The other day I was doing some late-night movie watching and my little one started to cry about halfway through. She was asleep in her crib with just a onesie.
I noticed she seemed cold as the weather was quite chilly. Not going to lie, I panicked a little.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
Let’s take an in-depth look at what I did and what you can do if your baby is cold at night.
Baby Is Cold At Night: What Are The Signs?
An adult or even an older child could simply tell you when they feel cold. They can probably regulate their body temperature themselves. However, this is not the case with babies especially very young ones.
I’m pretty sure you’d scream if you heard your 2-month-old say “Mama, I’m cold.”
Your baby can’t speak to you about whether they are cold or even warm. It’s left for you to pay keen attention to your little one for any slight sign that their temperature has exceeded the normal range.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the “normal” temperature for babies is not fixed at a certain measurement. Rather, it varies depending on your baby’s age, activity, and the time of the day.(1)
If you’re usually observant, you would notice that the weather tends to be cooler at night. If you think so, your little one probably does too.
Here are some signs to look out for to determine whether or not your baby is cold at night.
Baby’s Body Feels Cold To Touch
This is one way to tell if your baby is cold regardless of whether or not they give you signs.
Babies tend to have cold hands and feet due to their immature circulatory system. In simple words, not much blood flows to your baby’s hands and feet during their first few weeks of living.
So, checking your baby’s feet won’t tell you if they are cold or not. This is because these body parts feel cool most of the time.
The places you should look out for are your baby’s stomach, back, and back of their neck. It’s rather easy to check these spots in your baby’s body without waking them while they sleep.
Chances are that if your baby’s body feels cold in those areas, their temperature is likely too cold.
Baby’s Skin Appears Pale
This may be a sign of hypothermia if it accompanies shivering, teeth chattering, etc. Otherwise, it’s a clear indicator that your baby’s temperature is too cold.
You have to take note of how your baby’s skin looks when they feel normal and are healthy. This is because some babies may naturally have somewhat pale skin. If you misread this to be a sign of cold, you stand the risk of causing your little one to overheat upon acts to warm them up.
Baby Is Lethargic
This sign simply entails your baby showing sluggishness or being less active than usual. It could be a clear sign that they are cold.
You can’t look out for this sign in your baby at night though. This is especially true when they are sleeping. Otherwise, if your baby is unusually quiet and less chirpy, they may just be saying to you “Mama, I’m cold.”
Baby Makes A Fuss
Just as some babies may stay quiet on cold days, others may not. If you find your little one constantly crying and such, you may want to look a little deeper than feeding or a diaper change.
My baby falls into the category of fussers at the slightest bit of cool temperature. Just try to take their temperature if it becomes a little too often so you don’t take any risks.
How To Measure Your Baby’s Temperature
The signs highlighted above are great ways to tell if your baby may be cold. However, they are not sure ways, with emphasis on “if”.
The surest way to determine if your baby is cold is to test for their body temperature.
The AAP recommends the use of rectal thermometers to test your young babies as they result in the most accurate readings.(1)
There are two methods to read your baby’s temperature with a rectal thermometer:
- Lay your baby’s tummy facing down on your lap. Lubricate the tip of the thermometer and insert it into their anus.
- Lay your baby on a flat surface on their back and gently pull their legs to their chest. Make sure to hold your little one’s leg in place as you insert the thermometer in their anus.
Remember that you need to lubricate the thermometer with petroleum jelly regardless of the method you use.
The Mayo Clinic states that an armpit thermometer can as well be used for babies aged from 3 months to 3 years.(2)
As I stated earlier, there is no standard as to what temperature is normal for your baby. For my little one, I regularly took her temperature readings so I was able to get a normal range for her. This was what helped me know for sure that she was too cold the other night.
What To Do If You Think Your Baby Is Too Cold At Night
Now that you know your baby is cold at night you’ve got to help them. If you don’t, they’d remain uncomfortable and instantly wake up at night.
What to do
Here are some general tips to help if your baby is cold at night or to prevent it from occurring in the first place:
- Make sure your little one’s room is at a cozy temperature. Many parents say they keep their rooms at around 68°F – 72°F. Note that the temperature in your main hallway is not necessarily the same in the rooms.
