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What Should Baby Wear to Bed This Winter?

Our top tips on how to keep baby warm and safely snoozing all winter long.
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By Nehal Aggarwal, Editor
Updated December 13, 2022
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Parents work tirelessly to make sure baby is comfortable, from checking to see if their diaper needs changing in the middle of the night to ensuring they aren’t too hot or cold while they sleep. With winter in full swing, the temps are dropping, and many parents are wondering how to best keep baby warm, particularly overnight. We asked two pediatric sleep experts for their tips on what baby should wear to bed this winter, as well as their top picks of the best baby winter pajamas to buy.

Baby Sleep Safety During the Winter

You might be inclined to bundle baby up before putting them down for a snooze, particularly as the outside temps drop overnight. But experts say babies generally don’t need the extra layers. According to Rachel Mitchell, a certified pediatric sleep consultant and founder of My Sweet Sleeper, the ideal sleep temperature for baby is between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. “During the winter, parents have a tendency to over bundle their babies in fear of them being cold, but as long as the room temp remains within this range, there’s no need to dress baby in layers,” she says. Plus, babies have a tendency to run warm, even if their hands and feet seem cool to the touch, making extra sleep clothes largely unnecessary.

But what should you do if the nursery dips below 68 degrees? “If it’s not possible to keep the room at the ideal temperature, adding an additional layer—such as a onesie and a sleep sack—is a good way to keep baby warm,” says Rebecca Kempton, MD, a certified pediatric sleep specialist, founder of Baby Sleep Pro and a medical expert with Dr.Brown’s. Another option? “If you’re concerned about the cold, dress baby in fleece footed pajamas,” she suggests.

When the weather turns cold, you probably reach for a comforter—but never use loose blankets, in baby’s sleep space, as it could pose a suffocation risk. “Their motor skills are not yet developed enough to prevent suffocation if something (a blanket, stuffed animal, etc.) ends up against their face,” Kempton explains. A good alternative is a thick swaddle or wearable sleep blanket (aka a sleep sack), which zips around baby like a sleeping bag and keeps them both warm and safe.

Best Baby Winter Pajamas, Swaddles and Sleep Sacks

Luckily, when it comes to finding the best winter baby pajamas, swaddles and sleep sacks, there are several safe, warm options to choose from. Below, some of our favorite choices for winter baby sleepwear.

Swaddles

Swaddles with a long-sleeve onesie are a safe option for baby’s winter pajamas, Mitchell says, as it’ll keep baby snug without the added risk of having loose materials in the crib. If you’re swaddling, make sure not to swaddle baby too tightly, as this could cause hip problems—your little one should still be able to move their legs. And FYI: Once they’re starting to show signs of rolling, you’ll want to graduate from the swaddle for safety purposes.

Halo SleepSack Ideal Temp Swaddle

Halo SleepSack Ideal Temp Swaddle
Image: Halo

Halo sleepsacks have adjustable fasteners that ensure a perfect fit and allow baby to sleep with their arms in or out. The brand offers swaddles in Velboa and micro-fleece materials, both of which are great for chilly winter nights. But our top pick is the Ideal Temp Swaddle. This innovative design is made from a textile that absorbs and stores heat before releasing it back to baby, maintaining an ideal temperature and avoiding temperature spikes (that often lead to wakeups). Genius!

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Love to Dream Swaddle UP Warm 2.5 TOG

Love to Dream Swaddle UP Warm 2.5 TOG
Image: Love to Dream
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Amazon|$47.95

Love to Dream offers swaddles with varying TOG (thermal overall grade) ratings (aka fabric warmth ratings); the higher the TOG rating, the warmer baby will be while wearing the item. The SwaddleUp Warm has a 2.5 TOG rating, making it a great option for the chillier months, whereas the original sleep sack is better for milder climates. Better yet, all Love to Dream sleep sacks boast a unique wing design that allows baby to safely bring their hands to their mouth to self-soothe.

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The Ollie Swaddle

The Ollie Swaddle
Image: Ollie

If your home is warm, a light swaddle layered over long-sleeved pajamas is enough to keep baby cozy at night. Our favorite lightweight option is the Ollie Swaddle. Made from a patented moisture-wicking fabric, this swaddle helps baby regulate their body temperature and reduces the risk of overheating. It’s also super-easy to use, thanks to Velcro fasteners and a customizable fit. It can even be fastened with baby’s arms inside or out, depending on your child’s age or preference. Is it any wonder this swaddle was a Best of Baby award-winner in 2022?

