Now that winter weather and cooler temps are upon us (at least here in Chicago!) we wanted to give you some tips on how to safely dress and keep your babies and toddlers warm for bedtime!
For babies 0-12 months of age:
It is important to know that it is UNSAFE for babies under 12 months of age to use blankets in their cribs or bassinets to stay warm during sleep. The best way to keep your baby warm and comfortable is to dress them in layers and pick the right sleep sack or swaddle blanket based on the temperature in your baby’s room.
What is a Tog rating?
Tog stands for Thermal Overall Grade and is a unit of measure of thermal insulation used in the textile industry. A Tog rating describes the blanket/sleep sack’s thermal effectiveness (how well it keeps you warm!). For warmer temperature, a lower Tog rating is needed, as opposed to a higher Tog rating, for colder temperatures. Babies do not regulate their own temperatures very well so having a correct Tog rating is important!
.5 Tog – ideal for summer and hot weather >75 degrees Fahrenheit. About the same thickness as a swaddle blanket
1.0 Tog – used during warmer weather months and room temperatures between 68-75 degrees Fahrenheit
2.5 Tog – perfect for wintertime and colder climates, ideal for temperatures between 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit
The Tog level should be chosen based on the temperature of your baby’s room, NOT the temperature outside. If you are unsure of which Tog level to choose, 1.0 Tog is generally considered the “universal” Tog as it can be used almost all throughout the year – just add extra layers of clothing to keep your baby warm if it’s colder or remove layers of clothing if it’s warmer.
What should my baby wear underneath the swaddle or sleep sack?
Now that we have discussed what type of sleep sacks are ideal for different temperatures, what your baby should be wearing underneath their sleep sack or swaddle blanket is equally as important!
Cool (60-68 degrees F)
- 0-4 months (baby not rolling over yet so swaddle blanket is safe): long sleeve footed pajamas or sleep gown + optional short sleeve onesie + standard swaddle blanket
- 4-12+ months (baby can roll over, no longer safe to use swaddle): long sleeve footed pajamas or sleep gown + optional short sleeve onesie + 2.5 Tog sleep sack
Warm (68-75 degrees F)
- 0-4 months (baby not rolling over yet so swaddle blanket is safe): long or short sleeve footless pajamas + standard swaddle blanket
- 4-12+ months (baby rolling over, no longer safe to use swaddle): long or short sleeve footless pajamas + 1.0 Tog sleep sack
Hot (>75 degrees F)
- 0-4 months (baby not rolling over yet so swaddle blanket is safe): short sleeve onesie or only diaper + standard swaddle blanket
- 4-12+ months (baby rolling over, no longer safe to use swaddle): short sleeve onesie or only diaper + 0.5 Tog sleep sack
Remember that once your baby can roll over it is time to move them from a standard swaddle blanket into a sleep sack.
Babies under the age of 12 months cannot use standard blankets because they pose as a sleep hazard. A sleep sack should be used once your baby starts rolling over (no more swaddle!) and they are safe to use until your child no longer fits in it!
Pro Tip: Sleep sacks can be helpful to keep your toddler from climbing out of their crib until they are ready to transition to a toddler bed!
Once your child is ready to move into a toddler or regular size bed this is a great time to transition them from their sleep sack to using a regular blanket! I like this blanket from Target or this blanket from Amazon as blanket options for your toddler! Your toddler can start using a blanket at 12 months according to the AAP and a toddler pillow at 24 months (the CPSC states 18 months for a toddler pillow). This is my favorite toddler pillow! Checkout my instagram post about toddler pillows here!
Sleep sacks come in all different sizes so be sure to find one that fits your baby safely. The arm holes of the sleep sack should be snug enough that your baby cannot pull their arms inside of the sleep sack. Also, the neck hole should not be big enough for your baby’s head to slip down into the sleep sack. Any zippers on the sleep sack should be covered to avoid them from scratching your baby’s skin.
