As a parent you don’t need anyone to tell you how important sleep is – both for you and your baby!
When your baby is asleep in their crib or bassinet you will want to keep them warm, comfortable and most importantly safe.
Sleep sacks are an ideal choice because they help ensure your baby is the right temperature and provide plenty of freedom to move around, while eliminating the need for loose blankets, which pose a suffocation risk.
But are sleep sacks safe for newborns?
What TOG rating should you use and how many sleep sacks do you really need?
And should you consider weighted baby sleep sacks?
Let’s take a look.
What Is A Sleep Sack?
A sleep sack (also know as a sleep bag or wearable blanket) is a wearable blanket designed to keep your baby a comfortable temperature during sleep.
Sleep sacks keep your baby’s torso, legs and feet within the sack, even if your baby moves around their crib.
Sleep sacks are normally made from cotton and are safest when sleeveless, which we’ll cover in more detail shortly.
Sleep sacks have zippers and snaps to make it easy to get your baby dressed for bed, and for making diaper changes as easy as possible, especially in a dark room.
Are Sleep Sacks Safe For Babies?
Yes, sleep sacks are perfectly safe for babies, provided the fit is correct.
How Should A Sleep Sack Fit?
When it comes to fit, the most important thing is to ensure the fabric of the sleep sack cannot go over your baby’s head.
So you don’t want it to be too loose around the neck or arm holes.
In addition, you should opt for a sleeveless sleep sack rather than one with sleeves.
Because a sleep sack that covers your baby’s arms may have a lot of excess fabric.
This excess fabric could make it difficult for your baby to move freely, so if your baby becomes trapped on their front, the excess arm fabric could stop them moving freely, increasing the risk of suffocation.
Are Sleep Sacks Safe For Newborns?
Sleep sacks are a safe way to ensure your baby is comfortable and safe when sleeping.
So you’ll probably wondering if a sleep sack is safe for your newborn baby.
Fortunately yes, sleep sacks are as safe as swaddles for newborn babies, provided the fit is correct.
As mentioned, you should ensure the fabric cannot go over your baby’s head, and opt for a sleeveless sack.
Most sleep sack manufacturers make it easy to find the right fit by providing sizing information based on your baby’s age, weight and height.
Do Sleep Sacks Help Prevent SIDS?
Putting your baby to sleep using loose blankets increases the risk of SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
The advantage of a sleep sack is that it’s a safer alternative to a loose blanket because it eliminates the risk of suffocation.
Do Babies Sleep Better With Sleep Sacks?
The great thing about using a sleep sack is that it helps build a consistent sleep routine.
By dressing your baby in a sleep sack before every nap or night time sleep, your baby will come to associate the bag with sleep and this should help with the transition from awake to sleep time and from sleeping in your arms to independent sleeping.
Are Sleep Sacks Safe For Babies Who Can Roll Over?
Yes, sleep sacks are safe for babies who can roll over.
The correct size sleep sack will allow your baby to move freely without the risk of being trapped or having fabric cover their head.
Again, provided their arms and hips are free to move, there are no issues with using sleep sacks for babies who can roll over.
Do Sleep Sacks Hinder Development?
Some parents may be concerned whether a sleep sack hinders a child’s development.
Provided your baby is sleeping in a sack that allows for plenty of hip movement, there are no issues with hindering their development.
Are Weighted Sleep Sacks Safe?
There is conflicting advice about the safety of weighted sleep sacks.
The advantage of a weighted sleep sack is that is may help a baby sleep better because it recreates the feeling of being “held” and feeling secure.
However, many experts believe weighted sleep sacks may inhibit breathing, especially in younger babies.
It is recommended to never use a sleep sack that weighs more than 10% of your baby’s body weight, but for extra piece of mind you should check with you pediatrician before using a weighted sack.
When Should You Stop Using A Sleep Sack?
With all their benefits, you’re probably going to want to use sleep sacks for as long as possible.
But when should you stop using a sleep sack?
There is no one size fits all as to when to stop using a sleep sack.
Your baby’s size (height and weight) are more important than their age when deciding to transition from a sleep sack to a blanket.
As a general rule, most babies can use sleep sacks until around the age of 2.
However, some babies continue to use sacks for longer.
If your baby moves around a lot in their sleep then you may want to stay with a sleep sack for longer.
This is because unlike a blanket, a sack will stay in place and keep your baby warm however much they move in their crib.
How Many Sleep Sacks Do I Need?
Because sleep sacks are designed to be roomy around the torso and legs, you should get months of use out of a sack before your baby outgrows it.
The temperature variance in your baby’s room between seasons will also determine how many sacks you need.
The more the temperature varies, the more you will need to have sacks with different TOG ratings.
Dressing you baby for sleep in summer can be quite different to dressing your baby for sleep in winter.
As a minimum you will need 2 sleep sacks, but many parents find they need 3 to 6 sacks, depending on their baby’s yearly room temperature variance, how often they do laundry, whether or not they have a dryer, and the need for any extras because of pee leakages or diaper blowouts.
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