Summer is a time filled with fun adventures for the whole family, but navigating the warmer weather can get complicated when it’s time for your baby to get their rest. Friend of Nested Bean and Pediatric Sleep Consultant Chloe Fries breaks down the ins and outs of baby sleep in the summertime. She’s sharing helpful tips to keep your little one safe and comfortable as the temperature rises this summer.
In This Article
Your Baby’s Room Temperature
Your little one’s room temperature can make a big difference in how great or not-so-great their night sleep is! Just like us, your baby will also have trouble settling in a room that is too warm or too cool. Optimal room temperature for infant sleep is between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s not only important to keep your baby’s room at an ideal temperature for their comfort but also for their safety. As avoiding baby overheating can help reduce the risk of SIDS, so you’ll want to make sure your little one isn’t getting too warm while sleeping.
In most homes, avoiding baby overheating during the summer means running the AC all night long! But what do you do if you don’t have AC in your little one’s room? Well, there’s a couple of things you can do to keep your little one cool and comfortable. First, add extra fans and air flow to your little one’s room. You may even need to keep their door slightly or all the way open in order to keep it as cool as possible. If you still cannot reach the optimal temperature to keep baby safe, you may need to consider moving them into a different room temporarily, during the warmer months. For example, if your bedroom has an individual AC unit or another room in the house that stays cooler than baby’s room, you should consider having them sleep in another environment.
What To Dress Your Baby In For Sleep On Warm Nights
One of the number one questions I get as a sleep consultant is, “what should I dress my baby in for sleep”? For which, the answer changes depending on the season!
To keep baby comfortable over the summer, less is more. The AAP’s general rule of thumb is to dress your little one in no more than one extra layer then you would be comfortable sleeping in at the same room temperature. So, if you’re in pj shorts and a t-shirt, you’ll want to dress your baby in the same underneath their sleep sack. If it’s really warm, you can even just put baby in their sleep sack without any pjs, just their diaper! Remember though, our body temperature drops as we sleep, so you’ll only want to go pj-less if it’s too warm for any clothing.
When it comes to sleep sacks, you’ll want to pay attention to the TOG level in relation to the temperature in the room. TOG is the standard to measure how much heat a garment retains. Sleep bags are labeled with a TOG level to let you know which one you should dress your baby in depending on the season. For summer, you’ll want to put baby in a sleep bag with a 0.5-1.0 TOG level.
The classic cotton Zen Sack is made from 100% breathable cotton and has a TOG measure of 0.5, making it the perfect sleep bag for warm nights! Plus the gently-weighted key areas will make it easier for your little one to settle into sleep!
How to Schedule Naps on the Go
For many families, the summertime is all about getting outside, enjoying the sunshine, and going on vacations! For little ones, that means naps on the go! While of course your baby’s dark, cool sleep sanctuary at home is going to be the most ideal environment for restorative naps, there are a few tips and tricks to make naps on the go easier for parents and baby!
Plan Around Naptime if Possible
First, plan to leave home just after nap time if you can to minimize the likelihood that your kiddo falls asleep while you’re out and about. However, if they do, don’t worry!! It always seems like they conk out in the last 10 minutes of the car ride, right? Well this sleep consultant is telling you to not even think twice about it! Rather than blasting music, riding with the windows down, and doing everything you can to keep your baby awake, let that nap happen and just focus on the next one. If your baby can transition from the carseat to the crib to complete the nap, that’s great! However, not many do. So just let baby sleep, get them up when they get up, and shorten their next wake time by 15-30 minutes to make up for extra tiredness if they only took a short nap.
Bring Sleep Aids On the Go
If you know you’re going to be out all day, make sure to bring your baby’s helpful sleep tools on the go with you to make it easier for them to fall asleep in a different environment. This includes a portable white noise machine, a battery-operated fan to attach to your stroller to keep baby cool, stuffed animals or other sleep aids, and a thin, breathable muslin blanket to lightly drape over the car seat or stroller. A light blanket overhead helps reduce light and stimulation for baby. Remember to always keep an eye on your baby while they are napping on the go, and that there’s plenty of space and airflow between the blanket and your baby!
Finally, to protect that precious night time sleep, adjust your baby’s schedule depending on their naps on a given day! If they only get short cat naps while you’re at the beach or the pool, shift bedtime earlier that night knowing they will need to make up for some lost day time sleep. Or, if you are on vacation and know that bedtime is going to end up being later than usual, squeeze in an extra nap or two in the later afternoon or early evening to help them get to a later bedtime without being overtired. A big takeaway here is to be flexible with your baby's sleep routine to make it work for your family's Summertime plans!
To shift your baby’s sleep schedule entirely, simply push baby’s naps 10-15 minutes later every day before you leave until they are on your “vacation” schedule. For example, if baby normally goes to sleep at 6:30pm at home, but you know you’re going to want longer days and dinners out while on vacation, slowly shift your baby’s bedtime 10-15 minutes later starting a week before you leave. At the end of the week, your little one will be going to sleep around 7:30pm and their morning wake time and naps will also shift later as well. Voila, their sleep schedule is vacation ready!
Want Some More Sleep Support?
And there you have it! That’s almost everything you need to know to keep your baby comfortable and cool while sleeping over summer! As well as how to maximize naps on the go and your little one’s sleep schedule so you can get outside and have some fun! If you have any further questions, or would like any additional support with sleep, Chloe offers parents digital and custom sleep solutions for babies and kids aged 0-5 years. You can learn more about her and her philosophy around sleep at www.laluneconsulting.com. Happy summer!
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