One of the most common questions new parents ask is how they can keep their baby’s body at the correct temperature.
If babies are too cold they will become distressed and unwell but, similarly, if they are too hot then they will be uncomfortable and be at risk of serious harm.
When it comes to keeping your baby warm, especially at night, there are steps that you can take to ensure that you get the right balance.
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Warming the body can be done with clothes, blankets, warming the room, and controlling the room temperature.
When it comes to your baby’s hands, things can become tricker as babies will often wave their hands outside of their clothes and blanket.
If your baby suffers from cold hands at night, this handy guide will give you ideas on how you can help keep them cozy.
The hands and feet are often the first to get cold when the temperature drops and this is especially the case for babies.
A lot of heat is lost through a baby’s hands so they can be covered during colder months. You can buy light mittens so they do not feel restrictive for your baby.
When you are feeling your baby see how cold they are be sure to check all of their body rather than just their hands as they will generally be a little colder than the rest of the body.
The right temperature for babies
Babies must stay warm and cozy without being too hot. If your baby overheats they can be at risk of developing SIDS.
You must follow safe sleep guidelines to keep your baby safe and give you peace of mind at night.
The best temperature for babies is is between 68° and 72°F (20° to 22.2°C) but this will naturally fluctuate depending on what month we are in.
There are several basic actions that you can take to ensure your baby is at the perfect temperature.
A comfortable room is the best way to maintain a good night’s sleep for your baby and keep them safe at the same time.
Your baby will sleep best when the room temperature is between 68° and 72°F (20° to 22.2°C). This will be the same when your baby sleeps in the daytime too, whatever room they are in.
To ensure that your baby’s room is at the optimum temperature you can alter your thermostat as and when required or set an alarm, if you have one, for when the temperature dips or rises too much.
If you do not have a thermostat you can use a room thermometer.
If the room has large windows then you may need to keep a closer eye on the temperature of the room.
It is also advisable that your baby sleeps with you during the first few weeks/months so that you can quickly tend to your baby as they adapt to their surroundings.
It can be tricky to strike a balance when it comes to clothing your baby for bed. Instinct would be to wrap your baby up in heavier clothes but, like us, sometimes babies get too hot in bed with thick pajamas.
Sleepsuits and rompers with feet in are designed to allow for the best sleep for babies and then in summer replace with a lighter pair of footless pajamas.
As mentioned, mittens should be bought for colder nights.
If the weather is cold you may want to swaddle your baby in a suitable swaddling blanket.
Follow safe swaddling guidelines by covering only the body and not the head or neck.
You should be careful not to wrap babies too tightly so that they are too restricted and their legs can move to a natural position easily.
If you are swaddling your baby be sure to place them on their back, check their temperature regularly and cease swaddling once they can rollover.
A firm mattress and a properly fitted sheet will keep your baby’s crib safe and warm.
A mattress that is too soft is a hazard for babies as they can sink into it and become smothered.
If the room you sleep in is very cold then you could warm the mattress with a hot water bottle but be careful not to make it too hot.
Blankets are a great way to keep your baby, especially your baby’s hands, warm at night as you can choose different thicknesses for each season.
Blankets should not be too heavy and should not reach above your baby’s neck. It may be tempting to use a duvet but this is not suitable as it is too hot and can easily move above your baby’s head.
When out and about in a push-chair or if your baby sleeps for a short nap in their push-chair, you want to make sure that it is just as safe and comfortable as their bed.
How can I stop my baby from getting too hot?
With the risk of SIDS if your baby overheats there are steps that you can take to ensure that your baby is not in danger.
As stated above, you can help keep your baby’s temperature regulated so that you do not lose sleep worrying if they are ok.
If you are worried about your baby getting too hot, there are checks you can make to prevent overheating.
- Put a thermometer in each room where baby sleeps
- Open a window or turn on the AC—if the room is too hot
- Check for sweating—if your baby is getting wet from sweat then you may need to remove a blanket or put them in lighter clothes
- Take several blankets out with you if the weather is changeable
- Purchase mittens that are easy to take on and off
- Purchase a stroller thermometer so you can take the temperature from inside
- Touch the back of their neck and if very hot to touch you will need to adjust clothing and/or bedding
Tips on keeping your baby’s hands warm during winter
If you follow the advice on regulating your baby’s temperature during the night you should have a happy baby and not run into any problems.
It can be more difficult, however, to keep your baby’s hands warm during winter. When the cold weather hits you will automatically dress your baby in warmer clothes, including coats and mittens.
It is not that straightforward, though, as babies will often pull or shake off mittens and will kick away blankets. While you don’t need to worry about being outdoors at night, if your baby is going to sleep not long after being outdoors their hands may take a while to warm up.
By keeping their hands warm in the day you are helping them keep them warm at night too.
The best advice for keeping your baby’s hands during cold months are:
- Choose clothing that can easily be layered and taken off easily—this way you can quickly adjust body temperature
- If your baby is prone to cold hands
- Keep the wind off your baby so no open windows if the air is too cool
- Keep an extra pair of mittens clean at all times so you can replace mittens that get wet from thumb sucking
- If your baby does suck their hands out their hands get chapped when out in the cold, be sure to keep them well moisturized using suitable products.
- Try different brands of mittens if one style does not work and be persistent if your baby does keep shaking them off
- To check if your baby is cold or just their hands are cold, place a finger on their chest or the back of their neck and if they feel warm try not to worry about their hand temperature