Many parents consider sleep sacks to be the answer to a prayer. Sleep sacks are the perfect alternative to baby blankets, which actually pose a risk to babies at a time when they are particularly vulnerable—when they are alone and unsupervised while mom and dad are trying to get some much-needed rest.
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In fact, this is where the idea for sleep sacks came from. One parent, and the original inventor of the sleep sack, tragically lost his daughter to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and was determined to prevent other parents from suffering the same fate. The sleep sack became the solution that many parents were looking for: a safe way to keep your baby cozy and warm at night.
Sleep Sacks— Key Considerations
Material | Since their invention, sleep sacks of all kinds have been manufactured. One way in which they vary is in their material. The most common fabrics used for sleep sacks are cotton, fleece or microfleece, microfiber, and polyester, but the more you are willing to spend, the more options you have. However, the type of fabric you need mostly depends on the climate the sleep sack will be used in. As expected, cotton or microfiber would be best for summer nights, and fleece blends would be best for winter nights. You may want to consider owning a couple of sleep sacks, one for each situation.
Either way, it is important to keep in mind that sleep sacks are intended to replace a blanket, not pajamas, so consider the fact that this will be a layer on top of clothing. You may also want to look into other options such as organic materials and materials free of toxins. Of course, the goal is to ensure that your baby is comfortable and won’t become too hot or too cold while sleeping.
Design | Another way that sleep sacks vary is in their design. Experienced caregivers view sleep sacks as a great way to help babies transition out of traditional swaddling, and as a result, there are several designs that are meant to address each level of development. For very young babies, there are sleep sacks with “wings” that provide partial swaddling. As babies grow older, there are designs that allow for more movement, and for toddlers, there are designs that have openings for feet. Generally, the most common design is more fitted in the chest area but allows for limited movement in the lower body. This design fosters babies’ natural tendency to kick their feet but doesn’t give enough mobility for them to climb out of the crib, for example.
Two other design considerations to be aware of are sleeves and zippers. Many sleep sacks are sleeveless and give the baby more freedom, some have sleeves for warmth, and others are designed to keep the baby’s arms inside the sack. The best option depends on your baby’s sleep habits and the temperature in which they are sleeping. On a related note, zippers should always end near the baby’s feet so that it is harder for them to reach and unzip themselves. The other advantage to this is that proper zipper placement can make diaper changes a dream instead of a nightmare.
Safety| As mentioned earlier, the most important feature of a sleep sack is that your baby is safe while wearing it. For several years, doctors have advised parents to keep cribs free of blankets and ensure that your baby sleeps on his or her back to prevent SIDS. Sleep sacks address these points by replacing blankets and limiting a baby’s ability to flip over onto their stomach. When wearing a sleep sack, a baby still gets the soothing comfort and warmth of a blanket without the risk. The limited mobility also prevents babies from standing in the crib or climbing out of it. Finally, the wearable design of a sleep sack ensures that your baby’s face won’t become covered, keeping airways clear.
Size| Despite the loose-fitting design, sleep sacks come in several sizes, usually measured in months. This is especially crucial to consider because a sleep sack that is too large can pose many of the same risks a blanket does. On the other hand, a sleep sack that is too small contradicts the mobility a sleep sack is meant to provide. So, like baby clothes, you will have to size up over time. There are, however, certain sleep sacks that are adjustable to account for your baby’s growth, which could save you from having to purchase more of them. Usually those sleep sacks have shoulder straps that can be fixed at certain intervals.
What Are the Top Six Sleep Sacks?
Here is a summary of the top six sleep sacks, each offering a unique combination of desirable features. All of these products are highly rated, and parent tested.
What Should You Use A Sleep Sack With Your Baby?
Safety is the number 1 reason to use a sleep sack with your baby, but there are several other advantages as well. To put it simply, sleep sacks make parenting easier. First, they ensure that your baby stays warm and cozy all night or during naps, which also keeps your baby asleep longer. And, when your baby sleeps longer, you get the necessary break or sleep that you need—no more waking up when their blanket falls off.
Additionally, sleep sacks can grow with your baby. As mentioned earlier, sleep sacks are the perfect tool for transitioning your baby out of swaddling. Plus, when babies grow into toddlers, they tend to kick their blankets off, and sleep sacks prevent that. And, if you want to save some money, there are adjustable sleep sacks that can adapt to all of your baby’s stages.
Lastly, sleep sacks are perfect for travel. At a time when you have enough belongings to carry, one less droppable item can be a big help. Whether you are traveling by air, train, car, or boat, and no matter where you are going, your baby can get the comfortable sleep he or she is used to at home without a loose blanket that could get lost or tangled in stroller wheels.
Sleep Sacks— Final Thoughts
Although the invention of the sleep sack came out of an unthinkable tragedy, the good that the product has done cannot be discounted. There is no doubt that sleep sacks can make parenting much easier and less stressful. With all of the sleep sacks on the market, there is one (or several!) that can meet the needs of you and your baby. Switch out the baby blanket and replace it with a safer, more convenient option… doctor’s orders!