Babies sleep well in a room that is between 16-20 degrees C but with this warm weather it might be difficult to keep the room temperature anywhere near that in a country where we do not typically have air conditioned homes. So what can you do to avoid your little one overheating?
- Dress your baby appropriately for the room temperature. If the room is very hot, for example over 25 degrees for most of the night, just a nappy and thin cotton vest may suffice. If the room is between 20-23 degrees a shortie baby grow or shorts and t-shirt pyjamas perhaps with socks or just a nappy and a 1 tog sleep sack. If your baby is too young for any kind of bedding and it is too hot for a sleep sack, simply dress them in suitable clothing for the room temperature so that no covering is required.
- During the day, open all windows on the same floor to create a blow-through and pull curtain two thirds of the way across to block out hot sun but still allow the breeze through.
- Open your loft hatch if you have one to allow heat to escape up through the roof.
- Use only cotton bed sheets and avoid any waterproof mattress covering as this will hold heat and make your baby sweat.
- A luke-warm bath or slightly cooler bath than usual might help to refresh your baby before bedtime and relieve any clamminess. Make it a quick bath so that she doesn’t get too chilly.
- Get a room thermometer so that you know what temperature you are dealing with. This will take away the guesswork and give you peace of mind that you have dressed your baby suitably.
- Large bottles of frozen water (1litre plus), placed in the baby’s room may help to cool the air as they melt overnight.
- Electric fans will often just blow the warm air around but place a large bowl of ice or some frozen water bottles in front of the fan to cool the air that circulates the room.
- A calm baby will remain cooler than a frustrated baby so try to maintain a calming bedtime routine and offer reassurance and comfort if he is agitated. A cool flannel or cold compress dabbed gentle on your baby may help to cool and calm him.
- Your baby may need to drink more than usual. Cold water is great so for young babies it is worth cooling some billed water and refrigerating it for night time use. Breastfed babies will stay hydrated on breastmilk.
- If you cannot keep your baby cool in her own room, consider moving her to a cooler room in the house temporarily.
- Remember, no matter how hot it is at bedtime, the temperature will drop in the night so don’t put your baby in his cot in just a nappy if it will drop below 25 degrees in the night. You might like to check on him before you go to bed to see how the temperature is.
- Hands and feet do get colder than the rest of the body so it is natural for these to feel a little colder to the touch. If you are unsure about your baby’s temperature, feel the back of his neck or use a thermometer.
- Babies will be comfortable dressed for temperatures as you would dress yourself. So ask yourself how hot it feels and what you would be comfortable in when you are considering how to dress you baby. Just remember, you can pull the covers over you but she cannot, so imagine you are going to bed without any bed covers.
Your baby is likely to become restless if feeling too hot or too cold so he may let you know. He may be more difficult to settle to sleep than usual or wake more frequently due to the discomfort of the temperature.
Newborns are at risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) if they overheat so check your newborn does not have a moist head or neck which are signs of sweating. If the face is redder than usual or he has a rash or you notice rapid breathing, these could be signs of overheating.
Known as The Sleep Nanny®, Lucy Shrimpton is one of the UK’s leading experts in child sleep. As a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, Lucy was trained and mentored by “The Sleep Lady” Kim West, and studied the most extensive professional sleep programme available, working with doctors, attorneys, lactation counsellors and family therapists. After studying the methods and philosophies of pioneers and experts in child sleep, Lucy has developed The Sleep Nanny System, which gives parents the information and tools they need in order to find a solution that suits the individual personality of their child.