Wondering how to dress baby for sleep in air conditioning? Here are some sleepwear options and tips to keep your little one cool and comfortable.
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Air conditioning is a must for many families during the hot summer months. It makes the uncomfortably hot nights a lot more manageable, and it’s especially important for our little ones who are most vulnerable to the changes in temperature. But while keeping your baby’s room cool and comfortable is good, special attention needs to go towards picking the right sleepwear for your baby’s room conditions. So how to dress baby for sleep in air conditioning?
If you like keeping your air conditioning running around 71 degrees at night, the ideal combination is to dress your baby in a long sleeve or short sleeve onesie (depending on whether your baby runs hot or cold) with no pants and to put them in a sleep sack, or a swaddle if they are not able to roll over yet.
As you can see from the example shown above, the main factors that will determine how you should dress your baby for sleep in an air-conditioned room are how cold your house is and how old your baby is.
The Ideal Temperature for Baby’s Room
Most pediatricians in the US recommend that you keep your baby’s room between 68 to 72 degrees. This is because babies can’t regulate their body temperature as well as adults, and thus are more susceptible to changes in temperature.
Of course, this is an ideal range of temperature that is quite narrow, and in reality, your baby’s room might be a few degrees warmer or cooler than this and still be a safe place for your baby to sleep in. The key is to compensate for those few degrees by adjusting what your baby wears to bed.
Adjusting Your Baby’s Sleepwear to The Temperature of The Room
Depending on your air conditioning settings, and whether you have a ceiling fan or a box fan going, your baby’s room can get pretty chilly, or be just cool enough. If you have a newborn under 2 months old, they will be unable to regulate their own body temperature as well as an older baby or toddler, so they will need more attention from you regarding their sleepwear to keep them warm but not overheated.
If your home is kept on the cooler side, you can dress your baby in either footed baby pajamas or a long sleeve onesie with pants and add a sleep sack for extra warmth. If your home is kept on the warmer side, you can dress your baby in a short sleeve onesie and skip the pants and sleep sack. As always, make sure to keep a close eye on your baby for signs of being too cold or too hot, and adjust their sleepwear accordingly. Here are some sleepwear options to choose from depending on how cold your baby’s room is:
Between 64 °F and 66 °F
This is as chilly as most US homes get, and can be a good temperature range to keep your baby’s room if they tend to run hot.
Footie pajamas are a good idea in these colder conditions. It’s a better alternative than putting socks on your baby, as socks can be uncomfortable and tight around your baby’s ankles. Using footie pajamas in combination with a 2.5 tog sleepsack (or an all-seasons wool sleepsack) or a swaddle blanket can be enough, but you can add another layer (like a short sleeve onesie underneath) if you notice that your baby is not warm enough.
Between 66 °F and 68 °F
This is a comfortable temperature for many people and should be a good range to keep your baby’s room.
A long sleeve onesie with pants and a light sleep sack should be enough to keep your baby comfortable in these conditions, but you can add another layer or use a warmer sleepsack (2.5 tog) if you notice that your baby is not warm enough.
Between 68 °F and 72 °F
This is the ideal temperature range for baby’s room according to most pediatricians.
If your home is kept in this temperature range, you can put your baby in a short sleeve cotton onesie with no pants and add a 2.5 tog sleepsack or swaddle blanket for extra warmth.
Between 72 °F and 75 °F
If you like to keep your house warmer, or your baby runs a bit cold, this is the temperature range you should aim for.
In these warmer conditions, you can dress your baby in just a short sleeve onesie with a light sleepsack or swaddle blanket. If you find that your baby is still too cold, you can try a long sleeve onesie or add pants.
Using a Swaddle vs A Sleepsack in An Air-Conditioned Room
For newborns under the age of 2 months, who have not shown signs of being able to roll over yet, the best sleep position is on their backs. This decreases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). To help your baby stay in this position, you can use a swaddle. A swaddle is a blanket that is wrapped around your baby to keep their arms and legs close to their body. This gives your baby a feeling of being held and makes it easier for them to stay on their back. It also keeps them warm and feeling cozy in the colder season, and you can also use thin muslin swaddles in the warmer months to avoid overheating.
If your baby is over two months old and can rollover, you should stop swaddling them and start using a sleep sack. A sleep sack is a wearable blanket that goes over your baby’s pajamas. It has armholes and usually has a zipper so you can put it on and take it off easily. Sleep sacks are great because they keep your baby warm without the risk of them getting tangled in their blanket and waking up or worse.
Why Too Cold Is Better than Too Warm
When dressing your baby for sleep in an air-conditioned room, always remember that it’s better for your baby to be on the colder side than to be too hot. This is because babies can’t regulate their body temperature as well as adults, and they are more likely to overheat when it’s too warm. Signs that your baby is too hot include sweating, having red cheeks, and rapid breathing. If you notice any of these signs, take off a layer or two of clothing.
To avoid overheating, it’s best to avoid socks and hats and to stick to breathable materials like cotton and wool for your baby’s sleepwear. Cotton is a lightweight material that will help your baby stay cool, even in warmer temperatures. Wool is also a great fabric, especially for a sleepsack, as it has excellent thermal properties. It will keep your baby warm in cooler temperatures, but won’t cause them to overheat.
You can check if your baby is too hot or too cold by putting your finger on their chest or back. If their skin is warmer to the touch, they are too warm and you should remove a layer of clothing. If their skin feels cold, they are too cold and you should add a layer of clothing.
Dealing with Extra Cold Air Conditioning
If your house has central air conditioning, and for some reason, you can’t adjust the temperature, there are still ways to keep your baby comfortable.
You can try closing the vents of your baby’s room air conditioning. I do this in my office to keep the temperature down and still get the benefits of the air conditioning. If you can’t close the vents or don’t want to completely block the conditioned airflow, you can try inserting a piece of cardboard inside the vents while allowing a couple of inches for airflow.
Another way to keep your baby’s room air conditioning from being too cold is to use a humidifier. This will add moisture to the air, which will make it feel warmer. You can also try placing a bowl of water near the air conditioning unit to help humidify the air.
Another way to deal with cold conditions in your baby’s room is to use flannel crib sheets instead of regular ones that can feel colder to the touch. Flannel is a thicker fabric that has a warm, fuzzy feel to it.
Dressing your baby for sleep in air conditioning doesn’t have to be complicated. Just remember to dress them in light, breathable fabrics and to pay attention to their temperature. If you’re ever unsure, it’s always better to err on the side of too cold than too hot.
What are your tips for dressing your baby for sleep in air conditioning? Share in the comments below!
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