I’m gonna be real here: one of my favorite things in the whole world is a freshly bathed baby slathered in calming lavender baby lotion and stuffed into a pair of freshly laundered PJs. Cue the Sound of Music, “These are a few of my favorite things” lyrics. Is there anything better? Nope, which is why we’re here to share with you the BEST pajamas for babies and toddlers!
How Should I Dress My Baby to Sleep?
When Jack was born, I got SO fed up with baby pajamas. There are so many things that matter about pajamas—fire safety (we’re about to say a lot more about that), comfort, ease of getting baby in and out of pajamas, and something no one mentions—pajamas that don’t shrink in the dryer!!!!
Yes, safety with baby pajamas is a thing. No, I’m not kidding.
Safety is my NUMBER ONE priority with sleep, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I am hypervigilant about sleep safety.
The CDC reports that “there are about 3,500 sleep-related deaths among US babies this year,” and this number could be lessened through safe sleep practices, such as putting baby to sleep on her back and not using soft bedding or toys in baby’s sleep space.
I could write a whole other article about safe sleep practices (and maybe I should!), but for now, let’s talk about how to safely dress your baby for sleep.
Sleep.org, a resource created by the National Sleep Foundation, notes that Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) can happen until a child is a year old, but is the most dangerous in the first four months of baby’s life.
National Sleep Foundation gives several guidelines for keeping your infant safe while sleeping that are specific to pajamas alone!
- Don’t dress baby in loose clothing
- One piece pajamas with feet are a good choice for sleep
- Avoid clothing that can ride up near baby’s face
- Avoid anything with a hood
- Make sure your baby’s pajamas are fire retardant and snug-fitting
- Cotton clothing is good because it is breathable
Why are Baby Pajamas Snug?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, baby pajamas are snug because loose-fitting clothing can lead to suffocation.
You want to make sure your child’s pajamas are snug fitting and are not loose around the neck. The main thing to avoid is having pajamas ride up and cover the nose and mouth.
The other reason that pajamas made for babies are snug is because loose fitting pajamas are more likely to catch fire.
Legally, all pajamas made for babies and children age nine months to size fourteen must be flame retardant, but when they are snug fitting, this also decreases the risk of the pajamas catching fire.
Some parents want chemical-free pajamas for their babies (under age nine months), and we’ll certainly suggest some of these options. But be aware that chemical-free pajamas are not flame resistant, so if you choose this option, make sure baby’s pajamas are snug!
Obviously, you want your little one’s pajamas to be comfortable, whether they’re babies or toddlers. Part of the comfort equation is solved by materials–you want pajamas to be soft and breathable!
Also, avoid pajamas with anything sewn onto the front. People adore cute animals sewn onto baby shirts, but are they really comfy for baby’s sensitive skin? I’m guessing no, and I care far more about my baby sleeping than the cuteness of the pjs they’re sleeping in.
Ease of Use
Serious talk here, y’all. No buttons or snaps!!!!
Honestly, why do companies still make pajamas with 12 different snaps on them? Do they know what fresh hell it is trying to get those things to snap in the right place? And once your kid gets squirmy and grows into a toddler, you lose the possibility for getting that mess on at all.
You want zippers. Soft ones that tuck in at the top so they don’t scratch baby. But still, zippers!
I have seriously only found one brand of pajamas that doesn’t shrink in the dryer, and sadly, it’s only for babies, not toddlers. But I do know which ones shrink less than others, so I’ll make sure you know about those too!
Best Pajamas for Babies
Without further ado, here are some of our favorite pajamas for babies! I’m including links to products that I have personally used with Jack and products from companies I know and trust.
- Bond’s Wondersuit—Hands down, 100% my favorite baby jammies. Because they’re the only ones that don’t shrink in the dryer!!!! You buy them, they fit, and they continue to fit until baby truly grows out of them. Unlike Carter’s, who I love, but whose jammies shrink like nobody’s business.
- Pros: Comfortable, breathable, don’t shrink in dryer, zips BOTH directions for easier diaper changes
- Cons: No feet (but put on a sleep sack and baby will be fine), ships from Australia (only a con if you live across the world like I do)
- Solly baby sleep gowns—for newborns specifically, these gowns are adorable and amazing! Solly Baby makes the most comfortable babywear you could ever want, and the sleep gowns tie at the bottom, giving super easy access for diaper changes, as well as being adorably photographable.
- Pros: Super soft, practical, great for newborns, mittens
- Cons: A little pricey, but you don’t need many of them since they’re really for the newborn stage
- Kissy Kissy—These pajamas are the epitome of luxury, and the price tag reflects it, but I have to include them because they are THE SOFTEST PAJAMAS IN THE WORLD. I challenge you to find me softer ones. Please. They’re made of luxuriously soft and breathable Pima cotton. Perhaps the best part about this company is that it’s run by a doting grandmother! Roxana Castillo makes sure that Kissy Kissy’s products are worthy of her own grandchildren. What could be better than that?
