Safety experts generally recommend waiting until your little one is 18 months old before you introduce a blanket, according to Heidi Murkoff, the author of my go-to parenting books.
For much of my daughter’s first year, this wasn’t an issue. During her first weeks of life, she was kept warm at night by her swaddle. Then, once she could rollover, we traded in the swaddle for a sleep sack (like this baby deedee one, our favorite).
But once my daughter could pull up to standing in the crib a few months before her first birthday, I felt the sleep sacks had to go.
While some parents swear that their little ones have no problems walking around the crib while zipped up in the sacks, I could just see my daughter tripping and injuring herself while walking around her crib in what’s essentially a fancier version of a potato sack. Yet as my daughter wasn’t even 1 yet, I wasn’t ready to introduce a blanket.
So I came up with a simple and cheap solution for how to keep my daughter warm while she’s in the after-sleep-sack, before-blanket stage, a trick that is today’s hint. Instead of shelling out money on sleep sacks with leg holes, I put my daughter in two pairs of pajamas, one light and one heavy.
When it’s cold out, I put my daughter in a light cotton pair of pajamas, and then I cover both that layer with warm fleece pajamas, like these from Carter’s. Essentially, the fleece pajamas serve as a fitted blanket of sorts. And when it’s hot, I just skip putting her in the bottom light pajama layer, as it’s important not to overdress little ones at night.
So far, this approach has worked, and I’m not the only fan of it. For instance, some moms over at What to Expect also advocate just using pajamas during the in-between stage.
But if you like the sound of sleep sacks with leg holes (I didn’t even know these existed until I began researching this post), Halo sells them, and you could always add them to your baby registry from the get go. Meanwhile, if you’re crafty, you could also make sleep sacks with leg holes (here’s a helpful tutorial from blogger Robyn Vines Smith and another from blogger Ahna at Easier Than I Thought). Or if you still have extra regular old sleep sacks around that you don’t want to go to waste, some moms swear by just simply cutting leg holes in them, a trick that one mom calls “great for extending the life of” the sleep sacks.
Finally, other moms (including my sister) say regular old sleep sacks sans holes still work when a baby can pull up. They say that the sacks somewhat deter crib walking and climbing. Blogger Mannlymama, for example, notes that the regular old sacks “hinder climbing” as she “hasn’t seen an attempt yet.”
Still, at my house, pajamas have worked just fine since we packed away my daughter’s sleep sacks, though I may not feel the same way once she masters crib climbing.
What are your tips for keeping little ones warm at night? Share them below, and for more bedtime help, read about my husband’s “dream paci” trick, which is featured on The Baby Sleep Site today, and check out these seven tips for dealing with the 18-month sleep regression.