Pro Tip: Dress your baby similar to how you dress! If you are most comfortable in pajamas with long sleeves, pants, and socks most likely your baby would be comfortable sleeping in something similar!
And just a quick reminder on the ABC’s of safe sleep for your baby!
They should sleep ALONE. on their BACK, in their CRIB (or bassinet) with no toys or loose blankets.
How do I choose the best sleep sack and pajamas for my baby/toddler?
There are SO many different types of sleep sacks and swaddles on the market, it can be overwhelming. I have tried multiple options with each of my girls so I have narrowed down a list of my favorite sleep sacks, swaddles and pajamas for your baby!
Favorite swaddles + sleep sacks:
Ollie swaddle – our absolute favorite swaddle for your newborn!
Happiest Baby swaddle – this is very similar to the Ollie (but half the price) and Kate really likes it!
Woombie Convertible Swaddle – another great newborn option that converts to fit babies 0-9 months (and then can be used as a toddler blanket).
Kyte Baby Sleep Sack – I wish I could cozy up inside of one of these, they are made with bamboo fabric and are seriously SO soft! They have all different tog levels and so many cute pajamas to choose from as well! They even have ones for toddlers with little legs so they can walk in them!
Woolino Sleep Sack – these are a splurge but they are made out of breathable merlino wool keeps your child warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s warm. It can be used for all 4 seasons so they can be used all year long! The same sleep bag can be used from 2 months – 2 years old! They also have ones for toddlers with little legs so they can walk in them! Use code BUMBLEBABY10 for discount.
Aden + Anais sleeping bag – a light weight 1.0 Tog rating sleep sack made of 100% Muslin. The perfect universal swaddle to keep your baby warm during cooler temperatures but at the same time keep them cool during warmer temps!
Moon and Back Sleep Sack – I used these for Margot this entire year, they are wonderful quality at a great price point!
Nested Bean Weighted Sleep Sack – Renée used this for her daughter and she slept great with the weighted feeling! This is similar to the one above, but not as warm!
Burt’s Bee’s footed pajamas – perfect to keep those toes warm during cooler temps!
Little Sleepies pajamas – these bamboo pajamas are very soft and come in so many cute patterns and prints! They come in a zipper option for babies and a 2 piece option for toddlers which is great if you love to have your kiddos matching like I do!
Organic cotton pajamas – we own an embarrassing amount of these pajamas! They are a perfect weight for warmer and cooler temperatures, come in a short sleeve/shorts option and are available in both baby and toddler sizes. Putting my girls in matching pajamas is my favorite!
Short sleeve onesie – great for layering under pajamas on colder nights!
Lou Lou and Company gowns – My absolute favoite gowns for newborns! They are so soft, perfect for newborn photos and also middle of the night diaper changes! Margot wore these for basically the first 3 months of her life!
Additional winter tips
Besides safely dressing your baby for winter temperatures there are other things you can do to make sure your baby’s room is comfortable for them to sleep in!
- Try using thermal curtains and shrink wrapping your baby’s windows to block out the cold winter air.
- Using a cool mist humidifier is also a great way to make sure your baby’s room doesn’t get too dried out (and cause dry, itchy skin!) from having your furnace running during colder months. This one is a bumble baby favorite!
- Make sure to avoid the use of space heaters and extra blankets in your baby’s room and crib – these pose a major risk to your baby’s safety. Space heaters have the ability to cause fires and can potentially burn your baby if touched by accident. Extra blankets can lead to suffocation. Remember your safe sleep ABC’s (listed above).
For more home safety tips and baby-proofing recommendations, purchase Renée’s Safety E-guide. She is our safety expert and passed the Home Hazards Test through the IAFCS.
Have more questions? Schedule a text or video chat consult with Kate, Lauren or Natalie (NICU RNs) and they can help answer any questions that you have!
**This post is educational and not meant to take the place of your provider. Bumblebaby makes a small commission on some of the items listed above