Do you have a little one at home with freezing ice cube hands at night? If so, you’re not alone. A lot of parents struggle with this issue. If you are tired of the nightly ritual of taking your baby’s hands out and rubbing them back to life, there are some tips that can help to keep baby hands warm at night.
Put mittens on your baby’s hands
If your baby is still a newborn, chances are you already have some scratch mittens for them to wear. These are great for keeping baby hands warm at night. If you don’t have any scratch mittens, you can find some at most stores that sell baby clothes.
You can either use newborn scratch mittens if they aren’t too small, or get bigger stay on mittens like the Goumimitts on Amazon that go up to 6 months. The small size is already pretty big and the larger size largely fits a toddler. They velcro close so they don’t fall off like most mittens and this also allows you to get a good fit to your baby’s wrists.
Try using socks as mittens to keep baby hands warm
If you can’t find mittens that stay on your baby’s hands, or you just don’t want to buy mittens, another option is to try using socks as mittens. Just put warm socks over their hands, then pull the onesie sleeves over the socks.
Socks can be a good idea to keep your baby’s hands warm because they are thicker and fuzzier and they will also keep your baby from scratching. They also stay on way better than regular mittens.
If your baby chews on their hands and you’re worried that the wetness will make them colder, you could get wool socks like these ones. Wool regulates body temperature best and wicks moisture away so it doesn’t feel wet when it gets moist.
Try swaddling if your baby can’t roll over yet
If your baby is still unable to roll over, swaddling can be a great way to keep their hands warm at night. Swaddling means wrapping your baby tightly in a blanket so they can’t move their arms. This may help them to feel more secure and also keep their arms from flailing around and getting cold.
Swaddling will keep your baby warm and cozy, even their hands. Just make sure you don’t swaddle too tightly and always check on your baby to make sure they’re not too hot. It’s important to follow the correct swaddling techniques to avoid harming your baby.
Use long Sleeve onesies with mitten cuffs
If you keep losing mittens and socks, you can try using onesies with caps on the ends of the sleeves. These are called mitten cuffs.
Onesies with mitten cuffs like these (keep in mind that they only come with mitten cuffs for the size 0 to 3 months) are a great way to keep your baby’s hands warm at night, and they also stay on well. You can use them to layer under regular pajamas or use them directly with your regular sleep sack.
Get a sleepsuit with built-in mittens
If you have a bigger baby who has outgrown mittens, swaddling, and onesies with mitten cuffs. You might want to try a sleep sack that has built-in mittens.
This sleep sack is called the Zipadeezip. It’s a flying squirrel sleep sack looking thing and it’s very popular with babies who are transitioning out of swaddle sleep sacks. It’s great for warming those ice cube little hands because they will be completely covered and it’s safe for babies who can roll over.
Related: Are Sleep Sacks Safe For Babies?
Things to keep in mind
The tips we have shared are great for getting your baby’s hands to warm up at night, but because they mostly involve covering your baby’s hands, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.
Covering your baby’s hands if they use them for self soothing can do more harm than good.
Some babies use their hands for soothing. If your baby sucks on their hands or rubs their hands together to soothe themselves at night, it’s important to make sure they can still get to their hands. You don’t want them to be frustrated and not able to soothe themselves.
Is it bad if your baby’s hands are cold at night?
Your baby’s cold hands are especially unpleasant when they sneak up near your boob for nursing in the middle of the night (eek!), but you should know that it’s no bother for them at all.
In fact, cold little hands are totally fine! They are not an indicator of your baby’s body temperature. Their arms and feet can get cold regardless of their actual body temperature so you should never base whether or not your baby is too cold on just their hands.
The extremities of your baby’s body – feet, hands and head are not to be trusted for temperature assessment. They can get cold even when the rest of their body is warm.
A good way to know if your baby is too cold is to put your finger on their trunk or on the nape of their neck. If it feels like a comfortable temperature and your baby is not complaining, then it’s fine.
Use other cues to determine if your baby is too cold
If you’re worried that your baby may be too cold, remember that babies have an additional set of reactions if their temperature is too low or too high.
If a baby is uncomfortable due to being too cold or too hot, they will let you know!
Here are some signs that your baby may be too cold:
- They are sluggish
- They are fussy for seemingly no reason
- They are shivering
- Their skin is paler than normal
If your baby shows any of these signs, it’s time to take some action! Get them warm and comfortable as soon as possible. You can do that by adding an extra layer of clothing and/or adjusting the room’s temperature and humidity.
Overheating is more dangerous than cold hands
Another thing to keep in mind is that while you want your baby’s hands to be warm, you also don’t want them to overheat. It’s important to make sure that your baby is not too hot at night.
This means monitoring the room temperature and making sure they are not wearing too many layers. You should also check on your baby frequently to make sure they are not too hot.
There’s a saying that I heard a while back that goes “Cold babies cry, Hot babies die”, and it stuck with me! It’s a bit on the extreme side of things but it has some truth to it. It’s actually better to err on the side of being too cool rather than too warm. Overheating is a risk factor for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) so you always want to make sure that your baby is not too hot.
Signs that your baby may be too hot:
- They are sweating or have flushed skin
- They have rapid breathing
- They have a fever
- They are lethargic or unresponsive
If your baby is too hot, remove some of their clothing and adjust the room’s temperature. You can also offer them a cold drink or a wet cloth to cool down.
Why do babies’ hands get so cold at night?
It’s very normal for babies to get cold hands at night. Babies have an immature blood circulation system, and extremities – hands, feet, and head are the last parts of the body that get blood supply. As they get older, their blood circulation system will improve and their hands and feet will not get as cold.
Another reason why babies get cold hands is that they can’t regulate their body temperature as well as adults can. Their hands and feet can get cold when the rest of their body is warm, or vice versa.
You should also know that body temperature naturally drops while we are sleeping, so your baby’s hands may feel colder than usual at night.
The bottom line is that cold hands at night are fine and don’t necessarily mean that your baby is cold!
If you are still worried about your baby’s hands being cold, there are a few things you can do to help keep them warm. You can try using socks as mittens, swaddling your baby, or using a sleep sack with built-in mittens.
Do you have any other tips for keeping baby hands warm at night? Share them in the comments below!