- Pros: Super comfy, supports a grandmother, shrink minimally in dryer
- Cons: $$$, double check you buy zipper, not snaps
- Leveret—Leveret has pajamas for literally the whole family, including the dog! Yes, we put our dog in some of them for matching Christmas jammies this year. But I grew to love them long before I knew they offered matching sets (though, what could be more fun, really?) Their pajamas are really comfortable, only shrink minimally, and come in super cute styles. Also, they can grow with your kids–they get used to the pajamas, and then when they’re ready to switch from onesies to two-piece sets, they can stay in a brand they know and love. Another big win for this brand: cotton for summer; fleece for winter
- Pros: Comfortable, shrink minimally in dryer, grips on bottom of feet so kids can walk
- Cons: Only zip one direction
- Burt’s Bees—Soft, comfy, and cute, Burt’s Bees is a trusted name in baby care for a reason. Jack still wears their long sleeved and short sleeved pajamas as a toddler, and we love them. These pajamas are made from 100% cotton, so great for kids with polyester allergies. Their footed onesies have grips on the bottom to help baby walk, though the grips aren’t as good as the ones on Leveret. They do shrink in the dryer, though not as much as some pajamas, but probably more than any others on this list.
- Pros: Best comfort behind Kissy Kissy (for a much lower price), grip footies
- Cons: Shrink in the dryer
- Simple Joys by Carter’s Fleece—I know I said Carter’s pajamas shrink, and it’s true for their cotton ones. But for winter months when you need to keep baby warm, their fleece ones are super comfy and easy. Also, they just introduced a two-way zipper!
- Pros: Warm for winter, comfortably, easy-to-find, reasonably priced
- Cons: Winter only!
Best Sleep Sacks for Babies
And it drives me absolutely crazy because their pajamas would be great if my kid could wear them for more than a few weeks without them shrinking too much.
Another thing that makes this list unique is that we’re going to talk about sleep sacks. Because, quite frankly, how can you talk about the best baby pajamas and not cover sleep sacks? For this pre-blanket age, they’re a staple!
And one thing that’s also different–I don’t recommend Halo. I know it’s crazy, but we just didn’t care for them. Mostly, the zippers were unnecessarily difficult, and Jack seemed more comfortable in others.
Here are our favorites.
- Love to Dream Swaddle—Great for babies who like to have their arms up and break out of a swaddle from an early age. This was our saving grace with Jack when he was tiny! They also come where you can zip the arms off to transition baby out of having arms swaddles!
- Zipadee-Zip—As seen on Shark Tank, this swaddle is great for kids who want hands freer, or as a transition swaddle. What I LOVE about this company is that they have what you need for all ages. Sleeping Baby, the company that makes this swaddle, has the Zippy Swaddle for 0-3 months, the Zipadee-Zip for loosening arms, AND the flying squirrel, great for kids up to 5 years!
- Swaddle Designs Cozy Sacks—For baby who’s past the startle reflex stage and is ready for totally arms-free. (They do make a wrap version for younger babies who need arms restricted.) So soft, so comfy, zips both ways. Truth be told, I cried when Jack outgrew these.
Best Pajamas for Toddlers
Toddlers have their own unique set of pajama needs, and pajamas for toddlers also come in more styles. This is because toddlers have fewer safety restrictions and don’t necessarily need to be put to sleep in snug pajama suits.
Toddlers can roll over much more easily than infants, which means that snug pajamas aren’t a necessity, although we still like them.
You will also want to avoid snaps and one piece suits if you are potty training.
We switched to two-piece sets around age 2, and Jack seemed more comfortable. Though we did have to keep him in a sleep sack until he learned not to take his pants and diaper off!
As your toddler ages and you start potty training, you’ll want to have them in pajamas they can pull up and down.
- Skylar Luna—this adorable Amazon store is dedicated to using organic, Turkish cotton to create the softest pjs imaginable for your little dude or dudette. They’ve been featured in a host of media, like People Magazine, Vogue, and more. They do run a little small, so be sure you follow the size chart, but people love the softness of these organic cotton pajamas for kids!
- Leveret—Their signature striped pajamas are SO cute, I want to die every time Jack comes downstairs in their striped long johns. I just love the look, and they’re super comfy for him.
- Burt’s Bees—Tons of cute designs, and the high quality they’re known for in baby products. Burt’s Bees and Leveret are the two constants between Jack’s baby pajamas and his toddler ones. Now that he can show a preference, these seem to be his favorites.
- Moon and Back by Hanna Andersson—People love these pajamas for babies and toddlers. They’re organic cotton, super comfy, and oh-so-cute. They have everything from baby gowns and zip-up onesies to two-piece toddler sets, and even shorts. You can’t go wrong with this fan favorite!
- Peejamas—The ultimate potty training pajamas! This is a toddler option that we absolutely love, both because they’re hilarious, and out for practicality! Have a toddler who’s potty training? Peejamas should be your new JAM. Created as an alternative to nighttime diapers like Pull-ups, Peejamas are super absorbent and can easily handle nighttime accidents. They are incredibly eco-friendly and also come in a ton of cute styles that your toddler will love!
We hope you love this list of the best pajamas for babies and toddlers. We’ve given you a little bit of everything–the softest baby pajamas, our favorite warm footed pajamas for babies, and everything a toddler could need.
What do you think are the best pajamas for babies and toddlers?
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Katy Huie Harrison, PhD, is an author, mom, recurrent miscarriage survivor, & owner of Undefining Motherhood. She lives in Atlanta with her husband (affectionately known on the internet as “Husband,”) son (Jack), and dog (Charlotte). She believes our society puts too many expectations on women that make womanhood and motherhood restrictive. Her goal is to shift the paradigm about what it means to be a woman and mother, giving all women a greater sense of agency over their own lives. You can find Katy and her work featured in places like CNN’s Headline News, Romper, Scary Mommy, Demeter Press’s Motherhood and Social Exclusion, & more.