If you read my post on crib bedding safety issues, you learned that a fitted sheet is the only bedding you need for your newborn baby. So, are there any blanket options I recommend for newborns?
Let's begin with room temperature. The room your newborn sleeps in should stay within 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. With that temperature range, I hope you see that you do not need a heavy blanket for a newborn. They easily become overheated, so a lightweight two-layer system works okay. You will know if your baby is getting overheated if they are sweating or red. If they are too cold, you will observe their hands losing color or getting bluish. My best advice is to keep them fully covered with lightweight materials.
Now, what should your baby wear to sleep besides their diaper?
A wearable blanket is called a sleeper. Sleepers are full body PJ's that have sleeves, legs, and usually feet. If you put your baby in a gown, then you may opt for a wearable blanket sack or bag. The sleep sacks have arm holes or sleeves with a neck hole, and the legs are free in a sack bottom. Then they zip up or down to close. Another option for clothing is dress your baby in a cotton sleeper or bodysuit (onesie), then use a wearable blanket or swaddle as a second layer.
If you cloth diaper, I recommend using the diaper and t-shirt combo with a fleece or micro-fleece wearable blanket option. Sometimes you have leaks in cloth diapers, and keeping cotton items away from your baby's bottom will prevent them from wicking moisture to their trunk. Fleece does not hold moisture, so it will not wick moisture, and it will stay dry. Along with that, I recommend using fleece fitted sheets for bedding to prevent moisture wicking. This combination will ensure that your baby stays dry while you are figuring out the right amount of cloth and covers to use to keep up with your baby's needs at night. I have cloth diapered for four years now, and this is the best recommendation I can give.
Swaddling also helps your newborn sleep better during the first two months. (Note: The National Task Force on SIDS does not recommend swaddling past 2 months of age due to some babies being able to roll over at that time.) Swaddling is wrapping your newborn's arms snugly so they can't easily move them. Do not make the mistake of trying to wrap their legs tightly, as you can hurt them.
There are so many options for swaddling that I will just mention your options and considerations for each one. Remember that a swaddle would be considered your second layer of clothing for a newborn. Keep that in mind so you don't over or under-dress them for sleep. You might consider dressing your baby in a cotton sleeper or bodysuit for their clothing when swaddling as a second layer.
Finally, I cannot emphasize safety enough. Make sure you use swaddles that are appropriate for your baby's size. Unlike other baby clothes, do NOT size UP on swaddles. Though you will see recommendations all over that swaddling is great for babies up through 4 months of age, the National Task Force on SIDS does not recommend swaddling beyond 2 months because some babies (like my active little guy) can roll over at 2 months old. To transition your newborn away from swaddling AND keep your baby from waking themselves up with flailing arms, I recommend the Zipadee Zip transition swaddle.
Since all babies and moms are different, I recommend getting at least one of each kind of swaddle to try out versus investing in a bunch of one kind, only to find out that it doesn't work well for your situation. Note: There are NO affiliate links in this post.
I have an upcoming online webinar class on gentle sleep training for newborns so that they can sleep 6 to 12 hours straight through by 4 months of age. Once my family's move settles out, I will announce a date. Meanwhile, check out the overview for Newborn Sleep Success.
For those of you with newborns, which swaddle did you find worked best for your baby?
I remember planning for the arrival of my first baby and feeling pressed to make his room as cute as can be. The crib of course became the focal point of the room. Looking through the baby store advertisement circulars revealed pictures of showroom ready baby rooms, but there is a big problem with those pictures of cribs dolled up with a comforter, skirt, and bumper. They are not compliant with infant sleep safety standards.
You see, the safest bedding for a baby is a fitted sheet. That's it. All those pretty coordinated items, like the matching blanket and bumper are not recommended by the National Task Force on SIDS. In fact, those items put your baby at risk for SIDS. What's SIDS? Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It's when a baby dies in their sleep for no apparent reason.
I know, I know - those are the decor pieces that define the theme of the room! Well, for all you budget conscious mamas, the good news is you can save your money and bypass all that crib decor. Proudly tell interior design whiners that you are giving your new baby the very best - the safest sleep environment. If by chance, you have already purchased a bedding set for your crib, I encourage you to keep it off of the crib even when your baby is not in it. Why? Because you will be SO tired during those first few months that you do not want to risk you or anyone else (grandma, dad, helpers, etc.) accidentally or unknowingly leaving any bedding or items in the crib with your newborn.
So how do you make sure your baby is warm and covered at night? I'll talk about blanket-alternative options in another post, so stay tuned! Meanwhile, read the American Academy of Pediatrics updated guidelines on SIDS here.
What theme did you choose for your baby's nursery?
Hi, I'm Inga!
Welcome to my new blog. After much studying, getting my Childbirth Educator certification, and having two babies of my own, here I am again - sharing with you all the lessons I've gleaned and skills I've mastered in preparing for motherhood.
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