Skip to content

What a Baby Should Wear to Sleep: Dressing for Sleep Success!


What should my baby wear to sleep?

There’s nothing more fun than dressing your baby in cute little outfits and onesies. When it comes to bedtime, your baby needs to be dressed the right way. Knowing what a baby should wear to sleep can keep your little one safe and happy.

That’s an important question. When you choose your baby’s sleep outfits, you should take safety, comfort and convenience into account. Your baby’s sleep attire might also depend on the time of year.

Choosing what a baby should wear to sleep isn’t as easy as it looks. There are seemingly millions of adorable baby nighties and pajamas that just seem irresistible. Before you plunk down money on those cute pajamas, think carefully about what a baby should wear to sleep for the most comfort, safety and sleep success.

Keeping Your Baby Safe

Safety is clearly a top priority when it comes to getting your little one dressed for sleep.

Go for a Snug Fit

In order to keep your baby safe while he or she is snoozing away, look for sleepwear that fits snugly. This ensures that your baby’s clothing won’t catch or snag on anything. Catching on sharp objects can tear the clothing and injure your baby. Snug clothing won’t catch fire as easily. Always make the choice for safety when you’re choosing what a baby should wear to sleep.

Do You Need Flame-Retardant Sleepwear?

Some people are reluctant to buy fabrics with flame retardant. These parents worry that the chemicals are harmful to growing children.

Parents who want to avoid introducing toxins into their homes or their babies’ cribs are avoiding these chemically treated fabrics. Fortunately, there is a better way.

Natural Fabrics Are Fine

Many parents think that they should avoid natural fabrics because these fabrics are more likely to burn. In truth, soft, natural fabrics ae wonderful for babies. They’re lightweight, breathable and less likely to cause skin irritations. These fabrics are also washable.

If you’re concerned about safety, refer to the point above about snug-fitting clothing. Any garment that fits your baby close to the skin will keep your baby safe. If you want to buy a cute nightgown or pajama because it’s irresistible or just irresistibly priced, go right ahead. It doesn’t have to have flame-retardant chemicals in it.

If you’re staying up nights worrying about fire safety, it’s more sensible and more useful to take the following steps:

  • Make sure your home’s fire alarms are in good working order.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in your home.
  • Remind yourself that most deaths from fires come from smoke inhalation and not from burns.

Avoid Embellishments

Trimmings, ribbons and buttons can make any child’s outfit look adorable. Just be careful when you’re choosing what a baby should wear to sleep. Those extra trimmings can get loose and create a choking hazard.

Don’t Overheat Your Baby

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your baby needs extra warmth. When you’re deciding what a baby should wear to sleep, you might think that babies need to be warm at night.

Babies are just like the rest of us. We all sleep better in slightly cool conditions. Your body temperature needs to drop in order to allow sleep to take over.

Keep the temperature of your baby’s room between 65 and 70 degrees. That’s an ideal temperature that keeps most people comfortable when sleeping.

Love Those Layers

A good rule of thumb when dressing your baby for sleep or deciding what a baby should wear to sleep is to check your own comfort level. If you’re wearing one sweater and you feel fine, give your baby two layers. If you’re wearing a sweater and a cardigan and you feel comfortable, your baby needs three layers.

Keep in mind that one of those layers can be your baby’s blanket. It’s better to use several light layers than one or two heavy ones.

Keep Your Baby Comfortable

Babies move around while they’re sleeping. We all do, but you tend to notice it more with babies. Tossing and turning won’t hurt your baby. Babies who learn to find their own favorite sleeping position are more likely to develop healthy sleeping habits.

Single Pieces

One-piece outfits are best for babies. They allow babies to move around freely while they’re sleeping. This freedom of movement leads to better sleep and the ability to sleep through the night. Those are goals you want to encourage.

To really keep your baby comfortable, consider the following tips.

