Most moms are faced with a challenge; their babies hate being swaddled. This guide contained in this article “how to Keep your baby warm at night” will help you overcome this obstacle.
Your baby may hate swaddling or he/she has outgrown their swaddle and winter is around the corner, you don’t have to worry, we will give you 10 effective ways to keep your baby warm at night without swaddling.
Some babies hate swaddle, they would cry and struggle to get out of it and at this point, most moms have no choice than to keep their babies un-swaddled. But this is not healthy, especially during cold nights.
Keeping babies warm and comfortable at night is vital. This is why it’s important to have some knowledge about keeping babies warm at night to reduce the risks of Sudden Infant Death (SID).
What Does It Mean To Swaddle A Baby?
Swaddling is an ancient process of wrapping little babies in clothes or blankets so that the movement of their limbs is slightly restricted and only their head is left out. This is an age-old practice that is still carried on till date.
Almost 90% of babies are swaddled in the first weeks of their lives.
The key to a healthy swaddle is to keep it snug. Swaddling has many benefits but it is also unsafe if it is not done properly. To swaddle a baby properly, follow the guideline below:
- Don’t wrap the blanket or cloth too tightly or too loosely
- Don’t bundle your baby up in too many hot layers
- Stop swaddling when your baby can roll onto their stomachs to prevent suffocation
- Don’t bind the legs and hips too tightly, it can result into hip development issues. So ensure that your baby’s hips and knees can move around while swaddled or you can use a swaddle sack so that their legs can move freely.
How To Swaddle Your Baby
Use a quality swaddle, like cotton material and it should be a square piece of fabric or blanket. If you can’t find cotton, you can use flannel or thin gauze or even stretchy jersey knit materials.
So, to swaddle your baby, follow these steps below:
- Lay the swaddle material out on a bed or flat surface so that makes a diamond shape. Fold the top corner down, about one-third of the way down towards the middle of the swaddle cloth or blanket.
- Place your baby gently on the prepared swaddle facing up and their head above the corner that you folded down.
- Straighten your baby’s right arm while holding him/her down and bring the same side corner of the blanket over their body.
- Then tuck the blanket between the left side of the body and their left arm.
- Fold the bottom of the swaddle up towards the body and make sure that there is a lot of space for your baby’s legs.
- Take the baby’s left corner of the blanket and bring it to the right side of their body and snug them in.
- You have to check if the swaddle is too tight or too lose. Slip your hand between your baby’s chest and the blanket and note how it feels. Experts advise that there should be two fingers of space between your baby’s chest and the blanket.
If your baby doesn’t like being swaddled with their arms in, you can try bring out their arms. Follow this procedure:
- Lay the blanket on the bed or flat surface and fold the top corner about half way through the middle of the blanket.
- Put your baby on the swaddle or blanket with their shoulders above the fold.
- Grab the right corner of the fold and wrap it around the left side of their body, under the baby’s armpit.
- Take the bottom corner of the blanket up over your baby’s feet.
- Grab the left corner of the blanket and wrap it around the right side of the body, under the armpit to snug your baby in.
- Then you check to see if the swaddle is too tight so that it doesn’t restrict your baby’s breathing or his/her legs or hips.
Apart from swaddling, there are many other ways you can keep your baby warm at night. Continue reading to find out.
Advantages of Swaddling
Swaddling gives babies warmth. Not only does swaddling keeps babies warmth, it also helps in calming their “moto” or “startle” reflex which gives them the feeling of being startled.
Swaddling also helps babies to sleep longer because it gives them a womb-like sensation. It also gives them a cozy and secure feeling.
Sometimes, when the weather is too cold, dressing up your infant is just not enough, you need to swaddle to keep him/her adequately warm.
Please ensure that the swaddle should not be too tight, especially around the hip of the baby. Make sure your baby can breathe freely in the swaddle and always place your baby on the back when in the swaddle.
Then you also have to monitor your baby properly because swaddling can reduce your baby’s arousal cues.
However, please note that swaddling is only great for children age 1 day old to 3 months old. Because, after 3 months, they begin to roll and swaddling them can increase the risks of suffocation.
This is why you should know how to keep your baby warm at night without swaddling.
Importance of Keeping Babies Warm
It is very important to keep babies warm at night because unlike adults, they cannot regulate their body temperature effectively.
Their surface area to weight ratio is high, and this can make them lose more heat to the environment when compared to adults.
The ineffective body thermal balance in babies are caused by their immature respiratory and circulatory systems. Their skin is very thin, and they have low subcutaneous fat which can lead to very fast loss of heat.
If you leave your baby warm and underdressed because he/she hates swaddling, then your baby will have to use a large amount of energy to stay warm.
If the temperature surrounding your baby’s body drops from 37 degrees, your baby will have to stay warm by using more oxygen. They can’t do this for a very long time and it can result into complications.