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ergoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Sack 2.5 TOG

ergoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Sack 2.5 TOG
Image: ergoPouch
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ergoPouch|$59.95

TOG-rated for warmth, ergoPouch swaddle sacks are easy to use, but snug enough to thwart any escape attempts by your mini Houdini. Made from GOTS-certified organic cotton and bamboo, the 2.5 TOG swaddle can be used on its own in room temperatures between 63 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit or layered over a bodysuit for added warmth. While the material is thick, the chest area is made from a slightly thinner material to prevent overheating and allow for full chest expansion as baby breathes. The swaddle allows baby enough room to stretch and move around; it even helps to counteract baby’s startle reflex, potentially preventing some sudden wakeups. Still unsure how to keep baby warm at night? This product comes with a free room thermometer and clothing guide to help parents dress their child appropriately.

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Sleep sacks

Sleep sacks are essentially wearable blankets, and are a comfy yet safe way to keep baby warm on winter nights. Pair the sleep sack with a onesie underneath to ensure that baby is warm and comfortable.

Baby MORI Clever Sleep Sack 2.5 TOG

https://us.babymori.com/products/clever-sleeping-bag?variant=21066957586545
Image: Baby Mori
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Baby Mori|$89.50

Baby MORI sleep sacks come in varying TOG ratings, so you can find the right weight to keep baby warm (but not too warm). The sleep sacks feature full zippers for easy dressing and undressing, and are crafted from organic cotton and bamboo for superior softness and sustainability. For colder months, we recommend the Clever Sleep Sack that has a 2.5 TOG rating. Crafted in the brand’s signature organic cotton and bamboo fabric—which is breathable and thermoregulating—this sleep sack has a fitted neck and armholes but is still flexible enough to allow baby to move their extremities. It also features a double-direction zipper to make nighttime changes a bit easier.

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baby deedee Sleep Nest Fleece

baby deedee Sleep Nest Fleece
Image: baby deedee

baby deedee has both traditional sleep sacks and sleep sack walkers (aka “kickers”)—this type of wearable blanket has built-in legs, perfect for older babies and toddlers who are on the move (or like to kick around in their sleep). Younger babies will love the comforting cocoon-like Sleep Nests. Made of 100 percent polar fleece, the sleep sacks and pajamas will keep babies and tots warm and cozy on the coldest of nights.

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Winter pajamas

If baby doesn’t like the snug fit of a swaddle or sleep sack, footed pajamas are another good option for cold winter nights. If you’re sticking with non-footed pajamas, refrain from putting socks on baby’s feet. “They don’t need socks during sleep (and most of the time they’d kick them off anyway),” says Mitchel, adding that baby should never have any loose articles or accessories (like hats) on during sleep. And, remember, don’t go overboard bundling baby up for bedtime. “If baby feels clammy or wakes up sweating, chances are they’re too warm and may need to be dressed in lighter clothing,” Mitchell says.

Carter’s Baby Recycled Microfleece Fair Isle Footed Pajamas

Carters Baby Recycled Microfleece Fair Isle Footed Pajamas
Image: Carter's
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Carter's|$18.95

Carter’s is a go-to brand for affordable, adorable baby winter pajamas. There are plenty of styles to choose from—think cotton sleepers, two-piece sets and even sleep bags—but this sleepsuit made from soft, micro-fleece is hard to beat. It has a chest-to-ankle zipper, built-in footies with grippers and a sweet Fairisle print.

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Hanna Andersson Baby Zip Sleeper

Hanna Andersson Baby Zip Sleeper
Image: Hanna Andersson
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Hanna Andersson|$44

Hanna Andersson is best known for its iconic matching family pajamas. But the brand also makes some of the best pajamas baby can wear year-round, particularly during the colder months. They offer organic cotton onesies with and without footies, wearable blankets and long-sleeve two-piece sets.

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Little Sleepies Luna Neutral Zippy

Little Sleepies Luna Neutral Zippy
Image: Little Sleepies
Buying Options
Little Sleepies|$36

Little Sleepies makes some of the best winter baby pajamas on the market. The collection includes zippies, swaddles and two-piece crossover sets in tons of beautiful prints (plus seasonal patterns for the holidays). Each item is made from a Lunaluxe bamboo fabric, which is incredibly soft and sustainable. Better yet, the seasonless fabric keeps littles cool in the summer and warm and cozy in the winter. Thoughtful design features—like foldover feet and mittens and a full-length zipper—make this sleep suit one of the best we’ve seen

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About the experts:

Rebecca Kempton, MD, is a certified pediatric sleep specialist based in Chicago. She is the founder of Baby Sleep Pro and a board member of both the American Sleep Association and the Family Sleep Institute. She obtained her medical degree from Cornell Medical School.

Rachel Mitchell is a Boston-based certified maternity and pediatric sleep consultant, former night nanny and mom to seven. She is also the founder of My Sweet Sleeper, a team of maternity and pediatric sleep specialists that help growing families get some much-needed shut-eye, as well as the founder of Sweet Sleep Academy, a pediatric sleep consultant program.

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