How to Dress Your Baby for Sleep in Summer

Dress in lightweight layers, but don't overdress.

If your baby was born during the winter, no doubt you are enjoying getting outside in the warmer weather and the abundant sun of these warmer months. I’m sure you figured out how to bundle up your baby to keep her warm in the frigid temperatures, and are anticipating dressing your baby in sweet summer fashions.

As for sleep, you likely had the temperature in your house just right and Baby was dressed comfortably for snuggly winter nights. But as the temperatures rise, perhaps you are wondering about the best way to keep her cool while she sleeps in the summer.

There is no one single right way to dress your baby to sleep in summer. It will depend on the climate where you live, if you have air conditioning or not, and your baby’s preferences. But here are a few things to consider as you get your baby ready to sleep during summer nights.

How to Dress Your Baby for Sleep in the Summer

Don’t be tempted to overdress baby

Because overheating at night has been linked to SIDS, don’t put Baby in too many layers.

I tend to run cold, even in the summer, and I was always battling with how to dress my summer newborn. Don’t project your own level of comfort on to your baby.

Cool fingers and toes don’t convey an accurate gauge of Baby’s body temperature. Checking the back of the neck or the tummy is the best indicator. Skin should be cool and dry to the touch; if the neck or tummy is hot or sticky, Baby is too warm.

Utilize lightweight layers

I’m sure you’ve heard that generally speaking, babies wear one more layer than you are wearing. When they are tiny, babies are unable to regulate their own temperature and tend to run colder than we do.

Natural materials such as cotton that are lightweight and breathable are perfect. A short sleeve onesie with a long-sleeve, footed sleeper may be one option. Or if you are still swaddling you may want use a cotton swaddle or lightweight sleep sack  with a onesie underneath.

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If it’s particularly warm and your house is not air conditioned, a short sleeve onesie should be just fine. Babies don’t have the same need to be covered in a blanket like we do.

You may need to check on your baby frequently at first until you have a good idea of what she is most comfortable wearing. If your baby is fussy and all other needs are met, she may be uncomfortable and her layers may need to be adjusted. Monitor her closely and follow her cues, she will let you know how she feels.

I remember worrying about every little thing at first and I wish I would have given myself more grace. Somehow my husband and I got it figured out and things run a little more smoothly in our house these days.

As with anything, new seasons and stages have an adjustment period. It may feel that you just figured out how to keep your newborn comfortable in winter and now it’s time to transition to a new season. That feeling will be with you for a little while.

Don’t worry too much about each new change. As you observe your growing little one you will discern how to meet her needs through each phase.

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.

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