This is why it is very important to keep a baby warm for their health sake.
10 Ways To Keep Babies Warm At Night Without Swaddling
We have some working solutions for you. You will learn how to dress your baby for all kinds of weather without having to worry about them being too hot or too cold.
These tips are also good for toddlers who can’t keep their blankets on at night. With these, you don’t have to wake up every hour to go and cover your toddler.
Reasons why you may need these tips:
- Your baby hates swaddling
- Your baby grew out of swaddling
- You don’t have clean swaddle for the night
- Or you’re just simply looking for ways to keep your toddler warm at night during winter without swaddling.
In fact, it is not even advisable to swaddle your baby at night when he/she starts rolling from back to belly to reduce the risk of suffocation (and this should take around 8 weeks to 4 months old). The tips below will teach you how to keep your baby warm at night without swaddling.
1.Dress your baby appropriately
Dress your baby according to the temperature of the room, this is very important because they cannot regulate their own temperature, and they cannot tell you that they are too hot or too cold.
Be careful not to over-layer your baby in trying to keep them warm. Don’t dress them in more layers than you in a similar environment. You can also opt for sleepy sacks or wearable blankets for babies.
2. Adjust the temperature of the room
Your baby’s room should be comfortable for him/her to sleep. It should not be too hot or too cold. The right temperature will keep your baby safe and allow him/her sleep well.
Experts recommend that your baby should sleep in a room temperature of 69 to 75 0F. This will give your baby a safe and comfortable sleep.
3. Position your baby’s crib
You have to place your baby’s crib in such a way that it is not getting hot or cold air directly. The crib should be away from air vent, windows, heaters, or fans.
Place your baby’s crib against the plain wall of the room. And don’t hang a photo frame to the wall where the baby’s crib is for safety.
4. Preheat your baby’s crib
If the night is cold, especially during winter, you can preheat the crib. During cold nights, you may have noticed your mattress being too cold when you lay down right?
Same with a crib, if your baby’s crib feels too cold, preheat the mattress and the nursery temperature so that your baby can sleep safe and comfortably.
To heat your baby’s crib, you can simply put a hot water bottle, or a hot water bag, or a heated blanket on the mattress for a long time before laying your baby on it to sleep.
When you lay your baby down, remember to remove all the heating items from the mattress. This will eliminate the risks of overheating or burning the baby.
5. Use a cotton fitted sheet for the crib mattress
If you want to choose a crib sheet for your baby’s crib mattress, please go for 100% cotton only.
Cotton will help regulate your baby’s body temperature according to the weather conditions and it is even a breathable material.
6. Cover your baby’s hands and head
Babies lose a lot of heat through their hands and head, so it is important to cover these areas at night so that they don’t lose a lot of heat.
So, you can make use of soft baby caps and lightweight mittens to give an extra layer of comfort to your little bundle of joy. You can also keep your baby’s feet toasty using a pair of socks.
If your baby is a thumb sucker, you should have an extra pair of mitten ready.
7. Use a firm mattress
If you use a mattress made of soft materials in your baby’s crib, it will allow cold air to enter the mattress and this will increase the risks of your baby being too cold and falling sick.
A firm mattress will ensure that no air enters the crib from the base and it will also protect your baby from suffocation hazard.
8. Keep a humidifier running
During cold nights, ensure that you have a humidifier plugged in and running. This will prevent your baby from becoming irritated by hot air or catching the common cold.
You have to do this especially if you will be running your heat more often.
9. Wear your baby a warm footie pajamas
These night wears will keep your babies warm, nice, and toasty while providing all the movement a baby wants.
And you can easily handle them in the middle of the night when changing your baby’s diaper.
10. Change your baby’s diaper
Always ensure that you check your baby’s diaper always, and change it when wet because a wet diaper can become cold. This will enable air to make its way through the waist or thigh into the baby’s body.
So, changing wet diaper regularly will not only keep your baby warm, it will also keep diaper rash away.
How To Know If Your Baby Is Too Hot Or Too Cold While Sleeping
Most moms go for the hands and feet when checking their babies’ temperature. Well, this is a poor way to know if your baby is too hot or too cold because the hands and feet are often exposed and they have a lower temperature than other parts of the body.
The best way to check your baby’s temperature is to check his/her chest or neck with your hands. The right temperature should feel warm but not too warm or too cold when touched.
Another way to know if your baby is too warm is to check for their following signs. He/she will have flushed cheeks, his/her back and neck will be sweaty, and the breathing may be rapid.
If your baby is too cold, the hands, feet, back, and neck will be cold when touched, the skin will look pale, he/she may start sneezing or stay still, and your baby may fuzz for no reason.
I hope this post, the tips, and knowledge will help you keep your baby warm at night without swaddling. If you have any other tips that can help moms, please kindly share with us in the comment section.