The most important responsibility you have as a parent is to make sure that your child is well. To make sure your baby is fed, clean, happy, loved and warm should be all you care about when taking care of a baby. While It is pretty straight forward to make sure the baby is fed, clean and loved, it can be quite tricky to tell if your baby is too cold or too hot! Your little one can’t (yet) just say how she wants it.
Therefore, I thought today to share some knowledge about how to tell if your child is just warm enough.
Signs that baby is freezing
One of the biggest worries that many new parents have is that the child is just not comfortable. You will often find yourself wondering if your baby is freezing too much. It can be a little tricky to know if the baby is cold. Fortunately, there are a few different things to keep in mind:
- If the baby is shivering: When we get too cold, our bodies begin to shiver/shake to generate a little extra heat – it works the same for babies. So, watch out for some uncontrollable shaking/shivering and cover your baby with an extra piece of clothing and/or blanket.
- Do not judge body temperature by the baby’s hands / feet. Since small babies do not use their hands and feet in the same way as us, they do not have as good blood circulation in the toe and fingertips as we do. Therefore, it is not possible to say that the child freezes only because the feet or hands are cold. In fact, babies are usually cool there without feeling uncomfortable about it. (Note: hands and feet, however, should not feel icy cold! In this case, socks and mittens are required). Make sure to always check the temperature around the baby’s torso, head or neck. This is where it is important that the child is warm. A rule of thumb is that these parts of the body should always feel warm when touching them – but not hot or significantly hotter than your own fingertips.
- If baby moves less. We adults know that we should move to get warm – but for a baby it is hard to know. If your child is about that age when they start to move and look around, maybe even crawl or roll around, then you should pay attention to whether the child is moving less in cold environments. It shows that your little one is trying to maintain her body temperature by lying still.
Signs that baby is too hot
Just as babies can freeze without their parents noticing, they can also get too hot. We can easily take off a garment or kick off a pair of socks if we feel too warm. Unfortunately, however, it is not possible for a baby to do it, so we need to keep a little extra watch. Look for these signs:
- Baby is sweating. No, babies don’t sweat like we do. Instead, they become moist to try to cool themselves if their temperature gets too high. Check if it feels too moist in the trolley or in the pieces of close closest to the baby’s skin.
- Feel the neck. Your baby’s neck is a great place to feel if they are too hot. Feel with the back of your fingers if the child feels “normally” warm. You can compare how warm you are in your neck if you need to. If your baby is too hot here then this is a good sign that you either need to remove a layer of clothing or cool the environment off some other way.
Does baby get cold at night?
As a parent, you can easily get insecure about whether your baby is comfortable or not. This can create anxiety that can interfere with your sleep. Be mindful of that and try not to walk over to the crib to check your baby’s temperature several times each night. There are better methods.
When your baby has slept for a while during the day, you can take that opportunity to check if the clothes she is wearing are adequate. Do the test with your finger on the neck and check if her hands and feet are not ice cold. Before the next time your baby is going to sleep, you can adjust the clothes or the bedding in the cradle.
This may as well be one reason why your baby doesn’t like sleeping on the crib. Usually, babies have a hard time falling asleep or even wake up from sleep if something is a little wrong with the temperature in the sleeping area. So, if you notice that your baby is hard to sleep, then it is time to check and adjust the temperature.
If you and your baby sleep in a room at normal room temperature little one has the right clothes and is properly bedded, then the risk of a baby freezing is quite small. In the beginning you can control the temperature a little more often when your baby is sleeping. This is how you learn what your baby enjoys for a sound night of sleep.
How to bed for a newborn?
Sleep is important for babies and therefore it is also important how the baby lies down. There are, of course, several different ways to bed down your child, here are some tips that may be useful to consider:
Get nice, soft and comfy sheets. Think about how wonderful it is to sleep in beautifully soft clean sheets… it is the same for your little one.
We happen to have our own brand of baby sheets. We believe all babies deserve nice, plush and comfy sheets to sleep in and that parents shouldn’t have to pay so much for it.
And we are humbled to see that our product is getting a lot of great feedback from you guys and the Mr. Storkey family appreciates that.
