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Article: Bedding for Baby

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What types of baby bedding are available?

What are the recommended room temperatures for babies?

What is a tog rating?

How will I know if my baby is too hot or cold?




What types of baby bedding are available?
Babies need bedding at night just like any adult, and to maximise their sleep it is important to ensure that they maintain a constant and comfortable temperature throughout the night. There are three main options for bedding: top sheets and blankets, swaddling blankets, and sleeping bags. Each one is briefly discussed below.

Cellular blanketsTop sheets and blankets: Most parents start off at least using cotton top sheets and blankets, if only until their newborn is big enough to go into a sleeping bag. There is such a variety these days of cot sheets, blankets, and coverlets in a wide range of colours and designs that you'll be hard pushed not to find something that is suitable or affordable. Likewise, there is a special range of smaller bedding available for Moses baskets and carrycots. The advantage of sheets and blankets is that they can easily be layered, which is beneficial for keeping your baby at the correct temperature as you can simply take off or add more layers as required. If your baby is sleeping in a cot or cot bed, you need to ensure that you put baby to sleep in a feet-to-foot position, i.e. with their feet at the bottom of the cot, with the sheets and blankets tucked around the sides and end of the mattress to prevent your child from wriggling under the covers. Ensure also that the covers do not come up past their shoulders. Duvets and pillows are not recommended until your child is at least a year old, as they can restrict their movement and increase the chance of your child overheating. Likewise, never use hot water bottles or electric blankets to keep your child warm.

Swaddling blanketSwaddling blankets: Swaddling is a very traditional technique which is used to help newborns to adjust to life outside of the womb, and attempts to mirror baby's environment in utero by creating a slight pressure around their body to give them a sense of security and warmth. There are many different types of wraps and blankets available specifically for swaddling your baby, and these are designed to make the swaddling process quick and easy. However, if you can't or don't want to spend out more money, then any cotton sheet or cotton cellular blanket can be used. Click here for more information on swaddling your baby. Not all babies enjoy being swaddled, but it can be an effective trigger for sleep, and research has suggested that swaddled babies sleep more deeply, wake less frequently, and are less disturbed by their own 'moro' or startle reflex. In addition, research has suggested that swaddling may help reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) in young babies.

Bambino Merino Sleeping BagSleeping bags: The sleeping bag is a relatively new innovation for babies, and replaces the need for blankets and top sheets. The bag is usually armless and is fastened around the child using a variety of shoulder poppers, side and base zips, or front zips. It is available in a huge variety of colours and designs, and comes in a choice of tog ratings and sizes up to 3/4 years. Most sleeping bags are suitable for use from birth, although may not be recommended until your baby reaches a certain weight, so check on the packaging when you buy. Some of the bags can be a little on the expensive side, but shop around dependent on your budget. The advantage of a sleeping bag is that it allows air to circulate, but ensures that your baby is always sufficiently covered when asleep. This helps to keep them at a consistent comfortable temperature throughout the night, and reduces the likelihood of night wakings and disturbances. From a security aspect, the bag prevents your baby from slipping under the covers, getting the covers caught around their face, or getting their legs and feet caught in cot bars. Baby sleeping bags are very convenient for use at home and away, and are generally machine washable. Several clever design features have appeared on some brands, such as back slits and two-way zips to allow for use with car seats and buggy harnesses, and also clips to prevent older children from undoing the zips themselves.

Whatever bedding you decide to use, there is a wide range of fitted sheets to fit all types of bed. These are ideal as they are less likely to come away from the matress during the night, and are also quick and easy to take off and put on in emergencies!



What are the recommended room temperatures for babies?
For a 0-1 month old, the recommended room temperature is 65-70F/18-20C, and for a baby over 1 month old, the recommended temperature is 62-68F/16-19C.

If the temperature is higher or lower than this in your room or nursery then you will need to adjust your baby's bedding and clothing as appropriate, or alternatively increase or decrease the room temperature accordingly. It is a good idea to fix a thermometer somewhere in your nursery (away from the radiator or window) so that you can check the temperature on a routine basis. Many of the sleeping bags provide a free room temperature guide, which is basically a temperature sensitive strip which changes colour to denote the temperature of your room.



What is a tog rating?
A tog measurement is a European warmth rating, and has nothing to do with weight. The higher the tog rating, the warmer the product. Standard tog values are used to quantify the insulation on sleeping babies, and approximately 10 togs of clothing are recommended for 0-1 month olds at at a temperature of  65-70F/18-20C. The following data supplied by the Shirley Institute in Manchester provides a useful rough guide to the tog ratings ascribed to various baby clothing and bedding:


 Vest  0.2 
 Babygro  1.0
 Jumper  2.0
 Cardigan  2.0
 Trousers  2.0
 Nappy (disposible)   2.0 (less when wet)
 Sleep suit  4.0
 Sheet  0.2
 Old blanket  1.5
 New blanket  2.0
 Quilts  9.0

Note that swaddling can increase the tog rating by up to 4 times. Likewise, a blanket folded in half doubles the tog rating.

Sleeping bags are also usually given a tog rating according to the warmth they provide. Most have at least two ratings, but some three. For example, Grobag sleeping bags have the following tog ratings:

2.5 togFor use all year and for standard room temps of 61-69F/16-20C
1.0 tog: For use in warmer weather and in warmer rooms of 69-73F/20-24C
0.5 tog: For use in hot weather and warm room temps of 73-80F/24-27C

Besides the temperature of the room your baby is sleeping in, a number of other external factors determine the required tog rating of the sleeping bag, that is, the quantity of clothing your baby is wearing, your baby's health, and the amount of bedding required to keep your baby warm (this can vary from one child to another, but should become clear with time).

The table below is a guide to the level of clothing suitable to be worn under a Grobag sleeping bag for each of the three tog units: 

Grobag Clothing Guide














How will I know if my baby is too hot or cold?
Your baby may wake during the night which may be a sign that they are not at a comfortable temperature. Alternatively you can feel the back of their neck or their tummy. If it feels nicely warm then they are fine, if their skin feels damp then they may be too hot. Do not worry if their arms, hands, or feet feel cool as this is quite normal and helps them to maintain a regular temperature. It is not recommended that you put a hat or hood on your baby when they are in bed as this can cause them to overheat. It is better that your baby is cooler rather than hotter, and if they are too cool then they'll soon let you know!


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