7 Clever Hacks to Keep Baby Warm at Night Without a Swaddle in Winter

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Does your baby hates being swaddled? Not to worry. Learn 7 clever hacks to keep baby warm at night without a swaddle in winter.

Now that winter is just around the corner, we have already started adding blankets or wearing warm pajama to feel comfortable while sleeping.

But when it comes to babies, and especially those who hate being swaddled or outgrew their swaddle, how do you keep them warm without swaddle in winter?

Both my babies are winter babies. At the birth of my first one, I was repeatedly asking the nurse how do I keep my baby warm at night?

The nurse repeatedly told me about keeping them in a swaddle. But when we brought him home from the hospital, just after a couple of weeks, he started hating swaddle. He would cry and struggle to get out of the swaddle.

So, I had no choice but to keep him unswaddled. But I was worried about how to keep baby warm in those frigid winter nights without adding a blanket in his bassinet or crib.

While keeping your baby warm and comfortable at night is vital, there are other factors to consider to also keep them safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has very specific guidelines on how to keep your baby safe night.  Also, sleeping surface, body temperature, and body position have all been linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Therefore, it is important to be knowledgeable about how to keep a baby warm at night to decrease the risk of SIDS.

Fortunately, I found solutions that worked for me!

With two babies, I have learned how to dress them for all kinds of weather without worrying about them being too hot or too cold.

In this post, I am sharing 7 clever tips about how to keep a baby warm at night without swaddle in winter.

Also, these tips are great for toddlers who wouldn’t keep their blankets on at night. So, you don’t have to wake up every hour to go and cover him with his blanket!!

Let’s go right into this,

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Why it is important to keep Baby Warm at Night?

Unlike adults, babies can’t regulate their body temperature effectively. Due to the baby’s high surface area to weight ratio, infants tend to lose more heat to the environment as compared to adults (1).

The main reasons for this ineffective body thermal balance in infants are immature circulatory and respiratory system, their very thin skin, and low subcutaneous fat, which results in very fast heat loss.

If babies are cold or underdressed, they need to utilize a large amount of energy to stay warm. So, when the environmental temperature surrounding the body drops from 37 degrees, babies need to use considerably more oxygen to stay warm. Building their heat reserve is not something they can do for a long time to stay warm. That’s why keeping baby warm is vital for their health.

How do I Know if my Baby is too Hot or too Cold while Sleeping?

When checking the baby for right body temperature, our first instinct will be to check the baby’s hand and feet. But the hands and the feed are a poor way to tell if your baby is too cold or too hot because they are often exposed and naturally has a lower temperature than other parts of the body.

The best way to tell if your baby is at the right temperature is to check your baby’s chest or neck with your hand. It should be warm but not too warm or too cold to the touch.

When babies are too warm, their back and neck are sweaty, they may have flushed cheeks, or they may breathe rapidly.

When babies are too cold, their hand, feet, back, and neck feels cold to touch, their skin may look pale, they may fuzz for no reason or stay still and quiet or start sneezing.  

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7 Clever Hacks to keep Baby Warm at night without a Swaddle

Whether your baby grew out of the swaddle, or you ran out of clean swaddle for the night or simply looking for ways to keep your toddle warm at night in winter, these 7 clever hacks are all you need!

1. Dress them Appropriately

Dressing babies according to the temperature of the room is very important because neither they can regulate their body temperature, nor they can tell you that they are too cold or too hot.

In trying to keep your baby warm, you might be tempted to over-layer your baby.

Keep Baby Warm at Night Without a Swaddle in Winter-baby in sleep sack

When it comes to dressing baby at night, a simple rule to remember is to dress them in no more layers than you in a similar environment.

The best option when you are not swaddling your baby is to dress the baby in sleep sacks or a wearable blanket.

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In summer, I like to dress my babies in Burt’s Bees organic sleep sack or halo organic sleep sack.  They are both perfect for summer with a TOG rating of 0.5. Depending on the temperature of the nursery, you can dress them in light onesies or long-sleeved pajamas.

Both sleep sacks are very soft and made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton.

I have used both sleep sacks from size 1 month to 3 years as my babies did not like to be swaddled. Also, the thickness of both sleep sacks is good enough for fall and spring weather when you paired it with long sleeve footed pajamas.