  • Don’t use footed pajamas. Many foot doctors say that growing feet need to breathe to stay healthy.
  • Choose smooth, lightweight and breathable fabrics.
  • Select a firm mattress for your baby’s crib. This is especially important if your baby is sleeping while swaddled.
  • Babies don’t need heavy blankets or comforters.

What a Baby Should Wear to Sleep in Certain Situations

What should a baby wear to sleep if it’s genuinely cold or hot in your baby’s room?

Cooler Temperatures

If you’re dressing your baby for cooler temperatures, add some layers when you’re deciding what a baby should wear to sleep. If it’s going to be genuinely chilly, consider the following:

  • Have your baby wear a onesie under their pajama.
  • Add socks or booties.
  • A lightweight cap adds extra warmth.
  • Don’t pile on heavy blankets or quilts. These can be dangerous to babies and they’re not necessary. The right layers of clothing will keep your baby cozy.

Warmer Weather

In hot weather, start subtracting layers. Your baby will feel cool in lightweight cotton pajamas. You can let your baby sleep in just a onesie if he or she is more comfortable that way.

While we like to have a covering when we sleep, even if it’s just a light sheet, babies don’t need that. If your baby is warm, don’t think you have to add a sheet to the crib. Your baby will sleep well without a cover.

Fabric Choices

When choosing what a baby should wear to sleep, fabric choice is a key consideration. The best fabrics for babies’ sleepwear are:

  • Lightweight.
  • Non-irritating to a baby’s tender skin.
  • Easy to wash.
  • Quick to dry.
  • Easy to move in.

Here are some of the best fabrics to consider.

Cotton Jersey

This smooth, supple fabric lets your little one move around freely. It’s stretchy and soft. Cotton jersey won’t bind your baby’s movements. It’s very cool and easy to wear.

Cotton blends with a touch of spandex keep their shape and wrinkle less than pure cottons do.


Babies with sensitive skin will appreciate this silky, pliable fabric. Like cotton jersey, it allows for easy movement. Microfiber is synthetic. It has the properties of a good cotton jersey.

Bamboo Rayon

If you’re looking for a hypoallergenic and environmentally conscious choice, look for bamboo rayon. This is even softer and it’s also a better choice for babies whose skin is easily irritated. Bamboo rayon has thermal properties. It helps a baby’s skin temperature stay cool.

Cotton Gauze

This is an airy fabric that is extremely breathable. Gauze is soft and lightweight. It often has a crinkled look. If you don’t mind the slightly rumpled look that it has, cotton gauze is an excellent choice for a baby’s sleepwear. It’s a good choice if you live in a hot climate.


Soft, fluffy fleece is ideal for cold weather. It’s a popular fabric for pajamas. You can also find fleece caps, booties and mittens for those cold nights that require extra layers on your baby.

Can Your Baby Sleep Naked?

Some parents feel that sleeping naked is the most healthy and natural choice for babies. Instead of trying to figure out what a baby should wear to sleep, they choose this approach.

Other parents don’t have a choice. They find that their babies are uncomfortable in any pajamas or onesies. Their babies end up wriggling out of their pajamas in order to get comfortable.

If that’s the case, don’t force your little nudist to cover up. If it’s not cold, they will be just fine.


It’s not hard to decide what a baby should wear to sleep. Choose light, stretchy fabrics that are easy to care for. Make sure the sleepwear fits snugly. Keep your baby’s bedroom cool. You’ll both sleep easy.

1 thought on “What a Baby Should Wear to Sleep: Dressing for Sleep Success!”

  1. If your baby won’t sleep, check out the sleep method from – Thank you SleepBaby for this brilliant method! My daughter now sleeps from 7pm to 6 or 6:30am every night with almost no night wakings. And even if she wakes, it’s usually just for a second and then she falls back asleep all on her own.

    Most nights I get my 8 hours of sleep and it’s just wonderful! I really feel like I understand her little body and mind and can address her sleeping holistically. I can’t thank you enough, Kacey and the team!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *