Keeping your baby comfortable while they sleep can be a challenge. With all of the different options available to parents, from sleepwear to swaddling blankets, you may wonder how to best dress baby for bed so they stay safe and sleep soundly. For example, if their pajamas don't have feet to keep their tiny tootsies warm, should babies wear socks to sleep? The answer, like so many other things related to the wonderful world of parenting, is a resounding "maybe."
If you ever actually want unsolicited baby advice, all you have to do is take your baby pretty much anywhere with bare feet. If you do, I can assure you someone will inevitably tell you to get some socks for your little one. It's natural to worry about a baby getting cold, and according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), it's important to monitor your baby's temperature because "infants are sensitive to extremes in temperature and cannot regulate their body temperatures well."
However, before you put socks (or anything else, for that matter) on your baby to sleep, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you gauge how the temperature in the room feels to you, first. According to heathychildren.org, a good rule to follow for baby sleepwear is to dress your baby in one more layer than you need to feel comfortable. So, if your feet are freezing, baby might just need socks (or footie pajamas or a wearable blanket) to feel comfortable enough to enjoy a decent night's sleep.
While you — and let's face it, strangers in the grocery store — might worry about your baby getting cold without socks at sleep time, a bigger worry is actually your baby getting too warm. This is especially the case while they sleep, because ,according to the NICHD, overheating increases their risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). To help keep your baby safe, the NICHD recommends that the room temperature for baby's sleep space be set to a comfortable temperature for you, the parent, and that you continuously monitor your baby for signs of overheating, such as feeling hot to the touch.
But what do experts have to say about the so-called "smart" socks that claim to monitor your baby's vitals and give parents peace of mind? Doctors currently caution parents against relying on these products. According to an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association, there's no proof that they work, they can cause unnecessary worry, lost sleep, lead to unnecessary trips to the hospital, and they aren't regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The bottom line is as follows: if you are cold and you're worried that your baby might be, too, go ahead and cover their tootsies with socks for sleep time. Who knows? You might just discover the answer another important question about baby socks: how the heck do you keep them on their feet? Seriously.