Sleeping Bags & Swaddles Explained. Which is Best?

Sleeping Bags & Swaddles Explained. Which is Best?

Ah, the sweet serenity of a peacefully sleeping baby. As we embark on the journey of parenthood, ensuring our little ones have a good and safe sleep, soon becomes a top priority.

In the cosy realm of bedtime, the debate between blankets and sleep bags often arises. Let's unravel the reasons why these adorable baby sleep sacks are not just a trend, but a practical and safer choice for your precious bundle of joy.

Contents:

  1. What is a Baby Sleeping Bag?
  2. To Swaddle or Not to Swaddle
  3. Sleep Bag vs Swaddle
  4. What to Look For in Baby Sleep Bags
  5. Let's Talk Togs
  6. Hot vs Cold: The Do's and Don'ts

 babies in sleep bags

What is a Baby Sleeping Bag?

A baby sleep bag is a cosy wearable pouch designed to maintain your baby's optimal temperature during naps and throughout the night. This specially crafted bag covers your baby's body, leaving their head, neck, and arms uncovered for both comfort and safety.

Essentially, it's like a wearable blanket to keep your baby at the right temperature, allowing for a more comfortable and better night's sleep

A well-fitted sleeping bag is among the safest bedding options for your baby. With the right size, your little one can move freely, and properly sized neck and armholes ensure that the baby won't wriggle out. Because we know, once they start wiggling they just can't stop!

Are sleeping bags safe for newborns?

In short the answer is yes. It is perfectly safe to put a newborn in a sleep bag. So long as it fits well around their head and shoulders to ensure there is no risk of them sliding down. 

In fact, they actually help prevent SIDS as they stop baby from wriggling around and going under blankets and bedding. 

If you'd prefer to, you can skip the swaddling stage altogether and go straight to sleeping bags. Swaddling isn't for everyone and sleep bags have their own benefits. You can still achieve a cosy, wrapped up feeling, without having to worry about the blanket unfolding. 

To Swaddle or Not to Swaddle

Swaddling a baby is the traditional practise of wrapping your baby in thin soft blanket that mimics the feeling of the womb.

Swaddling is typically done by wrapping a blanket around the baby's body, leaving the head exposed. The goal is to create a tight but comfortable wrap that keeps the baby's arms and legs securely contained.

Many parents find that swaddling can help calm a fussy baby and promote better sleep by preventing the baby's startle reflex from waking them up. However, it's important to note that swaddling should be done carefully to avoid overheating or restricting the baby's hip movement.

swaddled baby

Sleep Bag vs Swaddle

There are many pros and cons to both methods and I am here to break it down for you:

Sleeping Bag Advantages

  • Super easy to use and convenient
  • Make night time nappy changes easier
  • Come with different togs depending on temperature
  • Freedom for baby to kick and wiggle
  • Great for the safety of you baby
  • Helps baby sleep comfortably and peacefully
  • Comes in handy when your baby starts to roll over

Sleeping Bag Disadvantages

  • Need to ensure you use the right tog dependant on temperature
  • Can sometimes be difficult as your baby gets older

Swaddle Advantages

  • Can soothe baby as it mimics the womb
  • Reduces risk of scratching themselves
  • Helps prevent startle reflex

Swaddle Disadvantages

  • May contribute to hip dysplasia if swaddled too tight
  • Could interfere with the natural development of a baby's motor skills
  • Risks of rolling over
  • Can increase the risk of overheating
  • May take time to learn to swaddle efficiently and effectively 

two babies in baby sleep bags

What to Look for in Baby Sleep Bags

There are all sorts of factors to consider when choosing your sleeping bag for baby. From size to material, safety to style, the options are endless. Let's delve into the right one for you!

Size

Always look at the size guide when purchasing your sleeping bag for babies. As a general rule, take your babies age and select accordingly. Often starting at newborn sleeping bags, they usually go up to around 36 months.

Material

When selecting a sleep bag material, consider the current season, the temperature of the baby's sleep environment, and any specific preferences you may have. We recommend a bamboo sleep bag to sure ultimate comfort and breathability. Bamboo is also hypoallergenic and temperature regulating.

Safety

To ensure the safety of a baby sleep bag, choose the appropriate size with snug neck and arm openings to prevent suffocation risks. Check for secure zippers, with hazard-free designs, and ensure you are using the correct tog dependant on temperature.

Style

We're not saying it needs to be stylish, it's more about the design of it instead. Consider looking at sleep bags for babies with a two-way zipper (yes they exist!) and press stud straps. This allows easy access to your little one as they wake.

Tog

Opt for sleep bags made from breathable fabrics, considering the tog rating for temperature regulation. You will need a thinner tog of around 0.5 - 1.0 in summer, but potentially a cosier tog of 3.5 in the cooler months. A good general tog is about 2.5.

 close up of baby sleep bag

Let's Talk Togs

First things first, the higher the tog, the thicker the sleep bag will be. It's good to monitor the temperature of the room your baby is sleeping in to determine which tog will be best. Although using your initiative is good too (mama's instinct right?). 

The ideal temperature for a baby to sleep in is between 16°C - 20°C with babies under 12 months being a little more vulnerable to overheating. 

When selecting the right tog sleep bag, think about the time of year. A good general tog is about 2.5, however this may change depending on the seasons. That's why it is good to have a few different tog sleeping bags just in case.

 baby sleep bag tog guide

Your baby's clothing will also vary depending on the temperature too. With bamboo fabric their temperature will regulate naturally, however it's good to dress them accordingly so like goldilocks preferences, they're 'just right'.

Hot vs Cold: The Do's and Don'ts 

Feeling Hot Hot Hot

In warmer weather, dress your baby in lightweight, breathable clothing. One layer is usually enough so remove layers where necessary, and consider using a short-sleeved onesie. Look at using a thin sleep sack with a low tog rating of around 0.5 - 1.0 to provide a sense of security, without overheating. Avoid blankets and heavy layers, and keep the room well-ventilated. Ensure the baby's sleeping area is free from direct sunlight.

As Cold As Ice

In colder weather, it's time to layer up! Start with a onesie or vest as a base layer, add a long-sleeved baby grow, and top with a sleeping bag. Opt for sleep bags with higher tog ratings of 2.5 - 3.5 to provide additional warmth. Keep the room a  comfortable temperature, around 20 - 22°C, and avoid using heavy quilts or loose blankets. Regularly check the baby's neck to ensure they are not too hot or too cold.

baby asleep in sleeping bag

And there you have it! The ultimate breakdown of how to dress your baby ready for a perfect night's sleep of sweet dreams and counting sheep.

Remember to go for the right size, pick breathable fabrics, and make sure you choose the right tog for the right temperature. Whether your little one runs hot or cold, there's a sleep bag for every little one.

Here's to a snug and happy bedtime for your tiny snoozer! 

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