The Tired Parent’s Guide to Dressing Baby for Sleep

As a parent, the need for sleep and caffeinated beverages (and wine) go hand in hand. After you’ve already spent an entire day alternating between nurturing a little one and hopefully tackling your endless to-do list, it’s somehow already time to put your baby to sleep. The clock strikes 7:30PM and strategies on how you’re going to get your baby to sleep tonight start entering and taking over your mind.

Is it too early for bed now? -- will they wake up at 5AM, 6AM, or 7AM?

If I wait an hour, will they wake up an hour later?

Can I skip bath time tonight?

Do I really have to read a short book tonight? I basically have Goodnight Moon memorized.

What if I do one of those infant massages I saw on TikTok, will they sleep longer?

Should I use baby oil or lotion? Does it matter? Are they really that different?

Will they be too hot in this outfit? Too cold?

Suffice it to say, the last thing you want to worry about is what to grab out of your drawer to wear to sleep. For parents who are tired AF, here’s a quick guide on dressing your baby for sleep.

For Newborns to 6-Months

If your little human is less than 6 months of age, chances are they are sleeping 3-6 hour stretches in the middle of the night. You might find yourself feeding them, changing a poopy diaper and rocking them to bed. For babies where access to their ultra soft derrieres is critical, opt for a sleeping gown so you’re not finagling with buttons and zippers in the middle of the night. Minimal stimulation is critical for making late-night feedings and diaper changes as quick as possible. There are all sorts of sleeping gowns available on the market. Beware of knotted sleep gowns that look ultra cute in photos, but do you really want to be untying a knot in the middle of the night? We love the Cubbiekit changeable nightsuit that’s part nightgown and part playsuit with foldable hand mittens to prevent baby from scratching up their soft little cheeks in the middle of the night. If your baby hasn’t rolled over yet, continue to swaddle them (it’s a blessing) over their nightsuit.

The changeable nightsuit from Cubbiekit doubles as a daytime playsuit and nightgown, $28

For 6-Months to 12-Months

Once you hit that glorious milestone and coveted period of your baby’s life where they’re finally sleeping through the night (or at least 5 hour stretches), the next pro-tip is to keep them warm enough at night without a swaddle or a blanket for them to get tangled up in. You’re likely dealing with a squirming and somewhat mobile baby at bedtime, so ease and speed are still top priorities. Opt for sleepsuits with a single zipper instead of (any kind of) buttons so you’re not aligning buttons as their (innocently) rapidly and furiously kicking back at you as you’re changing them. We love a two-way zipper for unexpected night time diaper changes.

two-way zipper playsuit romper baby sleep pajama
Parade Snuggle Soft Melange '2-Way' Zipper Romper doubles as a daytime playsuit, $22

For the parents that forgot to do laundry

Remember, you don’t actually “need” separate pajamas or night suits for your baby. What you really need is to dress them for the temperature they are sleeping in. For cold weather, that means long-sleeve bodysuits and pants to keep their bodies warm. For hot summer nights with limited AC, that means lightweight short-sleeve bodysuits and skip the pants. If your baby is comfortable and sleeping, there’s no reason they can’t sleep in anything ultra soft and breathable for bedtime. Organic cotton is both soft and sustainable and is also produced without synthetic chemicals that can irritate newborn skin, which makes it the perfect breathable material for babies with sensitive skin.

The All Year Round Cubbiekit, $90 with a subscription
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