Hello, with the winter months just around the corner I have written a piece on keeping your little ones on track. I am frequently asked about the temperature that little ones’ rooms should be kept at during the cooler months. To be honest, it can be a tricky one for me to provide guidance for. This is due to a number of things, which may include the fact that numerous thermometers aren’t overly accurate, children’s bodies naturally vary in temperature and it also depends on how comfortable you feel in regards to dressing your little one for sleep. So with that said, it is important to trust your instincts and always keep in mind what you yourself are dressed in, as well as the thickness of your bedding.
Here are my top tips to better sleep during the colder months.
I tend to find we absolutely under dress rather than over dress. As we know, it is really important to ensure your little one isn’t over heated. However, the sleeping bags that a large majority of us use these days aren’t excessively thick. If you were to compare the thickness between the doonas that we as adults use and a 2.5 tog sleeping bag for example, there really is a vast difference. Sure they do the trick in the warmer months, but come the winter months, I would also look at using heating as well, where required. You could even just use a heater to take the chill out of the air in your little one’s room, you do not necessarily need to raise the room temperature significantly.
I also generally recommend that once babies are rolling or shuffling, it’s best to create a suitable room temperature through heating that in turn means that a sleeping bag and warm clothing is enough. This way, you can get rid of blankets and quilts in the cot. Let’s face it, the last thing you want is to worry about is whether your little one is caught up in a blanket or if it is still on them providing them with warmth throughout the night.
Sickness can unfortunately be really problematic during the winter months, in turn, causing havoc when it comes to your little one’s sleep. Here are some points to keep in mind –
- If your little one is self - settling, I would continue to offer them the opportunity to settle independently, even when they are sick. If they are having trouble settling, then absolutely step in and give your bub some comfort as required. Essentially, it’s just about trying to keep good habits in play where possible, but with no pressure should you need to play more of a role.
- If your baby or toddler is sick they may require more sleep, so keep a closer eye on their cues and pop them to bed sooner if you feel they need to.
- Try to keep your little one in their own sleep space rather than bringing them into bed with you. For some, this may mean a mattress on the floor - but a mattress on the floor is much easier to remove that after a few nights than it is to re orientate your bub back into their own room. I also encourage parents to keep in mind that when your little ones are running high temperatures, having them in bed with you or having prolonged skin to skin contact can raise their body temperature even more.
- Make sure you make hand hygiene a priority and where possible, or as much as possible, I recommend keeping young babies out of heavily populated areas such as busy shopping/play centres (I know this is great in theory).
The winter months can seem extremely long with little ones. Sickness and being stuck indoors can certainly take its toll. Hang in there, get creative with play and remember that good sleep is critical to your little one’s immune health