For winter, you need something thicker to keep the baby warm at night without a swaddle.

I am a huge fan of Woolino 4 season sleep sack when it comes to keeping baby warm in winter. Wool is best at regulating body temperature. So, when babies are unable to regulate their body temperature, wool sleep sacks keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Woolino sleep sacks come in two sizes – 2 to 24 months and 2 to 4 years. They are incredibly soft and cozy and retains their shapes after multiple washes. So, you can use Woolino sleep sacks for multiple kids and then sell it or pass on to someone else in need.

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2. Adjust Room Temperature

The nursery should be a comfortable place for your baby to sleep – not too hot or not too cold. Setting the right nursery temperature allows the baby to rest well.

A study published in 2001 evaluated the arousal rates of children based on room temperature. The study showed that babies that slept in higher room temperature had a hard time waking up to auditory signals if something is going wrong physiologically (2).

This research study recommends that your baby’s room should be maintained at a temperature of 69 – 75°F (°20-22.2 °C) to allow a safe and comfortable sleep for your baby.

3. Position Baby’s Crib

Position your baby’s crib in such a way that baby is not directly getting cold or hot air. Keep your crib away from the air vent, fans, heaters, or windows.

Always position the baby’s crib against the plain wall of the nursery. I avoided hanging a photo frame to the wall where the baby’s crib was placed against.

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4. Preheat the Crib

On a cold winter night, you may have experienced your mattress being too cold when you first lay down. So, when you lay your unswaddled baby down on a crib mattress at night, they feel cold too!!

What you want to do is preheat the baby’s mattress and nursery temperature so the baby can sleep comfortably in their sleep sacks.

For heating their mattress, simply put an heated blanket or hot water bottle, or hot water bag on the mattress for enough time before laying your baby to sleep.

When you lay your baby for sleep, make sure to remove heating items from the mattress to prevent overheating or burning the baby.

5. Use a Firm Mattress

A firm mattress not only protects your baby from a suffocation hazard but ensures no air is entered from the base of the crib. A mattress that is made of soft material allows cold air to entered into the mattress and increase the chances of the baby getting sick.

6. Use Cotton fitted sheet for Crib mattress           

When it comes to choosing a crib sheet for your baby’s crib mattress, go for only 100% cotton. Cotton is breathable fiber, and it helps regulate the baby’s body temperature according to weather conditions.

I have used Burt’s Bees Baby crib sheets for both my babies. These sheets are made of 100% organic cotton jersey material, that is soft to touch and breathable.

I have also used a tight-fitting flannel sheet in winter to keep the baby extra cozy and warm.

7. Change baby’s Diaper

Change your baby’s diaper frequently because a wet diaper becomes a cold diaper as air makes its way through the waist or thigh. Not only changing wet diaper frequently keeps diaper rash away but also keeps them warm.

How to keep Baby’s Arm Warm at night without a Swaddle?

A newborn has poor blood circulation in their arms and feet, so they feel cold to touch even when they are dressed appropriately. Usually, cold hands are not a problem as long as their back and neck are warm.

If you are wondering how to keep baby’s arm warm at night without a swaddle, try baby socks (not mittens) on their hand. Socks are snugly and warm, unlike mitten, babies won’t be able to take them out. Sock with an elastic edge also works fine.

You may want to try onesie with foldover mittens. They are great at keeping baby’s arm warm at night.


Here you have 7 clever hacks to keep baby warm at night without a swaddle. I hope you find it helpful!

Keeping them warm at night is vital but you should always stick to safe sleep practice for your baby.

You may find it challenging to keep baby warm specifically when they hate being swaddled. But good quality sleep sacks along with layering them underneath according to room temperature and above tips will ensure your baby is safe, warm, and comfortable at night.

How do you keep your baby warm at night without swaddle? Do you have any tips? Leave your comment below.


  1. Lidell M.E. Brown Adipose Tissue in Human Infants. Handb. Exp. Pharmacol. 2019;251:107–123. doi: 10.1007/164_2018_118
  2. Franco P, Scaillet S, Valente F, Chabanski S, Groswasser J, Kahn A. Ambient temperature is associated with changes in infants’ arousability from sleep. Sleep. 2001 May 1;24(3):325-9. doi: 10.1093/sleep/24.3.325. PMID: 11322716.

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