How to keep Baby warm at night safely

What to dress Baby in now the weather is getting cooler

Welcome to my blog all about how to keep Baby warm at night safely.

The weather is definitely starting to cool down isn’t it?

You may have switched your heating on already and with the evenings getting darker, it’s time to batten down the hatches and get ready for Winter.

But what does all this mean for Baby? If us adults get cold, we think nothing of throwing on an extra blanket, dressing in our warmest PJs or even bringing a hot water bottle to bed.

But what are we allowed – and more importantly – not supposed to do keep babies warm at night?

How to keep baby warm at night safely
A stunning collection of wall frames hang over a baby nursery following a Muswell Hill baby photography shoot
The best baby photographer North London often captures a variety of shots including baby asleep

Safety first!

Of course you want to keep Baby all snug and cosy toes. But you wan’t to do it safely.

It always amazes me the temperature that’s recommended for babies at night – and the layers of clothing they should be wearing – as whatever the advice says, it always seems a little too cold for me!

I’m a ‘cold fish’, always have been. I feel the cold really easily. So I find myself having to really try hard NOT to put on another layer over  my sleeping infant.

But I’ve come to understand that babies really don’t need as many layers or blankets as I think they do.

The NHS website says:

“Babies do not need hot rooms. All-night heating is rarely necessary. Keep the room at a temperature that’s comfortable for you at night – about 18C (65F) is ideal.”

If you have a thermostat heating system that’s ideal as you can set it not to go over 18C.

When I’m photographing babies and wrapping them up all nice and warm in my studio, I’m also conscious about doing this safely so that I’m not over-heating her. It’s so important to get this right.


Aside from room temperature, babies don’t need a lot of layers – even in Winter.

If the room is very warm, you may not need any extra layers at all. It can feel strange to us to put Baby down to sleep without ‘tucking him in’ or layering him up – but they really don’t need it!

If however, the room does feel a little on the cool side, then dress your baby in one extra layer than you think you’d need on a cold night.

This makes sense, seeing as it’s not generally advised to tuck babies into sheets or blankets when they’re really young. Even young babies can move their little arms and legs and get all caught up in covers and sheets: something you want to avoid.

However if you really feel an extra sheet would help at night, then make sure you tuck the covers in securely under your baby’s arms so they cannot slip it over their head. This will stop the baby from wriggling down the cot under the covers.

You can also lay them down so that their feet at at end of the cot/ crib or moses basket – so there’s nowhere else for them to slide down. This is called the ‘feet to foot’ position and there’s more about that here.

You’ll need to use some common sense; the general rule of thumb is to add one more layer than you’d need, but it does depend on the room temperature as the two go hand in hand together.

A mum cradles a sleeping newborn baby during a lifestyle newborn photoshoot, North London
A bump to baby style wall gallery hangs above this bed

Ways to keep baby warm at night: Don't be tempted to use hot water bottles

Absolutely no hot water bottles!

Babies should never ever sleep with a hot water bottle, or an electric blanket.

Position their crib or cot away from a radiator or heater – and for that matter, make sure it’s out of any direct streams of air coming from a window or air vent. They basically need to be in an environment where there’s no hot or cold directly flowing onto them.

That makes sense at night- you’d not like to sleep with a cold fan or air from a heater blowing on you all night would you?!

However, you can use a hot water bottle to pre-warm the crib or moses basket before you place Baby in. Get it all nice and cosy and warm and then remember to take out the bottle before you place her down.

I use this little trick all the time when I’m photographing babies – as it means they’re transferred from my warm body to another warm blanket without feeling the change of temperature.

It’s all in the mattress!

Apparently, the right kind of mattress you use when you put your baby down for sleep makes a difference in how warm it is overall.

A firm mattress covered with a fitted waterproof mattress protector actually helps to keep the cot or crib warm from underneath.

The firmness prevents cold air from being sucked into the mattress. If the mattress is too soft it can actually let cold air in and then your baby is basically sleeping on a cooler-than-it-needs-to-be bed.

So worth investing from the get-go into a quality, firm mattress.

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Sleeping bags are a great way to ensure older babies keep warm at night, safely
How to keep 6 month old warm at night

How to keep 6 month old warm at night

Sometimes you just know when the room is too cold. And you just know that putting one extra lightweight blanket on top – all securely tucked in – is not enough to keep her warm.

You want to keep Baby safe, of course, but you also want her to feel comfortable and actually be able to drift off into a nice, relaxing sleep.

When it’s absolutely freezing outside, why not try a swaddle? As long as you wrap so that there’s still space for two fingers to go between the wrap and Baby’s body, that’s a good rule of thumb. Also, you can buy swaddles that are stretchy and allow movement.

If your infant kicks off the blankets, then try a sleeping bag. They’re safe – little chance of any of the bag going over her head – and they’re guaranteed to keep baby warm all night long.

Babies around about 6 months old are great for sleeping bags, because they’re moving about a lot and this means they’ll be kept warm whatever funny little position they might find themselves in!

Muswell Hill baby photographer Louisa Peacock

Louisa is the owner of Louisa Peacock Photography and runs an award-winning studio in her own home in Muswell Hill. She specialises in family, baby and newborn photography in the studio or out and about in London’s beautiful parks. Above all her photoshoots are relaxed, fun and meaningful.