New parents can find all the rules about baby care very daunting. There’s the way your parents did it, there’s the way the internet says you should do it and then there are the mountains of tips coming in from all your friends.
The many do’s and don’ts include the age-old question: should babies wear socks to bed?
The best answer is YES! Letting your baby wear socks to bed will help your little one sleep more comfortably as well as regulate body temperature. The rule is to choose socks that are comfortable and safe. It’s crucial to keep an eye on the baby to make sure they don’t overheat or become uncomfortable.
- Recommendations by Health Officials
- Should Babies Wear Socks During the Night?
- Should Babies Wear Socks During Daytime Naps?
- Do babies need socks in the summer?
- Should a Newborn Wear Socks to Bed?
- Should an Infant (for ex. one-year-old) Wear Socks to Bed?
- Should a Toddler Wear Socks to Bed?
- Alternatives to Socks for Babies for Sleeping?
- Tips on How to Keep Socks on for a Baby
- Final Thoughts
Recommendations by Health Officials
For parents who don’t place much stock in the varying opinions of others, you might want to check what the experts are saying. Pediatricians have two basic rules when it comes to babies wearing socks during sleep time.
Monitor the Room and Baby’s Temperature
Ideally, your baby’s nursery should be warm enough to maintain a safe sleeping environment. The recommended temperature is 68° to 72°F (20° to 22.2°C).
Check the baby’s temperature as well to ensure your baby isn’t already warm enough. A baby’s body temperature should average around 99°F (37.2°C). Putting socks on a warm baby in a hot room will result in the baby overheating.
Rule of Thumb for Dressing Your Baby
When you’re dressing your baby, the general rule of thumb (also according to the American Academy of Pediatrics) is to dress your baby in one more layer than you’re wearing. This will ensure the baby is adequately warm in the same environment.
Avoid choking hazard
Some parents have shown some concern over socks being a choking hazard. While it’s very unlikely that baby’s will actually choke on socks, some manufacturers have recalled products for this concern.
In 2019 a Minnesota company recalled their baby socks as a result of small rattles sewn into the socks. Any socks with small embellishments like bows, toys, or ribbons can present a risk.
Sleep sack in winter
During the winter it’s a good idea to put your baby in a sleep sack since it’s a safe way to keep your baby warm without risking overheating. If you’re cold enough to need socks, then your little one will need socks too! Read on to find out what to do in the summer.
Should Babies Wear Socks During the Night?
It’s perfectly normal and safe for babies to wear socks at night. For babies that struggle to fall asleep, a pair of warm socks is often the best solution to encourage sleep. Have a nice warm bath followed by pre-warmed socks as part of their bedtime clothing routine (which is also what I do). Including socks from the very beginning will avoid unnecessary fuss and discomfort later on.
Should Babies Wear Socks During Daytime Naps?
If you thought the sock dilemma only applies to nighttime sleeping, think again. Some babies find it difficult to take their daytime naps if they aren’t feeling as snug and comfortable as they do at night.
Pre-warmed socks can be used to encourage sleep during the day as well. This might be helpful for babies who don’t fall asleep easily and spend most of their nap time fussing. Since it’s warmer during the day, it’s important to check the room temperature. A good idea here would be to get thinner cotton socks for the daytime naps when the temperature is warmer.
After the nap, take off the socks if it’s a warm day.
Pediatricians often suggest that infants spend as much time as possible barefoot. Walking barefoot helps little ones develop muscles and ligaments in their foot’s arch.
Do babies need socks in the summer?
Babies don’t really need socks in the summer. Depending on the area you live in, higher temperatures will cause the baby to sweat and feel uncomfortable. Feel your baby’s feet and if they’re cold, you can put socks on.
Should a Newborn Wear Socks to Bed?
With newborns, the rules should be “simple is safest”. With this in mind, you can still add socks to the mix. Remember, you want your little one to be warm. Baby’s feet are often colder than adults‘ because their circulation is poor at first. They also don’t move their feet around enough to keep circulation going enough to maintain warmer body heat.
What Type of Socks is Best for a Newborn for Sleeping?
Stick to cotton socks. While woolen socks might look cute and snug, they can cause the baby to get too warm too quickly. The cute booties you got during your baby shower can be used during the day or when your little one goes out.
How Many Socks Does a Newborn Need?
There’s a lot of work that goes with babies. That includes an increase in laundry. And, since little ones change clothes so often, it’s very possible to run out of clean socks. I wrote an article on how many baby or toddler socks you need a while ago and in it, I suggested a good number of socks to have, which varies from 8 to 12 pairs. Colder months might require as many as 15 pairs.
Should an Infant (for ex. one-year-old) Wear Socks to Bed?
If your feet are cold, your little ones are probably also in need of socks. With infants, you have the advantage of footie pajamas, onesies, and even wearable blankets to keep their feet warm enough to have a peaceful night’s sleep.
What Type of Socks Are Best for an Infant for Sleeping?
