What Pajamas Do Babies and Toddlers Sleep In?


Occasionally, we have clients email us with what they think is a “silly” question.

What should my baby sleep in and/or wear to bed?

They want to know what we recommend by way of pajamas, sleep sacks, etc. for babies and toddlers. This is a great question!

We, new parents, tend to be overly worried our babies will be cold. So, it is probably rare that babies are not dressed warmly enough. Consider that babies can be dressed TOO warmly just the same as not warmly enough.

Here are a few general guidelines as to what babies sleep in at various ages. Do use your best judgment, though. Decide on what your baby should sleep in based on where you live, how hot/cold you keep the temperature in your house when your baby sleeps, and your baby’s preference. There may also be other unique factors you need to consider as well.

These are just guidelines and you know your baby best!

What Should Swaddled Newborns Sleep In and Wear To Bed?

Do not want to dress your newborn in too-warm pajamas because she will be swaddled, too. This is an added layer that may make her too warm. And, if your baby may fall asleep in a car seat, this may also add a bit of heat.

Not only could being too warm make your baby uncomfortable, but it also increases the risk of SIDS. (Note that using a fan can decrease the risk by 72%.)

Think about layers at every age. If your baby feels too warm, you can simply remove one layer at night. If she spits up on the outer layer, depending on severity, you can simply replace the outer layer, too.

For newborns who are swaddled, I recommend a onesie underneath a light sleep-and-play outfit (long-sleeve in the winter and short-sleeve in the summer). Then, swaddle your baby.

In the summer, you can probably skip the footed outfit or socks. But in the winter, you may want to keep them on.

If your newborn is not swaddled, read on.

What Do Babies Sleep In and Wear To Bed?

Once your newborn has grown up a bit and you are trying to stop swaddling your baby, you can dress your baby the same as a newborn. But, instead of a swaddle, consider a sleep sack.

A sleep sack is a wearable blanket and is safer than putting a loose, thick blanket in the crib with your baby. Babies don’t have the fine motor skills she needs to keep it off her head.

This transition swaddle is another good choice, so you can gradually get your baby used to being unswaddled.

In the summer, depending on the temperature of your house, you may want to skip the sleep sack or blanket all together. Babies sleep better in a cooler temperature, approximately 68-70 degrees as do adults. For most people, body temperature drops at night in order to lead to a better night’s sleep. If your baby’s body temperature doesn’t drop, you should dress him even lighter.

What Do Toddlers Sleep In and Wear To Bed?

One important thing with toddlers is that when they are TOO warm when they sleep, they are more prone to night terrors and nightmares.

So, you do want to make sure your toddler is warm enough at night, but not too warm, just like your baby.

Your toddler’s skin should be comfortable to the touch and even a little cool, but not cold/frigid.

Even when your toddler can talk, it isn’t always something they can express as to why they are waking at night. Sometimes we have to be detectives (at least I’ve felt that way!)

Many people continue to use sleep sacks into the toddler years, so this is still a good option. They make wearable blankets that allow your toddler to walk in them. And, then you don’t have to worry about him keeping the covers on at night.

The Merino Kids Baby Sleep Bag is a good choice for a toddler sleep sack without the legs. It’s made from Merino Wool, which regulates your toddler’s body heat.

What if Your Baby or Toddler Doesn’t Like Sleep Sacks?

If you and/or your baby or toddler do not like a wearable blanket or sleep sack, most people use zip sleepers. Once your baby is a toddler, you can also try a regular blanket. However, don’t expect your toddler to keep the covers on all night until sometime after three or four years old.

There are probably a few two-year-olds who will keep them on, learn to replace them on their own early, or simply don’t move too much at night. But generally, we expect 3 and 4 year olds to continue to call for you at night to replace the covers.

Therefore, if your toddler is repeatedly calling for you in the middle of the night to be covered up, we recommend simply dressing her more warmly and skipping the blanket. This way, she doesn’t need the covers on at all. That way, once the covers come off, it won’t matter.

