Did you know babies cannot regulate their own temperature until 6 months? This means it’s up to you to know how to ensure your littlest family member is not too cold or too hot. With the recent winter blast Brisbane endured and more expected, knowing the basics for dressing your baby for any climate is essential. Here’s how:
As a general rule, babies’ should always have one more layer than you! This is because they do not have the same fat stores or ability to regulate their own temperature. Choose fitted clothing, you can add to or takeaway as the temperature changes. Most babies find dressing and undressing an upsetting experience. Adding or subtracting a layer of lightweight clothing is the best way to warm up your bub quickly, or cool him/her down when going from outside to inside, making less stress for both of you.
Dressing baby for bed in the cooler months, you want to ensure you dress your baby in enough warm clothes to keep him/her warm without blankets. This is so when bub starts to roll, he/she doesn’t roll out from under the blankets. Many choose to use swaddle suits or sleeping bags now. These have different thicknesses for different seasons. Ensure age appropriate sizing, with a fitted neck and armholes/sleeves with no hood. You may need to add another light layer at 3am, when we adults usually pull up the covers, make sure this is tucked in firmly so as not to ride up over the face during sleep.
A great accessory for any season… a wide brimmed lightweight hat offers protection from the sun in warm weather, and traps the heat in for when it turns cool. However NO hats, bonnets or beanies are to be worn whilst sleeping. Babies lose excess heat from their face and head, if we overheat our babies’ they need to be able to sweat through their head to cool themselves down.
Although it is important to keep your newborn warm, be sure not to dress your baby in too many layers, as they can overheat easily. Overheating can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Follow the safe sleeping guidelines, by sleeping your baby on his/her back with head and face uncovered. The room temperature should be what’s comfortable for you at night.
More often than not those tiny fingers and toes feel cool to touch, and therefore make them an unreliable temperature gauge. Try feeling under your babies’ neck, underarm, or touch his/her chest or back to feel whether he/she is warm or cold. If your baby is sweating or has a flushed face, you need to remove a layer.
Check the label
Whilst picking cute baby clothes is fun, comfort and safety need to be considered also. Ensure you do not overspend on newborn sizes 0000 & 000. Newborn babies grow so fast, on average doubling their birth weight by 6mths, with weight gain progressively slowing after this. Sizes also vary between brands and types of clothes, so don’t always trust the size shown on the label.
Cotton is most comfortable for babies; some wool can irritate the skin so if choosing a wool product, merino wool is soft, breathable as well as insulating. Synthetics can make your baby clammy.
An Australian & New Zealand product safety standard applies for all nightwear (from size 00-14) to check the fire hazard of each garment. However, because there is little difference between daywear and nightwear for babies; they have their own category that covers all-in-one garments like jumpsuits and rompers.
** You can check any recalled clothing that does not meet these standards on: www.productsafety.gov.au
- Choose lightweight fitted clothing, adding or subtracting layers
- Remove hats/beanies and extra blankets when going indoors or into a warm car
- Check what is a comfortable temperature for you and what you are wearing and add a layer for your baby
- Watch for signs of overheating (sweating or red face)
- Babies lose excess heat from their face and head, keep them uncovered during sleep
- Don’t assume baby is cold by feeling hands and feet – check chest or back
- Check clothing labels for material and fire safety warning.