Infants can wear non-slip socks or socks with grippers on. These types of socks are perfect for wearing when the little one is learning to walk. They can also be worn when they’re sleeping.
How Many Socks Does an Infant Need?
Your baby is usually considered an infant up to the age of one. Since most babies that age aren’t running around taking their shoes off every few minutes, you still have some control over their socks.
On average, an infant can easily get by with about 8 pairs of socks. You can add more if your laundry days are further apart. Be sure to check sizes though, as this is the time when little feet start growing like crazy!
Should a Toddler Wear Socks to Bed?
Toddlers, like babies and infants, can wear socks to bed if it helps them feel more comfortable. An advantage toddlers have over babies is that most toddlers will tell you if they feel like wearing a pair of socks.
They might also take them off if they feel annoyed by them. As with toddlers, the overheating rules remain the same. You might find it challenging to keep the fluffy woolen socks off your little one’s feet if they’ve made up their mind to put them on! A tip from me here: keep the extra warm wooly of fluffy socks out of reach!
What Type of Socks is Best for a Toddler for Sleeping?
The best type of night-time socks for your toddler should be breathable and possibly made from organic materials. Options include cotton and natural fibers such as cashmere or merino wool. Remember to ensure the socks aren’t too tight. They should fit comfortably.
How Many Socks Does a Toddler Need?
The biggest difference between babies and toddlers is mobility. Essentially, toddlers are babies on the move, meaning they’ll go through a whole lot more socks. Toddlers will also find a way to get their shoes off and have no qualms about running through mud, food, and juice.
I wrote a complete article on how many socks babies or toddlers need. To summarize, you should have nothing less than 20 pairs of socks for a toddler!
Alternatives to Socks for Babies for Sleeping?
Enter the world of smart socks
If you’d prefer not to put traditional cotton socks on your baby for sleeping, there’s an alternative you can consider. Have you ever heard of smart socks?
Owlet’s smart sock is a nifty invention. It’s a health monitor that can easily track your little one’s oxygen level and heart rate while they’re asleep. It also determines their sleeping patterns, giving you a clearer understanding of what works best for your baby at night. I’ve compared Owlet with some other popular monitors.
The little sock easily wraps around your baby’s foot and provides you with the information you need to keep your paranoia at bay. Simply preset “safe” settings and you’ll get a notification when the baby’s readings differ from the safe settings. It’s a great way to keep you from hovering over the crib all night!
Sometimes babies don’t want to have socks on their feet. Try as you may, your baby will fuss till you take them off. So, what alternatives are there for keeping your little one’s feet warm if they don’t want to wear socks?
Let’s consider a few different options:
- Blanket: Place a blanket over the foot end of the crib. Be sure to place the blanket in such a way that the baby feels warm, but not constricted.
- Sleep sacks: Placing the baby in a sleeping sack at night will also help keep their feet warm without constricting their feet.
- Footed pants: One of the easiest alternatives to loose socks is to dress your little one in footed pants. This is also a great alternative for babies whose socks are also constantly coming off.
Here’s a short clip showing you to teach your little one to put their own socks on without any frustration!
Tips on How to Keep Socks on for a Baby
Knowing if babies need socks is not enough. You also need to keep them on. Let me share some pointers from my personal battle with the missing socks.
Babies’ feet grow about four sizes in the first year. You might be tempted to buy socks in all shapes and sizes to be ready. The biggest secret to keeping socks on is to ensure they’re the right size. Most socks are lost due to friction with the blankets. So, the right size is key. As a guideline, a baby aged 0-3 months usually wears a 0-4 sock size. Babies aged 3-12 months usually wear socks size 4-5.5.
Longer gowns that gather at the bottom will not only keep the baby’s feet warm but will prevent socks from rubbing against the blankets. An option to consider here is the Gerber Baby 4-Pack Gown. These little gowns are made from soft cotton rib material and are machine washable. Perfect for keeping little legs warm and snug!
Commonly referred to as footed pants, footies make an excellent way to keep your baby’s feet warm. A type that I commonly use with my little girl is the OGAKAGO Newborn Infant Baby Cotton Footed Pants. With these cute little pants, the baby’s feet and legs are always warm. A high waist ensures the belly stays warm too. A huge plus is there are no loose socks!
There are booties that your little one can wear over their socks at night. Avoid the fluffy types that might cause overheating. Simple booties with velcro will do the trick. The Zutano Organic Cotton Baby Booties are an ideal option here. They feature a snap closure that keeps them on the baby’s feet!
I hope my article has provided you with the clarity you need around this question. As long as you abide by the basic rules of monitoring the baby and room temperature, and use breathable cotton or organic socks, your baby will always be comfortable.
The good news is, that socks don’t need to create any stress or frustration in you or your little one’s daily routines. Take the stress out of keeping your little one’s feet warm.
And if you want to find out how many socks your baby or toddler needs, I wrote a separate article on it here.