In the Winter, and if your toddler is prone to being cold, consider fleece pajamas or putting a t-shirt on underneath cotton pajamas plus socks.

There are SO many great choices for pajamas for babies and toddlers to sleep in!

The Baby Sleep Site® is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other product affiliate programs. If you click on a product link and make a purchase, The Baby Sleep Site® may (but not always) receive a small commission from the company selling the product, but will not affect your purchase price. We only recommend products that we believe are quality products and are good for our readers.

Holistic Sleep Solutions from The Baby Sleep Site®

e-Book bundles

Do-It-Yourself: Just getting started with your research but you want to stop Googling? Choose from any of our e-Book bundles for practical advice you can put to use TODAY!  

Become a VIP Member

Do-It-Mostly-Yourself: Would you like to continue learning with the option of chatting with a sleep consultant? We have a perfect solution! Become a VIP Member for access to all of our premium content, “ask the author,” audio courses, live weekly chat, and more!

Get a Personalized Sleep Plan

Work With a Sleep Expert: Tap into over a decade of experience with thousands of families before you! Get a Personalized Sleep Plan® just for your unique situation, get guidance and answers to all your “what if?” questions while you work through your plan, and benefit from expert support along the way. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard “I wish I had done this sooner!” Not sure? Read these stories from well-rested parents.

Don’t lose another wink of sleep — GET STARTED TODAY with our gentler, kinder approach to healthy sleep!

Since starting in 2008, we’ve gained over 10,000 comments on our blog!

At this time, we’ve turned the comment sections off. We would, of course, love to hear from you! For help with your specific sleep problems, please learn more about our DIY resources or our sleep consultation services. Or, consider emailing us for a fast and helpful response!

16 thoughts on “What Pajamas Do Babies and Toddlers Sleep In?”

  1. What are others’ thoughts on putting a toddler in 2 piece pajamas under a wearable blanket? We use the woolino merino wool toddler wearable blanket and my 2 year old likes it, but she’s getting very tall and doesn’t fit in one piece pajamas as well anymore. I’m worried two pieces will result in the shirt riding up and making her uncomfortable inside her blanket (which she can’t remove). Does that seem silly? I haven’t tried it yet.

    • Hi @Jj!
      Thanks for writing to us! I’m looking forward to hearing from other parents out there and about their experiences with toddler jammies! I say try it out and see how it works for your little one! We did this and my son didn’t mind it! It doesn’t seem silly at all to be considering that 2 piece pajamas under her wearable blanket may make her uncomfortable! Every toddler’s different, so she may not mind when another her age would! Good luck!

  2. My comment is more like a question.. My toddler is going threw a phase he wants to wear just a tshirt and shorts sweatshorts or like basketball shorts personally i have no issue besides laundry but mom thinks he will to cold its turning into a screaming match to put his pjs on any opinions

    • Hi @Andrew – Thanks for writing! My son is the same way! He loves just sleeping in his t-shirt and sweatshorts! If he’s safe, warm enough, and happy, I see no reason to change things! Perhaps if mom is worried about him being warm enough, you can compromise with a long sleep t-shirt or sweatpants instead? Or maybe he’d like to go to the store and pick out his own brand new pajamas? He may grow right out of this stage quickly, and for now, you and your wife/partner will have to decide if this is worth the battle! Just for me – I found it not worth the fight, and my guy is usually sleeping in what he’d like!
      Good luck!

  3. Hello! My 15 month old sleeps in her diaper mostly. We currently live in Louisiana where it’s already 95 degrees outside and with the air on her room is 72 give or take. She seems to be a “warm” sleeper where she gets hot easily when she sleeps. Naps she wears clothes and at home you can tell she wakes up hot. At daycare it’s freezing in there so she seems to be fine. What are you thoughts on only sleeping in a diaper? I have a thin blanket in with her but naturally it doesn’t stay on.

