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How Much Bedding Does my Baby Need?

How Much Bedding Does my Baby Need?

To add or take off a blanket....just how much bedding should your baby have on their bed? And how do you tell if your baby is the right temperature?

It's a tricky thing to get right, as too much bedding can cause over-heating (a risk factor for SIDS) and too little bedding means your baby wakes from the cold! Plus add in the complication that there are definitely 'warm' babies who feel the heat more and get sweaty more easily.

What type of bedding should I use?

For starters we strongly recommend you only use natural fibre bedding on your baby's bed. Babies are not able to regulate their own temperature, and in particular merino wool has been found to be the best option for baby's bedding.

With newborns, choose cotton or wool blankets, and 100% cotton sheets. Look for light layers so you can easily add additional layers, rather than a heavy single blanket.

Choose blankets of a suitable size, so you can securely tuck them into the side of the mattress. Click here for more info on making up your baby's bed safely. It's also a good idea to choose machine washable bedding!

Your swaddling wraps should also be 100% natural fibre - either cotton, merino or bamboo.

Do not use a swaddling wrap that is lined with fleece when your baby is asleep, as your baby is too small to regulate their own temperature and can easily get too hot inside tight fitting fleece.

Once you are no longer swaddling, we recommend using a sleeping bag. This means there is no loose bedding and it is easier to keep your baby at a consistent temperature all night as a sleeping bag can't be kicked off.

Choose a sleeping bag with cotton or merino against your baby's skin. We do not advise using any products either on your baby or in baby's bed that are made from polyester fleece, as they often result in sweating...which then cools down and makes your baby cold. It's also very hard for your baby to regulate their temperature inside synthetic fabrics.

We also advise not to use duvets inside your baby's cot until they are over 1 year old. Duvets are light and easy for baby to pull over their face, not designed to be tucked in or baby can slip down underneath. They are also often made from synthetic material. Resist the temptation to buy a cute matching duvet and bumper set for your newborn, they are just not a safe option until at least 1 year old!

How to tell if your baby is too hot or cold?

Feeling your baby's chest or ears is the easiest way to see if your baby is the right temperature. Red and sweaty is too hot and if they are cold to the touch then your baby is too cold!

Babies who are too hot are likely to be grizzly and unsettled, they may be sweating and their skin may look a bit mottled. If your baby has become dehydrated from being too hot, their fontanelle will have a 'dent' in it.

Your baby has immature circulation, so try not to worry if her hands or feet are chilly. This is not an accurate indicator of the rest of the body's temperature.

Also use your own temperature as a guide. If you are cold and need to put on an extra layer, then your baby is likely to be cold too!

Should I use a heater in my baby's room?

We advise only using a heater to take the chill off your baby's room, as babies should not sleep in hot rooms. The recommended room temperature for a baby is 16 to 20 degrees, with around 18 degrees being ideal. That may feel chilly to you, as we are often used to room temperatures of more like 22 degrees.

If you feel your baby is still cold with the recommended room temperature, adjust their bedding and clothing.

How much clothing should my baby wear?

You will need to judge this based on so many factors - room temperature, how warm or cool your baby feels, what sort of clothing you use....

Some considerations include:

  • Use only natural fibre clothing with newborns - cotton or merino are best

  • Use light layers rather than bulky clothing

  • Use merino against the skin as it helps regulate temperature

  • Babies generally need one more layer than adults, but this layer may be a swaddle rather than another garment.

Should I use a cot bumper?

Cot bumpers can be a risk factor for SIDS, as they are soft and usually padded with a synthetic, unbreathable fabric. We do not recommend you use a cot bumper until your baby is one year old.

However the exceptions to this rule are the Breathable Baby & the Airwrap, which are breathable mesh cot liners, which can safely be used from birth and pose no SIDS risk.

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