What do newborns sleep in?

What do newborns sleep in?

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One of the many questions we have at the beginning of our parenting journey!

  • Is she warm enough?
  • How many layers do I put on him?
  • Do I put the heater on?
  • Is a fan ok to use?
  • What the freak is a swaddle?
  • How the hell do I use it?

On and on the questions go!

Buckle up Mums and Dads, we are only just getting started!

So, before we go much further, let’s get some of the very important Safe Sleep chat covered. 

Research shows there is a clear link between overheating and an increased risk of SIDS, so we’ve listed a few recommendations for keeping this risk low:

  • Keep the head and face clear of clothing and bedding, not only does this prevent suffocation, it also ensures your baby can regulate their temperature.
  • Make sure clothing and bedding (swaddles, wraps, sleeping bags) are fitted and below the neck, sitting on the shoulders. Your baby wriggles, so all of the above needs to be firmly in place (not tight!)
  • If the hands or feet are cool to touch, don’t freak out! This is not an indicator of core body temperature. Touch the back of the neck or stomach – not too hot, not too cold, we want comfortable warmth! 
  • If the room is warm, especially in the summer months, turn on an oscillating fan! Just make sure the flow of air is not directly on baby. An oscillating fan has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS too.
  • If baby is sweating or has flushed and clammy skin this is a red flag! Remove some layers and offer fluids e.g. breastmilk or formula.
  • Dress baby for the room temperature, overnight we recommending dressing baby for the overnight expected low. 
  • Whenever dressing your baby, always consider other factors such as illness, cooling/heating and whether your baby is a naturally warm or cool sleeper.

There is SO much to know about Safe Sleep so I strongly urge you to check out Red Nose or Plunket NZ  

Right, get back to the initial question; What do newborns sleep in?

Well from a Sleep Specialist’s perspective we are aiming to give baby the best chance at restorative sleep. With this in mind, we absolutely recommend using a consistent type of sleepwear, for every sleep e.g. swaddle, sleep suit, sleeping bag. 

This is so your baby can begin to form independent sleep associations and sleep cues. Over time your baby will learn that as they are popped into their sleepwear, it is time for bed and they settle more calmly – the parenting dream! 

The reason we don’t recommend popping baby to sleep with just a singlet or nappy on, is that you run the chance of your little one fighting a sleeping bag/suit when Winter comes! Hello, wakeups on those cold nights! *been there, done that, got the postcard* 

Whichever type of bedding you use (our recommendations are below), always ensure the fabrics are natural e.g. cotton, muslin, bamboo. These fabrics will help your baby to regulate their temperature more easily. Fabrics such as fleece, polyester, nylon, spandex are all synthetic and are not recommended for babies and young children, sleepwear OR clothing.

While we don’t generally recommend using blankets, if you are, always ensure it is tucked in firmly across baby’s chest, no higher. Baby’s feet need to be at the bottom of the cot so when baby wriggles, they move up the cot and away from the blanket. Always use lightweight, breathable, natural blankets. 

What do we recommend for Newborns

  • Our go-to wrap is The Miracle Blanket which is super easy to use! Depending on the temperature of the room, you may dress baby is just a singlet/nappy or just a nappy, or add a couple of layers of clothing underneath 
  • You can also use any stretchy-style of wrap, as long as it’s at least 44×44 inches. This will give you enough fabric to get a good wrap on!
  • We recommend having arms-down or hands-to-heart when swaddling, it might take a few attempts to find what suits your baby best

Once your tot is rolling, it’s time to ditch the swaddle and move onto a sleeping bag or sleepsuit!

  • The Ergo Pouch Brand is a firm favourite in our family and amongst our clients! They include with each sleepsuit/bag a guide for dressing baby according to temperature – amazingggg! These bags are TOG rated (Thermal Overall Grade) which lets us know how insulated/warm the sleepwear is so you can purchase according to your climate. 
  • Love To Dream is also a great brand to check out! TOG-rated and organised into stages of development makes it super easy to figure out what your baby needs!  

What do they wear under?

  • We love Bonds Zippys, particularly the Wondercool range (approved by Red Nose) 
  • Target also has a great range of Zip-Up onesies too! From one mum to another, avoid the onesies with the domes – ain’t nobody got time for that in the middle of the night!! 

Last, but not least, let’s cover Sleep Surfaces! 

Again, I encourage you to check out the Safe Sleep Guidelines (links above) for more in-depth information!


  • Avoid baby loungers, yes, they are super cute and great for LOUNGING! But NOT for unsupervised sleeping
  • Do not use lamb’s wool or mattress toppers. 
  • Cot bumpers, pillows, head positioners, toys, positioning wedges –  no, no, no, no, no!
  • Remember sleeping in capsules, car seats, or prams for long periods of time can be unsafe due to the head being tilted forward, blocking the airway so supervise closely! Most capsules and car seats have a maximum length of time recommended.
  • Avoid sleeping baby on couches, chairs or other soft surfaces.


  • Use a cot or bassinet. Cots must meet the requirements of safety standard AS/NZS so research carefully. There are currently no bassinets that meet safety standards in Australia or New Zealand, so be aware of this when purchasing a bassinet. 
  • Cots and bassinets should have a firm, flat mattress fitted with no more than a 20mm gap between the mattress and side of the cot. 
  • Baby sleep on their back and in their own sleep space – as recommended in Safe Sleep Guidelines
  • A tight fitted mattress protector and a fitted sheet is all that is needed in the cot!

If you want more information on Newborn Sleep and how to begin laying the foundations for life-long restorative and happy sleep, check out Essential Newborn Sleep Guide!

Hey parents!

I’m Courtney, child-wrangler, sometimes parent-wrangler, sleep & behavioural specialist, and instigator of The Parenting Edit. And helping stressed and exhausted parents get their parenting swagger back? I live for it.

With a family-first approach, I take what you give me and work with it to get your family back to sleep. You’re guaranteed to feel supported and heard during our time together.

Let me know what you’re struggling with and let’s book you in!

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