Friday, 7 October 2011

The ideal temperature for a baby's room - learning to trust my instincts

The weather is cold and we've put the heating on for an hour and put the baby to bed in warm pyjamas and a sleeping bag. The temperature egg says it's too hot (anything over 20 degrees and it goes orange for too hot) but my own senses say otherwise. 

And it's made me realise how far we've come since those snowy days when we brought our baby home and we slavishly followed the temperature egg. In part this was due to my confidence being sapped in hospital by midwives taking it in turns to tell me to remove a blanket because my baby was too hot and to add a blanket because she was too cold, and in part because the frequent cot death warnings you see everywhere when you are a new parent warning you not to let your baby overheat. These messages are so alarming that you end up following them to such an extent you drive yourself quite mad - you're not meant to let your baby wear a hat indoors for example, so I'd remove it every time we went into a shop, waking her up in the process, and wake her again putting it on as we left each shop. 

In fact I think in those early days when the baby didn't want to be put down in her basket, it was probably nothing to do with her wanting to be held and largely to do with being too cold, and our determination to make temperature egg yellow thus indicating the ideal room temperature of 16-20 degrees. (There's a big difference, it turns out, between 16 degrees and 20 degrees. 16 degrees feels very cold, 20 degrees is just about comfortable.)

Once we tweaked the window opening and the central heating for ages trying to get a yellow egg only for a community midwife to come round and tell us the house was too cold. That's because we've just got up and not warmed downstairs up yet, we said, and upstairs the egg is yellow, we promise. But she told us sternly it was too cold, before reminding us not to let the baby wear a hat inside. 

When it is too cold (below 16 degrees) the egg turns blue. When it is too hot (over 24 degrees) the egg turns red. And it is true that on the rare occasions the egg has been either of these the house has felt too cold or too hot. But this winter I am going to have a new rule. When it feels hot I shall add a blanket and when it feels cold I shall take one off, and the egg will be no more than a pretty nightlight. See how far we've come. 

Gro-Egg Room Thermometer


  1. Ha, was considering a blog post on this but didn't dare! we are so on the same page...I am convinced that slavishly following our nursery thermometer makes the room too cold. From now on I too am trusting my instincts. If it feels comfortable tempwise to me, I am sure it's fine for H.

  2. God yes! We have ended up calling ours the 'f... you egg' because it inconstantly telling us the house is too hot, so I ended up shouting 'f... You egg' at it. Mine is still at 22, but if it thinks I am opening the window, it's got another think coming. Bloody stupid thing.

  3. Just read this, even though it's an old post. Is SUCH a sensitive subject for me because me and my other half feel the heat quite strongly and HATE to be too hot. We always have windows open and are always too hot in other people's houses. When the midwife came round after Clem was born, she remarked on how fresh the air was and how nice it was not to be in an overheated house. I asked her about the temperature thing and she said, simply, "your baby will soon let you know if it's too cold but not if it's too hot". I have clung on to this ever since. And our baby seems to be quite happy in our (by other people's standards) Arctic house.