What to dress your child in at night

So I will start with my final sentence…. You’re freezing the poor little buggers to death!
Well maybe you’re not, but it’s likely you are!
I have been asked this question so much over the past few weeks that I’ve decided to kill 2 birds with the one stone.

It’s that stupid time of the year here in Western Australia where it’s not quite winter but it’s not quite summer either. Yes I know that means it’s spring time but it’s still a stupid time of the year. It’s like the weather can’t make up its mind. We’re having roasting hot days and freezing cold nights but then we’ll have a mild night just to mix it up a bit. So you put away the heavy winter stuff and 2 days later, you’re digging it back out again!!! Arghhhh!!!!

Well I’m going to set things straight for you. YAYYYYY!!!!
I’m going to be talking about TOG’S and a lot of people don’t know what that means so here you go…
A tog measurement is a European warmth rating: the higher the tog, the warmer the product
A Tog rating describes the warmth or “Thermal Resistance” of a product. And for the geeks amongst us…
‘Tog’ is a word, not an acronym, so the individual letters do not stand for anything. The word was coined in the 1940s to mean a unit of thermal resistance to express the insulating qualities of clothes, quilts etc. There is a suggestion that the scientist ‘inventors’ of the word may have had the idea of togs = clothes in mind. Aahhhh, my inner geek is nourished!

So now that you are all geeked up, here’s the deal. We are all terrified of overheating our babies. And rightly so. It’s dangerous. But we’ve now gone the other way… we’re tending to under dress them and the poor little things are getting cold. “But I have a really sweaty baby” I hear you cry. Or “I’m a really hot sleeper and I think little Jimmy is the same”. I can say with great confidence that the babies of these parents are more than likely COLD!

So, how can you tell if your baby is getting cold overnight?

  • Constant waking

  • Shivering (that’s really cold!)

  • You feel the back of their neck with the back of your warm hand. If they feel cold, they’re cold.

  • Fussing and being unsettled in their cot.

  • Finding them bunched up into the corner of their cots with their knees up or laying on their tummies with their legs tucked under them.

Old wives tale number 1….
If their fingers and toes are cold, they are cold. Noooooooo!

Old wives tale number2….
If they are sweaty, they are too hot. Actually, not necessarily!

So, how can you tell if your child it too hot. Your baby should be kept warm, but not too warm. SOME indicators are:

  • They are sweating. Hahahaha… I’ll explain… stay with me

  • Your baby feels hot to the touch.

  • Damp hair

  • Restlessness

  • Heat rash

  • Rapid breathing.

So generally speaking, your baby’s room should be at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult. Use a sleeping bag to keep your baby warm instead of blankets. If you need to use blankets or other covers, do not cover your baby’s head, mouth or nose. Do NOT use hats while your baby is sleeping. To prevent your child overheating, keep their sleeping place away from radiators, heaters, fires, or direct sunlight. Don’t use hot water bottles or electric blankets in their beds.

So here’s what I want you to do…

1. Buy a cheap room thermometer and fix it to an internal wall in your child’s room and monitor it. The thermometers on your baby monitors aren’t always accurate. Either are the thermometers that glow different colours for the different temperatures. A simple mercury thermometer from your local hardware store it the ducks nuts here.

2. Always have a proper Sleeping bag, you’ll need a 1 tog sleeping bag and a 2.5tog sleeping bag.

3. If you’re still wrapping your baby, you’ll need a proper fitting (and breathable material)

  • Remove the mattress protector. These often have plastic in them preventing natural/ normal sweating to evaporate or be absorbed. This moisture will then “pool” around your child’s head area leading you to believe they are too hot.

  • Only use natural bedding material like cotton. Polyester may cause sweating.

  • Only use cotton clothing in bed. This will allow your child’s skin to breathe and will absorb any moisture. Polyester or other synthetic materials will not allow the moisture to evaporate and may lead to overheating and skin conditions such as heat rash or dermatitis/eczema.

  • Dress your child for the coldest part of the night. So if the room is currently 23 degrees but it will get down to 18 degrees, dress for 18 degrees. It’s OK. They won’t overheat!

And your little cheat guide…..

There you have it. Are you freezing your poor little bubba to death?
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Sleep well, no matter how hot a sleeper you are J
Emma Pollard
The Goodnight Nurse