    • Hi @Ashley B, thank you for visiting the Baby Sleep Site! I am so with you, we live in Florida and it’s so hot. My 2 year old naps in a diaper (and a tshirt because he insists but I think that’s just him being particular because he would gladly only wear a diaper 100% of his wake time if I let him). I think you know your situation and child best – if she was freezing, you’d know! You’d be able to feel it on her feet or she’d wake or at least stir a bunch in her sleep if she was cold. I hope you survive the summer heat!!

  4. Our 18 month old doesn’t seem to have a temperature preference, she’s pretty mild tempered. But I worry about keeping it too cold/too warm. She has always slept with a onesie, socks and cotton footed pjs., And we’ve kept the temp in the house between 68-69 following the advice for SIDS and babies sleep better between 65-72 degrees. She doesn’t sleep with a blanketband we keep her ceiling fan on low.

    Thoughts on continued use of onesie, socks and footed pjs? When should we go to just socks and footed pjs? I’m the only mom I know who puts a onesie underneath and even thinks about the temp LOL. Side note, it says children should have 1 additional layer than adults. We sleep in underwear/tank top and are comfortable at 69 degrees with the blanket on.

    • Hi @Shenandoah Lopez, thanks for visiting the Baby Sleep Site! In my experience (I have a 4 and 2 year old) my kids let me know if they are too cold or too hot because they start waking up! There have been a few times when they were really little that I would go in and their feet would be freezing (this rarely happens for us as we live in FL and I keep our AC to 74 at night in the summer) and I feel bad, but they never seem to mind. Since your daughter seems so mild tempered it’s likely she’s fine but if she was uncomfortable I’m sure she’d find a way of communicating that to you even if she is not talking a ton yet. I hope that helps!

  5. Hi! My baby is one week into her fifth month. She’s had A LOT of changes recently. She was sleeping in a swing until the four month maturation hit and we had no choice but to start sleep training her in her crib. The second night in her crib, she learned to roll over so I had to take away her swaddle. Then she cut her first and second teeth. It’s been madness around here. I’ve also stopped making as much milk as I was before so now she has to have some formula and she does not like that! In to my question: Katie is in the 97th percentile for height. She’s almost too long for her 6-9 month pajamas and her feet had no room in the large Halo sleep sack we had her in so I stopped putting her in it. She sleeps in a onesie and a Cloud Island sleep’n’play which is fairly thin. We keep the house pretty cool because we are in a hot climate. I touch her back and chest at night and it does feel quite cool to the touch which concerns me. Should I be trying to find something warmer for her wear to sleep? If so, what?

    Thank you!!!

    • Hi @Amy – Thank you for writing, and I am sorry that you have had such a tough time with sleep lately! So many changes in a short time sounds like madness making for sure!! In regards to your temperature and what to have your baby sleep in for pajamas, I think that this article should help:
      If you choose to put another layer on at night, another sleep sack in a larger size would likely be a good option! I hope that sleep smooths out soon, and no more hurdles! Hang in there Amy, and let us know if you need more help!

    • @Lara I am glad to hear that you have found this article helpful! Thank you for the feedback 🙂

  6. My infant son slept in a short sleeve onsie and a muslin sleep sack from Aden and Anais. We don’t have air conditioning and the natural fibers and lightweight worked great for regulating his temp without over heating.

    I’ve been contemplating what to put him in now that the weather is cooling down. Thanks for this post!

    • Hi Tammy,
      Those muslin sleep sacks are so wonderful for hot weather! I’m glad you found something that worked for you, and also to hear that our article was helpful for you as we move into the winter. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Hi Hannah, thanks for your comment! We love the Zipadees – so many of the families we work with find transitioning out of the swaddle a lot easier with something like the Zipadee. Thanks for reading!

Comments are closed.

FREE Guide: Five Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night

Join over 450,000 parents around the world & sign up today to receive the guide and our Baby Sleep Newsletter absolutely FREE!