Things to consider for your baby sleep:
Pillow or no pillow
Unlike you and me, the baby doesn’t need a pillow to sleep on.
However, you can let your baby sleep with a very flat pillow that is adapted for newborns. It is said to reduce the risk of a baby’s head getting flat when sleeping on her back – but nothing is scientifically proven. The safest option is to get rid of the pillow altogether.
Baby nest / baby pool – Babies like to feel safe and embraced, so a baby nest can be good to have. The good thing about a baby nest is that you can have it both in the baby’s bed, your bed and items on the sofa or on a table.
Blanket or no blanket
Go for a baby sleepsack. When your child starts to move, it gets risky to keep a blanket in the crib. It can easily get. A sleepsack reduces this risk. So it is a great way to keep your baby safe and warm during the night.
Sleeping in the trolley
Some babies love sleeping in the trolley. We know ours did. However, we do live in Sweden and it was quite scary in the beginning. We didn’t know how to properly protect our baby girl from the cold. Here is what we learned:
The best thing to use a baby stroller sleeping bag. It just does the job perfectly. In the stroller you need to be able to isolate all the heat that the child himself creates. The sleeping bag does just that.
If the child is to lie outside when it is cold, you should add baby blankets to give that little extra layer of protection.
How to dress a newborn at night?
Okay, now that we gone through the things around your baby when she sleeps, lets address another question.
What should your baby wear?
In most cases, it is usually enough to go for regular baby pajamas. A pajamas with long sleeves and legs keeps the baby warm and protected while sleeping.
One-piece pajamas are our favorites. They are super practical to put on, take off, and change diapers in. On top of that, they are also great for keeping your baby warm and cozy.
Some pajamas cover the feet, but most don’t. So, Socks are the obvious addon item here. However, be mindful that your baby might want to take their socks off just because… Our little girl wouldn’t last 5 minutes with her socks on for some reason.
Many baby pajamas usually are made of cotton and this is a good choice. Cotton is soft and comfortable and good at letting the skin breathe. Thus, the risk of a baby becoming too hot and humid reduces. If you have the option of choosing garments with wool instead, it is even better, as wool can also heat your baby and keep moisture away.
If your baby is going to sleep outdoors then more clothes may be needed. A hat is always good, and may even be needed indoors for the first time.
For more tips on how to dress your baby, go here.
How do you know if you dress too much or too little on your baby?
The easiest way to know if you have dressed your baby too much or too little is to feel if your baby is warm or not. The neck or chest is the best place to test this, but if your baby is sleeping then you can also test in the forehead so you won’t disturb your baby’s sleep so much.
You can also easily notice the baby if it has too much clothing by feeling the layers closest to the skin. If the fabric feels damp or very warm, it is probably because the baby has a little too much clothes on.
But don’t worry – remove a layer and check baby’s skin temperature a little later. It is common for us to dress too much for the children as we ourselves know how hard it is to freeze. However, we must remember that the baby cannot regulate its temperature in the same way as us.
Mind you, it can be difficult to tell if your baby is freezing or too hot. Therefore, we have to think about it a little extra when we dress them.
Another good rule of thumb is to check which clothes you wear yourself. If you feel you are comfortable in, for example, a sweater and a jacket then it is often about what baby should also wear.
However, keep in mind that babies have different needs than us. Remember that babies should always be protected from the sun and cold wind a little more than adults need to.
Does baby wake up when they are freezing?
Generally speaking – yes. They can start crying in a way that some parents mistake them for being hungry. Keep in mind that there is a chance that they are just a little too cold or too warm.
Is it dangerous if baby is too cold?
It depends on how cold we are talking here, of course.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, it is more likely to dress our babies too warm than too cold. So, unless we are talking about extreme weather events… if you use common sense and keep your little one’s environment warm and cozy, they will be fine.
I hope my tips in this post were able to help you or at least make you feel a little more confident about this with babies and temperatures.
We wrote several blog posts about baby sleep safety, reasons why your baby won’t sleep in the crib and about sleep training your baby. Make sure you check these tips as well. And remember, it may not seem like it right now but… You got this! 😉
If you have your own tip on how to keep your baby comfortable in different circumstances, you are more than happy to leave those suggestions in a comment below!