- Keep your baby’s crib away from window or door openings. You could also give the crib a significant distance from the walls.
- Do not use an AC in your baby’s room. They don’t need it, you can leave the chilly airs for the adults. Rather keep a fan there as it will help spread out an even temperature across the room.
- Always close doors and windows so cool air doesn’t seep into your baby’s room from outside.
- Check that the mattress in your baby’s crib or bassinet is firm. If not, change it to a fitting and firm mattress as soon as you can.
- Carry your baby for some quality skin-to-skin time while wrapped in a blanket.
What not to do
There’s a lot of inaccurate information on the internet concerning what to do if your baby is cold at night. So, to help you, here is a list of what not to do if your baby feels cold at night.
- Do not use a hot water bottle or any heating machine to “warm” your baby’s crib. This may cause your baby to overheat and get burned from hot spots in the crib or bassinet.
- Never place pillows or toys to surround your baby with extra heat. Any foreign object in your baby’s crib or bassinet, while they sleep, increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS).
How To Dress Your Baby For Bed
It’s not enough to carry out the tips mentioned in the previous section. I know this from experience with my little one on cold nights.
The best way to prevent your baby from getting cold at night is to properly dress them for bed. In addition to looking for signs, remember that if you think a room is too cold, your baby probably does too.
I’ve curated some of the tips that helped my little one and me on how to properly dress a baby for bed.
- Instead of wrapping your baby with multiple thick clothes, wear them lightweight clothes in layers. One layer more than what you are wearing is a good place to start.
- Only make use of natural fiber night clothes for your little one. You could try out the Simple Joys by Carter’s onesie or any other 100% cotton onesie. Always check carefully for the addition of synthetic materials like polyester as a lot of manufacturers tend to use them.
- Do not use a blanket to cover your baby in their crib. Instead, make use of a sleeping bag or wearable blanket that covers their feet and hands properly.
- You don’t have to wear your baby a hat or bonnet to sleep as they can easily overheat if you do. Stick with the sleeping bag and ditch the hats at night.
- During the day, it’s a good choice to cover your baby’s feet and hands with socks and gloves. In the night though, it’s a different story. They may get these clothes off and if that happens it poses a sleeping hazard to your baby.
What Are The Best Baby Sleepwear On The Market?
It can be daunting to find the right sleepwear for your baby. So, I checked out a few that may work out fine for you in the three categories of safe baby sleepwear; onesies, wearable blankets, and sleeping bags.
You can find these on Amazon.
I bought a few packs of these onesies and my baby slept very well in them. Each pack contains 3 onesies with different designs, and there are various packs featuring their unique designs.
The feature I found particularly useful was the 2-way zip design. It helped when I had to make “emergency” late-night diaper changes (it happened often!).
The sizes range from 0 – 3 months so it’s a good place to look if you’re seeking nightwear for your newborn.
This wearable blanket is made with 100% cotton for a soft and breathable feel on your baby’s skin. The price differs with sizes ranging from small to large.
Some parents complain about the zipper getting lost in the bottom and being difficult to latch. I find that these complaints are solved by carefully zipping up or down the wearable blanket and not zipping up completely.
This Hudson baby sleepwear doubles as a sleeping bag and wearable blanket.
It is relatively uncommon to find high-quality cotton sleeping bags with long sleeves so this one can be a lifesaver.
The sizes of the sleeping bags are measured by age ranging from 0 – 3 months to 18 – 24 months. The sizes do grow with your baby. You may want to get one size smaller as parents complain of the sizes running up. But of course, this depends on your little one’s height and weight.
If you get the right sleepwear and follow the right practices for your baby, you will effectively reduce the chances of your little one getting cold at night.
Has there ever been a time when your baby got cold at night? If so, what did you do? I’ll love to know. Plus if this article has helped your baby’s comfortable sleeping let me know in the comment section!
- American Academy Of Pediatrics, (2020, Dec 10). Healthy children. How To Take Your Child’s Temperature https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/fever/Pages/How-to-Take-a-Childs-Temperature.aspx
- Mayo Clinic Staff, (2022, Feb 26). Mayo Clinic. Thermometer Basics: Taking Your Child’s Temperature https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/fever/Pages/How-to-Take-a-Childs-Temperature.aspx