What Babies Should Wear to Sleep

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation


Newborns, infants, and toddlers all have different ideal sleepwear.

When picking pajamas for a newborn, infant, or toddler, comfort is only half the story. The other main factor is safety—especially when dressing newborns for sleep. Below, find out how to decide what to put on a newborn, infant, and toddler at bedtime.

  • Newborns: Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) can occur until a baby is a year old, but the first four months are the most dangerous. SUID can occur due to suffocation or unknown reasons. That’s why it’s important to dress babies in clothing that isn’t too loose (because that lowers the risk of suffocation). One-pieces with built-in feet are a great go-to choice. The most important thing is to avoid any clothing that can ride up over the baby’s face, like tops that are loose around the neck. If the temperature in the nursery is less than 75 degrees Fahrenheit, babies will need a few layers to keep warm.That’s where sleep sacks (with no hoods!) and wearable sleep blankets come in handy. (Don’t cover babies with a separate blanket, since that can accidentally cover their faces during sleep). That said, overheating boosts a newborn’s risk for SUID, so make sure to remove outer layers if your baby’s face looks flushed. And don’t forget the mittens! Newborns' fingernails can be sharp and scratch their faces during sleep, so soft mittens can remove that danger.
  • Infants: The above advice should be followed until babies hit the age of one, which is when they are no longer at risk for SUID. At this point, pajamas can be almost anything infants are comfortable in and blankets can be added for warmth. Choosing cotton clothing is a good idea, since it’s soft and breathable—and it helps keep a baby’s body temperature at an ideal level during sleep. One other thing to note for infant sleepwear: Legally, any pajamas that are sized from nine months through size 14 must be either flame-resistant or tight-fitting. This is because loose clothing more easily catches on fire. Pajamas in this age range should have tags saying whether they are flame-retardant and snug-fitting and avoid any that don’t say either.
  • Toddlers: By the toddler stage, the rules change again. At some point, your child will move into a big-kid bed, and then pajamas can be anything that your little one likes. As for how warm the pajamas should be, adults should use their bodies as a guide for how many layers are necessary.