Baby Cold Hands While Sleeping: What Should Baby Wear to Sleep

By Lynn •  Updated: 04/21/23 •  7 min read
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Does your baby’s hands and feet seem to be cold often, and especially at night? If so, don’t fret. In this article, we will explore how to properly assess whether or not your baby is cold at night, and if so, what should be done about it. So, join us as we delve into the causes of baby cold hands while sleeping. 

Is it normal for babies to have cold hands?

Is it OK if my baby’s hands are cold at night?

Well, yes and no.

If you notice that your baby has cold hands, and especially at night, it could be an indicator that the rest of his or her body is cold, too… but not always. Thankfully, there are a few surefire ways to find out for sure. 

What happens if baby gets too cold while sleeping?

A baby becoming too cold while sleeping isn’t as threatening as baby becoming too hot while sleeping but that doesn’t mean it is without risk. 

A baby that stays too cold at night can develop sore throat, runny nose and illness and may use all of their energy to stay warm. This means that your baby may appear lethargic and may even refuse to eat if he or she is too cold. For this reason, it is imperative that you keep your baby at a comfortable temperature throughout the night. 

baby cold hands while sleeping

How do I keep my baby’s hands warm at night?

What should baby wear to sleep?

If you want to keep your baby’s hands warm at night, think about investing in knit mittens and knit caps made specifically for newborn warmth and sleep. Whatever you do, do not dress your baby in winter gear made for wear outdoors. This may seriously overheat your baby and may also pose suffocation risks, as these articles of clothing were not designed for baby to wear in the bed. 

What to dress baby in at night?

How you dress your baby at night will be dependent upon the temperature in the room. For this reason, we suggest purchasing a room thermometer, and specifically one that reads humidity as well, since humidity can increase the feeling of heat in a room.

Once you’re able to assess the temperature in the room, you can start to determine what you should dress your baby in at night.

In general, your baby should almost always wear a sleep sack. You’ll want to ensure you have a thick sleep sack and a thin one so you can easily adjust your baby’s blanket for comfort. 

Remember never to put blankets in your baby’s crib. This will increase the risk of SIDS as it poses a suffocation hazard to your little one. 

sleeping baby with hands exposed

How to Dress Baby For Sleep

What should baby wear to bed?

Once you’ve purchased your baby a thin and thick sleep sack, you’ll want to pay close attention to what your baby wears underneath. 

In a cool room (a room below 68 degrees Fahrenheit), you’ll want to ensure that your baby wears either a long or short-sleeved undershirt along with a set of long-sleeved pajamas, layered underneath his or her sleepsack.

And though it may seem counterintuitive, you will need to decide whether a thin or thick sleepsack is appropriate over these layers even in summer months, especially if you have central air. This is to prevent your baby from either overheating or becoming too cold despite internal heating and cooling elements. 

How to dress baby for bed?

In warmer rooms and climates, you’ll probably need to nix the thick sleep sack and opt for the thin one instead. Under this, you can dress your baby in a short-sleeved pajama with or without socks underneath. 

Again, we suggest having a thermometer/hygrometer in the room to monitor your baby’s temperature and keep him or her from getting too hot.

What should a newborn wear to sleep?

Adjust your baby until he or she is comfortable. Use your own level of comfort in the room as a guide, while also using the readings from your room thermometer. 

Temperature Guide for Dressing Babies

What to Dress a Newborn In

As discussed, what you should dress your newborn in at night will be largely dependent upon what the room he or she is sleeping in feels like, or will feel like, at night. There may even be times when you’ll have to go in and adjust your little one as the night wears on. Just be sure to monitor for any signs your baby gives of being too hot or too cold…more on that later! 

How Many Layers Should a Baby Wear

How Many Layers Should a Baby Wear at Night

For nighttime layering, use the following chart to take some of the guesswork out of dressing your baby:

60-62 Degrees Fahrenheit: 

  • Thick Swaddle or Sleepsack
  • Long Sleeved Undershirt
  • Long Sleeved Pajamas With Pants

63-65 Degrees Fahrenheit:

  • Thick Swaddle or Sleepsack
  • Short Sleeved Undershirt
  • Long Sleeved Pajamas With Pants

66 or More Degrees Fahrenheit:

  • Thin Swaddle or Sleepsack
  • Long Sleeved Pajamas

Should I cover my baby’s hands at night?

You can certainly cover your baby’s hands at night, but you don’t have to. 

Most people choose to cover their baby’s hands because of scratching, but, as mentioned before, newborn mittens are perfectly feasible for nighttime wear if baby’s cold hands really worry you. 

How many blankets does a baby need?

A baby only needs one blanket and that blanket should be a wearable one to prevent SIDS.

Thankfully, there are many blankets sold for babies at varying levels of thickness so finding one suitable for your climate and room temperature might not be as difficult as you might think. 

Is my baby too hot?

If your baby is too hot at night it is something you’ll want to address, pronto.

Look for the following signs that your baby is too hot and work to fix the situation, immediately. 

These signs include:

  • Flushed, Red Cheeks
  • Panting
  • Small Tiny Bumps on Baby’s Face, Neck, Back and Trunk Known as “Heat Rash” 
  • Sweating on Face, Between Folds of Neck and on Back
baby sleeping well

Signs Baby Is Cold at Night

How to Tell If Baby Is Cold at Night

On the flip side, it could be that your baby is too cold at night.

In addition to looking for the signs stated below, we recommend you use the back of your hand to gently feel your baby’s chest, neck and back. This is a much more accurate way to determine whether your baby is too hot or too cold than to use their hands and feet. However the baby’s skin feels to the back of your hand is likely how the baby feels internally. 

Other signs baby is too cold: 

  • Blue Lips and Nails
  • Shivering
  • It Feels Cold in the Room
  • Baby Is Lethargic
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Goosebumps on Skin

How to Keep Baby Warm at Night

To keep your baby warm at night, we recommend following the layering tips we’ve detailed above.

We also recommend purchasing a thermometer/hygrometer in an attempt to accurately check the temperature of the room.

You will also want to have a thick wearable sack on hand so you have options when the climate, or room, becomes colder than you’d like.

Baby Cold Hands While Sleeping? It May or May Not Mean Anything

All in all, if your baby has cold hands and feet, it could be an indicator that he or she is chilly but not always. For the most accurate representation of how your little one feels, use the back of the hand technique detailed in this article above and purchase a room thermometer to put your mind at ease. 

Looking for other ways to keep your baby warm? Learn about how to swaddle a baby on our blog.


Lynn is a freelance writer, a wife, and a mother of two beautiful kids. Lynn started Infant Empire with the aim of making parenting easier for fellow mums and dads. She believes the parenting tips provided here will be of great help to all parents.