankets, duvets, pillows and cot bumpers in your baby’s cot or next to the crib. Whilst it’s natural to want to put these items in your baby’s cot, to create a cosy sleep environment and that hotel pillow feeling we all love, they have the potential to suffocate your baby during the night.
To decrease the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), keep their cot clear so they don’t end up tangled in bedding. As a result, it’s best to leave these bedding items out of the cot completely and to rely on the baby’s clothing, swaddle and sleeping bag to keep them warm.
Generally speaking, babies can start using bedding when they graduate from their Moses basket or next to my crib and into their toddler cot or bed. It’s then okay to start using bedding such as blankets, duvets, pillows etc., although you should make sure you choose nursery bedding that is appropriate for their age.
Tuck the sheet in
It is considered safe to use a fitted sheet in your baby’s cot as long as the sheet fits the mattress well and there is no chance of it coming loose at night. Choose a fitted sheet that is the correct size for your cot, and ensure that all the corners are tucked in firmly under the mattress to prevent it from becoming a choking hazard.
Avoid using regular sheets that aren’t fit, as they are more likely to become loose at night, particularly if your baby wriggles around a lot.
Avoid socks and hats
As adorable as your baby may look in cute little hats, mittens and booties, it’s best to avoid using these at night as these can act as a hazard if they come off in the night and are left to move around in the cot. If you’re worried about your baby’s feet getting cold, choose a sleepsuit that covers their feet and a sleeping bag that has foot compartments.
Keeping your baby safe at night
As well as ensuring they’re warm and comfortable at night, there are a few other factors to consider besides dressing them and what bedding or layers to use. This section provides information about how often you should change your baby’s bedding and how to choose a cot mattress.
Changing your baby’s bedding
In your baby’s case, when we talk about bedding, we mean their fitted sheet, swaddle or sleeping bag. It’s essential to wash your baby’s bedding regularly because:
- your baby’s immune system isn’t fully developed, so they need a clean cot to sleep in
- babies sleep for around 8-16 hours a day, so they need a fresh and comfortable place to get some zzzs
- Babies are expensive, so looking after their bedding and washing regularly helps to reduce bedding costs.
It’s recommended to change your baby’s bedding twice a week, and this is considered a general rule when they’re toddlers, but many reduce this amount to once a week when they’re older.
Choosing a cot mattress
When it comes to choosing a cot mattress for your baby, you may or may not have noticed that you can’t buy a thick, soft, hotel-feel mattress, which may disappoint you.
However, there is a reason for this. For the safety of your baby, they should sleep on a firm mattress they can’t easily sink into. Sleeping on a firm mattress reduces the chances of SIDS. At Bedding Comfort Store, we stock cot mattresses that are firm and comfortable for your little sleeping cherub.
Reusing a cot mattress
We know it can be expensive to buy all of your new baby essentials, and for many things, it’s considered safe to use pre-loved items. However, reusing a cot mattress can be dangerous. Mattresses don’t last forever, and buying second-hand means that you may not know how long the mattress has been used, how clean it is and how safe it is for your little one.
In the case of a cot mattress, always buy a new, firm and comfortable mattress that is lovely and fresh and in perfect condition.
What should I cover my baby at night with?
To conclude, you should cover your baby at night in layers using a sleep suit or pyjamas and either wrapping them in a swaddle or a baby sleeping bag. It is safe to use a fitted sheet, but avoid using duvets, blankets, cot bumpers and pillows until they’re at least 1 year old and in their toddler cot or bed.
Once your baby reaches this age, it’s an exciting time to choose some gorgeous bedding for a 1-year-old to match their lovely bedroom or nursery.