How to Dress a Baby for Sleep

Dressing baby appropriately at night can make her more comfortable, which may facilitate better sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides recommendations for nighttime dressing to help reduce the potential for sudden infant death syndrome. Recommendations include choosing snug-fitting clothing for your baby that does not lead to overheating. Dress older babies according to taste and comfort.

Choose sleepwear that fits the baby well, is not too loose around the neck, arms and feet, and does not have the potential for riding up over baby’s face. Choose a one-piece sleeper that snaps or zips down the front, or a two-piece shirt and pants sleepwear set that snaps together at the waist. Consider a bunting or sleep-bag that fits well at the wrist and neck and does not have a hood, which may pose a suffocation hazard.

Choose sleepwear that is light-weight and will not cause the baby to become overheated. Consider dressing the baby in layers, which can be removed or adjusted if he gets too hot. Dress the baby in a one-piece body suit, or “onesie,” underneath his sleepwear if desired. Place socks on the baby’s feet, which can be removed if he gets too hot.

Open the one-piece sleeper or sleep-bag and place on a flat surface. Lay baby on top of the sleeper and insert her arms and legs into the garment as appropriate. Fasten the sleeper and ensure it does not ride up around baby’s face. Use the zipper cover, if available on the garment, by securing the soft tab over the top of the zipper. Place soft mittens on baby’s hands, if applicable, to prevent her from causing scratches to her face.


Dress the baby appropriately for the temperature. In cold climates, dress him in layers to help retain body heat. Layers also allow you to remove some clothing if he seems too hot.

A sleep-bag is a one-piece sleeper that looks like a bag with arms. Consider using a sleep-bag if you are concerned about covering your baby with a blanket during the night.