Here in the UK we have an obsession with the weather and temperature control. And with so much written on the importance of keeping babies the right temperature it’s no wonder we, as parents, worry if our baby is too hot or too cold.
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Temperature regulation for babies is important as they don’t have the ability to safely control it themselves. Because of this, severe overheating in babies has been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – even more reason for us to find the whole subject frightening.
No need to panic though as the only thing we need to do to avoid our babies overheating or getting cold is to dress them appropriately. Of course this can be hard in the winter with babies room temperatures varying so much overnight. In the early evening when babies go to bed you will have the heating on, this usually goes off later on and at that the point the room temperature is bound to drop.
So where do you start? Getting the balance right between vests, baby grows and sleeping bags is key. Tog ratings (measurement used for sleeping bag thickness) are a good guideline and there are some great products available that can be used throughout the year. The Bag by Puckababy is great as its TOG ratings include 0.5, 1,2 and 3 TOG layers to cover all bases when it comes to warmth and comfort. This sleeping bag also has arms which ensures that they are covered and warm overnight.
It is rare for your baby’s room temperature to increase drastically overnight. So whatever clothing you decide to put them in at bedtime is safe all the way through to the morning, with no risk of them overheating.
What happens if the room temperature drops drastically overnight? If this happened and your baby felt too cold they would simply wake, at which point you can put them into a higher tog sleeping bag (or add another layer of The Bag) and put them back to bed to go to sleep. In small babies that are waking for feeds you could change them into a warmer sleeping bag or add another layer at the feed before you go to bed.
With parents I work with who find the extreme temperatures affect their baby’s sleep, I always first look at whether baby is settling at naps/bed time without parents (or milk) helping them. Teaching babies to do that can help them self soothe overnight and make their sleep more continuous even in extremes of temperatures.
If you are at all concerned about your babies ability to sleep or the layers they should be wearing please do get in touch via my website www.yummybabygroup.co.uk or e mail me on [email protected]
Other things to remember in the winter months:
Rather than turning your heating off overnight consider using your thermostat to regulate the temperature – set it to 16 degrees so it automatically comes on if the temperature drops below that
If your thermostat is a mobile one then keep it close to the babies bedroom so the temperature is regulated there
Remember never to have your babies cot near to the radiator in their bedroom- and if it is impossible not to then please turn it off. If this is necessary keep the door open (for the house warmth to circulate). Radiators can get very hot and you wouldn’t want your baby to over heat or get burnt.
If your baby falls asleep on a walk in the pram and you come inside (to your house or a coffee shop etc) then its important to remove layers and especially any hats- I know its tempting to leave them so they sleep but this could lead to over heating in a well wrapped up baby
Using a snow-suit in car seats is very dangerous as it reduces the safety of the car seat straps. Instead opt for a blanket over your baby or even better a Gogo (by Puckababy) which is a lovely snuggly blanket with holes for the car seat straps to ensure comfort as well as safety.
If your sleeping bag doesn’t include arms ensure that they are covered well so as not to get cold when the temperature drops overnight.
If its very cold and your heating is on a lot overnight then your baby may get a dry mouth- it is fine to offer a sip of water in preference to a milk feed that your baby may not need- this is especially the case if you baby has a blocked nose and is breathing through their mouth (see my article on surviving winter bugs)
If you have a fire remember fire safety. Always use a guard and never leave your baby or child unattended in a room with a fire on.
Ensure you have working carbon monoxide detectors in the home. This is especially the case in the winter with heating’s on and windows closed. This could literally save your life from the ‘silent’ killer.
- Damp can be a real issue in the winter months and with it comes mold. Mold can be very dangerous for babies, especially when small. If you see mold forming then wipe away with a damp cloth and a solution such as Milton. Ensure that your house is well ventilated, especially if drying washing in the home.