Are you wondering how to dress your newborn in summer for maximum comfort? Here are 5 tips to keep your baby cool and comfortable!

baby girl sitting in grass in summer

You’ve probably heard me say this before, but from the day we brought our new baby home, I was obsessed with her temperature and whether she was comfortable when sleeping.

As new parents, we worried about how to keep my baby warm at night without overheating her.

Newborns can’t use words to tell you how they’re feeling, and trying to guess how to dress your baby for sleep can be tricky work!.

I felt like there must be some sort of code to crack to make sure she was sleeping at the perfect temperature.

Thankfully it’s not such a precise science! Still, there are some things to keep in mind and pitfalls to avoid.

Luckily, I’ve done the research and trial-and-error for you!

I’m here to help you figure out the best way to dress your newborn in summer. Keeping them comfortable means they’ll be less fussy and sleep for longer stretches of time.

Want a realistic newborn sleep schedule? Download my free newborn sleep schedule to see what a day with your newborn might look like. Click here to grab it, it’ll be super helpful.

Tips for dressing a newborn in the summer for bed

Top Tips to Dress a Newborn Baby in Summer for Bed

Dressing your baby for sleep in warmer weather doesn’t have to be hard! Here are some tips that will take the guesswork out of it.

Tip #1: Don’t Just Rely on the Thermostat

Did you know that the recommended ideal temperature for baby’s room is usually between 68 and 72°?

Where we live in California, our summer months can get very hot (with temps over 100°!), so we have to run our AC a lot in the summer. But just because the thermostat is set at 68°, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the temperature your baby feels when sleeping.

You still have to dress your newborn in something to sleep! Those layers can add warmth, so it’s important to monitor how their body feels by using the touch-test.

Your thermostat might read much cooler than your baby actually feels, so don’t let it be your only way to monitor their ideal summer sleep temperature.

Touch your baby’s belly or back of their neck to feel their core temperature. They should feel slightly warm but not sweaty or clammy.

baby's feet - Avoid overheating your newborn when you dress them in summer for sleep

Tip #2: Your Goal is to Avoid Overheating

Keep in mind that it is much easier to warm a baby up than cool them down. Your goal should be to avoid overheating.

The most recent research shows that overheating is linked to a greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

To reduce the risk of SIDS, keep an eye out for any of these signs that baby is too hot while sleeping:

  • Baby’s skin is sweaty including back, chest, neck, or hair
  • Skin that is red and very warm to the touch
  • Heat rash (little bumps or splotches on neck, chest, back, thighs, or armpits)
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting (more than just spitting up after eating)

If you see any of these signs, remove at least one layer of clothing and try to move to a cooler location.

Use the golden rule to dress your newborn in summer for bed

Tip #3: Use the Golden Rule

Knowing that overheating can be dangerous for your baby really turns the pressure on when you’re getting them dressed for bed!

But don’t sweat it—literally! Instead, think about this spin on the golden rule: dress your baby the way you want to be dressed.

In other words, think about how you like to dress for sleep in the summer. You probably wear light, thinner pajamas and forego a heavy blanket or comforter, right?

Your newborn will be comfortable in thin layers, too. Start with a cotton onesie as a base, and build on that if necessary.

I typically recommend swaddling in those first few months for your newborn. Since that means adding another layer to a potentially already warm summer night, it’s important to pick a swaddle that is lightweight and breathable—something like these Burt’s Bees swaddles, which are made of organic cotton is perfect!

baby's clothes in dresser

Tip #4: Pay attention to TOG Ratings

When it comes to layering and warmth, not all of your baby’s clothes are created equal.  

Textiles like baby clothing and swaddles have something called a TOG rating. TOG is a standard measurement that lets buyers know just how warm a fabric is.  

The higher the TOG rating, the warmer the fabric will feel when you wear it.  

It’s not always possible to tell how warm something will be by the look or feel of it. There are certain fabrics that will insulate more or less, and will have better breathability. TOG ratings take the guesswork out of it all!  

When you’re figuring out what do babies sleep in during the summer, you can use pajamas, swaddles, or summer sleep sacks with low TOG ratings.  

Using a swaddle or sleep sack is possible even in the warmer months, as long as you pay attention to the TOG ratings of both the swaddle or sleep sack and your baby’s base layer.

The Woolino 4-Season sleep sacks are some of the best sleep sacks if you live in a climate that experiences all four seasons. The bags take the guesswork out of dressing for cold weather and help with how to dress your baby for winter, summer, spring, and fall. You can use the code POSTPARTUMPARTY10 to save on your Woolino order.

Mom snuggling baby in a blanket

Tip #5: Learn the Signs of Temperature Discomfort

If you’re not sure whether your baby’s sleeping temperature is right, here’s the good news: they will let you know!  

When your baby is feeling uncomfortable, they will find a way to communicate it. You might just have to keep an eye out for the signs.  

Here are some ways your newborn might be telling you that they’re not at a comfortable temperature:  

  • More crying than usual, especially in the middle of the night
  • Generally restless when you set them down during scheduled naps or bed time
  • More frequent wake-ups or shorter naps than usual
  • Very quiet and still
  • Awake but lethargic or floppy
  • Uninterested in feeding
Newborns should wear light layers to bed in summer

What Should Newborns Wear in the Summer to Bed?

Now that you have those tips in mind, it should be easier to determine what your newborn needs to wear to bed in the summer.

If your baby sleeps under or near an air conditioning vent or ceiling fan, you can probably dress them in at least one thin layer covering their whole body without worrying about overheating. Consider a lightweight (low TOG), full length long sleeves pajama set.  

However, if there isn’t much cool air passing over your newborn when they’re sleeping in summer, they might be totally comfortable in a short-sleeve onesie and nothing else.  

There may be times when you’re traveling and don’t have control over the thermostat—or maybe there isn’t AC! In situations where you’re faced with 80+ degree temps indoors while sleeping, don’t hesitate to omit the baby clothes and let your little one sleep in nothing but a diaper.  

Lastly, if your newborn relies on the swaddle to sleep but you’re concerned about overheating, consider using breathable muslin wraps or sleep sacks over nothing but the diaper or a short sleeve onesie.

How to dress a newborn in summer heat

How to Dress a Newborn in Hot Weather

If you’re wondering what to dress your baby in during the daytime in summer, think back to the golden rule. Your newborn will be plenty comfortable in the same amount of layers you’re wearing!  

Think of this as a general rule for dressing babies for the outside: If the temperature is 65 degrees or less, your baby will probably be more comfortable in one layer more than you. In higher temperatures, dress them in the same number of layers as you.  

The most important thing when dressing your newborn for the outdoors in summer is to protect them from the direct sun. You can limit sun exposure and protect your baby’s skin with clothing, a sun hat, and shade.  

Keep in mind that the FDA recommends against using sunscreen on newborn babies younger than 6 months old. That means shade is the best sun protection for your newborn when you’re outside during the summer.

You should never dress your newborn in more than one additional layer compared to the number of layers you’re wearing. For example, if you’re wearing one layer, your newborn should only have 1-2 layers on.  

You can always keep an extra layer in your diaper bag for your baby, in case you visit any places that are blasting the air conditioner.  

I hope you found this helpful and that your baby stays comfortable and cool this summer!

Amy Motroni
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