Learn when to transition your baby out of bodysuits and into two-piece pajamas
Onesies. You know you love them. Those one piece outfits that your baby wears almost every day. No shirts coming untucked, no need to plan more than one item of clothing, and an extra one packs up small in case of a blowout. Onesies are truly the most versatile baby clothing item but, you may be wondering when a baby should transition out of them and start wearing typical two piece outfits and pajamas.
Just like most opinions with babies, there is no perfect solution but, let’s try to answer a few common questions, specifically, when does my baby stop wearing one piece pajamas to bed? My name is Elizabeth King and, as the founder of Sleep Baby Consulting, I have a bit of experience with babies and what works best for sleepwear at every age. I’m also from the southern USA where we dress our babies in smocked john-johns, bubbles, and rompers day and night. (These outfits are also highly controversial, parents love them or hate them, but that’s a debate for a different blog post.) So let’s jump into this tantalizing textile twister.
Why one piece? Where did they come from and why are onesies so popular? First off, the word onesie can refer to both the “legless” bodysuits that babies often wear as well as the long sleeved footed pajamas that babies and toddlers wear to bed. Would you believe that Winston Churchill is credited with increasing the popularity of this item of clothing? He is! During WWII Churchill was famous for his “siren suits.” He was rocking a romper for convenience and protection and lots of others jumped on the idea. In addition, American Whitley Denton popularized the “blanket sleeper,” which was essentially a baby sized long underwear suit, in the late 1800s. Later on, in the1950’s Walter Artz revolutionized the outfit when he added snaps to make diaper changes easier. And how easy they are! Convenience is likely the reason why most parents choose onesies for their babies during the first several years of life. There is nothing like clothing that is easy to put on, fast for diaper changes, and can easily be stripped off for a quick outfit change. Although, I’d recommend staying away from any with buttons. So cute, but insanely difficult to actually use.
So do you switch away from onesies when your baby is out of diapers? Can a toddler wear a onesie to bed? How is a parent to know? Personally, I think footed pajamas are the cutest item of baby clothing out there. Seriously. Send me an email and challenge that. I’ve got 485 pictures of my kids to prove it. As a mom, I also think that it’s one of the things that makes my babies look like babies and I keep them in onesie pjs as long as I possibly can. Nowadays you can send your child to college in footed pajamas so you know what we are doing in my house.
In all seriousness though, remember that your baby is not sleeping under any covers. As an adult, you might not need full length pajamas but you also have sheets and blankets on your bed which is not safe for babies. For a baby, onesie pajamas plus a swaddle or sleep sack is a recipe for cozy, safe sleep. Toddlers might have a blanket or quilt on their bed but, if you’ve ever seen one sleeping, you know they usually don’t keep it on their body. Onesie pajamas to the rescue again! Your baby’s room should be kept between 68-72 degrees and, in my experience, we often have the temperature set too cold for a little one. What is comfortable for an adult in a soft bed with blankets and pillows may not match what your child needs. If your baby is sleeping in a different room than you, grab a thermometer to test out the nighttime temperature in their sleeping space. It often varies room to room.
Whether you love onesies for their cuteness, convenience, or comfort, there comes a day when it’s time to switch to regular two-piece pajamas. It ages your child at least 2 years in one night. Trust me. But, the time still comes. How do you know the time is right? I think clothing designers usually make the decision for us. The selection of onesies for your child’s size gets smaller and smaller and you’ll start seeing more two piece pajamas and outfits. The day you see a cute set that grabs your attention - you’re ready my friend! These pjs do make it easier for your child to use the bathroom unassisted and creating that independence can be a good thing! They also are easier for kids to put on themselves so if you’re working on the skill of your child dressing themself, that might be a signal that the end of onesies is near. The good news is that, in the grand scheme of parenting, this is a pretty minor decision. Choose what feels best for your family and soak up the cuteness of a baby or toddler clean from the bath and ready for bed. Don’t stress about what they are wearing.
Unless they have tiny buttons. Learn from my mistakes and avoid at all costs.
Elizabeth King is the founder of Sleep Baby Consulting, a baby and toddler sleep coaching firm based in Charlotte, NC. Sleep Baby has a team of consultants who work with families worldwide teaching their little ones strong, independent sleep habits as they grow. Consultations are done virtually and in person. Join the thousands of Sleep Baby Graduates whose babies are sleeping soundly by visiting our website and following us on Instagram for daily sleep tips!