In the south, it feels like every day is a brand new season sometimes. Last week, we had a snowstorm and it got down to the 20s. Today, it’s in the 60s. It’s always hard to determine what to do with the thermostat — especially during the milder temperature seasons like spring and fall, which we do get sometimes. Not only is it a pain for my husband and I to try to get comfortable, but now we are going to have to worry about another little human once they arrive since I'm pregnant. What is the perfect nursery temperature? My husband and I are fine to play the "let’s see how long we can take it before we turn on the heat game," but we really don’t want to do that once our baby is here.
Thankfully, babies are pretty resilient, despite all the attention they require from their parents, according to pediatrician Jarret Patton. However, “If the ambient temperature were completely under your control, keeping the temperature around 70 to 72 degrees [Fahrenheit] year round would be nice. The temperature itself is arbitrary and the infant gets used to its surroundings,” Patton explains.
According to The Baby Sleep Site, overheating in newborns increases the risk of SIDS, and using a fan can decrease the risk of SIDS by 72 percent. According to Parents, “the optimal temperature for infant sleep is between 65 to 70 degrees.” Much like most people, your baby sleeps better when he or she is a little cooler. The Baby Sleep Site also noted the “perfect temperature” will vary, depending on how many blankets you use and what is considered a comfortable temperature for you and your family. “Keep in mind that your child won’t learn to keep a cover on all night until past 18 to 24 months,” the website noted.
The most important thing to remember is to make sure your baby is clothed appropriately for the temperature, especially if the heat or air conditioner breaks and you’re stuck in extreme temperatures, Patton says. “If the temperature dips below 65 degrees, make sure your baby has more layers on. Conversely, if the temperature is above 80, make sure the baby is not over-bundled and is drinking well.”
It may seem like common sense, but what are some telltale signs that your baby is uncomfortable with the current temperature in the nursery? “You may notice your baby seems irritable or sweats if they are too hot. If they are too cold, they may seem overly sleepy and their hands and feet will feel cold to the touch,” Patton says. You can also touch the back of your baby’s neck and their abdomen to check body temperature, as extremities tend to be cooler than the rest of the body.
There really is no "perfect" temperature for your baby's nursery, as long as your baby is dressed appropriately. Babies are pretty resilient, and typically get used to their surroundings. Getting a fan is probably a good idea, as it's always good to have air circulating and to make sure it doesn't get too stuffy in there. And remember, the cooler the temperature, the more likely your baby will sleep better and hopefully through the night. One could hope, right? If only it were as simple as turning on a ceiling fan to get your baby to sleep through the night. If you're worried, look for signs of being too hot — like sweating — or signs of being too cold, like your baby's abdomen or neck being cold. I'm sure they'll let you know somehow if they're really uncomfortable, since crying and fussing are what babies do best.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.