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How To Dress A Baby In Winter For Sleep 

Winter brings us many things. It brings us the opportunity to rest, plenty of excuses for cuddles and a significant drop in temperature. As adults, it’s easy enough for us to reach for our wooly boots and a knitted jumper, but you may be wondering how to dress baby in winter. It’s natural to worry about how to keep your baby warm in the cooler months, particularly during sleep. So, snuggle up and get cosy, our expert guide will help you choose the best way to keep your baby comfortable in the cold weather. 

Start with your baby’s room temperature 

Keeping an eye on your baby’s room temperature will help you manage their comfort level during winter. Ideally your baby’s room temperature should sit somewhere between 18-22°C. If you’re able to safely maintain a room temperature within this range, it may mean that you don’t need to add too many additional layers to your baby’s clothing or sleepwear. However, if during winter the room dips below 18°C, you will need to pay more attention to the thermal grade of your baby’s sleep apparel and adjust the number of layers accordingly. 

Ensure your baby’s sleepwear has the right temperature rating in colder months 

Although it may sound like an unfamiliar language, temperature ratings are fairly straightforward to understand and shouldn’t cause confusion. A temperature rating refers to the amount of insulation in sleepwear. This rating can be found on a range of baby sleepwear and is of great help when navigating changing temperatures and keeping your baby comfortable during sleep. The lower the rating, the lighter the fabric. 

What temperature rating is best for winter?  

If the room temperature is below 18°C, the recommended temperature rating for your baby’s sleeping bag or swaddle would be between 1.0 - 3.5 depending on how cold the room is. For example: 

  • MILD Temperature rating- Room temperatures between 18-24°C  

  • COOL Temperature rating - Room temperatures between 16-20°C 

  • COLD Temperature rating- Room temperatures below 16°C

Our clothing guide gives you a visual representation of how temperature ratings relate to a range of temperatures and provides suggested layering combinations for the cold weather. 

How should I dress my baby for sleep in winter? 

Layering lightweight, breathable clothing in winter is key, as this allows you to add and remove clothing in line with the changing temperatures. Rather than dressing your baby in a lot of extra clothing, if you want to offer your baby additional warmth for sleep in winter, it’s better to choose a swaddle or sleeping bag with a temperature rating suitable to the room temperature. 

Rompers for sleep are ideal for babies as they provide a lightweight, comfortable layer and fit nicely under a sleep sack or swaddle. Alternatively, a long sleeve top or a bodysuit with leggings is another appropriate combination for baby’s sleep in winter. For extra cold nights you could also consider adding a bodysuit under your baby’s romper or pair of lightweight, breathable socks. 

Layer up  

Layering your baby’s clothing in winter is the ideal way to provide you with options when it comes to responding to the temperature as it changes. Using lightweight layers to dress your baby means you can add or remove layers to keep them as comfortable as possible.  

As tempting as it may be when you’re feeling cold yourself, avoid overdoing the layers. Keep in mind that your baby will also likely be sleeping with a temperature-appropriate sleeping bag or swaddle, which provides a reliable, consistent thermal performance.  

If you’re wondering how many layers a baby should wear in winter, start with 1-2 and if you feel your baby is too cold, add an extra layer. Whether that be a bodysuit underneath a romper or a long sleeve bodysuit with some leggings and a pair of breathable socks.  

If your baby looks flushed or is sweating they are likely wearing too many layers and you should remove some clothing or lower the thermal grade of their sleeping bag or swaddle until they are at a comfortable temperature. 

Take advantage of swaddles  

Swaddles or Swaddle Ups™ not only provide a range of benefits for babies in terms of providing comfort and security, they can also help keep your infant at a consistent comfort temperature overnight. Swaddles are designed to be wrapped or fit close to the body and stay in place. Sleeping your baby in a swaddle is not only recommended in many safe sleeping practices, it means there is less chance it could fall off during the night and cause your baby to become cold. 

Be cautious with material selection 

Even in the cold weather, ensure you’re choosing breathable fabrics for your baby’s sleeping apparel. Natural fibres are often the best choice for any season. A newborn baby is unable to regulate their own temperature effectively, so ensuring you choose breathable fabrics can help prevent your baby from getting too warm or overheating. Thick, heavy or synthetic garments can lack the ability for ventilation. 

Consider other bedtime accessories 

Along with a baby romper or onesie, you could consider using a pair of lightweight, breathable socks for your baby’s added warmth at night. Some rompers have a built-in sock option you can take advantage of in winter. 

Sleeping bags 

Sleeping bags or sleep sacks are ideal for winter. When fitted correctly, sleeping bags are not only far safer than using blankets, they help keep your baby at a consistent temperature during the night. Available in a range of thermal grades, you can choose the temperature rating that best suits your climate. In addition to keeping your baby warm at night in winter, you have the added peace of mind that it won’t slip off or come loose during the night. Sleeping bags are also often designed with additional safety features such as fitted armholes, sleeves and zipper houses to prevent scratching. 

How do I know if my baby is too hot or too cold in winter? 

Check your baby during the night to make sure they are sleeping at a comfortable temperature. You can feel the back of their neck, chest or tummy to get a sense of how comfortable they are. Feeling your baby’s hands or feet is usually not the best indicator of comfort temperature. 

If you baby is too hot you many notice 

  • Sweating 

  • Flushed cheeks 

  • Rapid breathing 

  • Clammy skin 


If your baby is too cold you may notice: 

  • Shivering 

  • Pale complexion 

  • Skin cold to the touch 

  • Waking mid sleep 

Safe sleep practices for babies in colder months 

It’s important that your baby is not overdressed for sleep in winter. Safe sleeping guidelines explain that there should be no risk that your baby might overheat during the night. Check in with your baby by feeling the back of their neck and stomach to gauge how comfortable they are. If they are feeling sweaty or clammy, it may indicate that they are overdressed and you need to remove a layer or more. Although the outside conditions may have you feeling like your little one needs to be rugged up, be weary not to overdress your baby. To ensure your baby is sleeping safely in the winter months: 


  • Check-in with your baby - Check your baby’s body temperature during the night to ensure they are comfortable. If your baby is showing signs they are too hot or too cold, adjust their layers and sleeping apparel accordingly. 

  • No loose blankets in cot - Loose blankets in the cot are not recommended for babies as they may potentially obstruct airways and cause danger. 

  • No head coverings for sleep - Hats, bonnets or beanies are not recommended for babies during sleep. Babies are not yet able to regulate their own temperature and do this with limited ability through their face and head.