In the search for safe and stylish baby clothing options suitable for sleep, many parents opt for baby sleep sacks in lieu of swaddle blankets.
But if you’re new to the world of baby clothing and swaddle transition products, you’ll probably be wondering whether this is the right choice for you and your little one.
In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the baby sleep sack, including what it is, how it works, and why you should consider it as part of your baby’s wardrobe.
Key Baby Clothing Terminology Explained
One of the first hurdles parents face when buying clothes for their babies to sleep in is understanding what the different product names actually mean. Below is a quick reference you can use when shopping online for baby sleep clothes.
Baby Sleep Sacks
A bag-like garment that your baby can wear over their rompers for extra warmth and comfort during sleep. It also helps to support the transition away from the swaddle, offering more freedom of movement, especially in the arms and hips.
Baby sleeping bags
A favourite for newborns, swaddles are sometimes a premade clothing garment with straps or attachments, but swaddle is also the general term used to describe the technique used for wrapping a baby in a blanket.
The burrito wrap
A practical base layer that will cover the top half of your baby, with either short or long sleeves.
Similar to the romper, but usually comes with short or long sleeve leg sections.
Swaddle Transition Products
A term used for baby clothing products that are specially designed to benefit children while they are transitioning away from the swaddle.
Baby sleep sacks
Baby sleeping bags
Typically loose fitting clothing items reserved for older children who are independent sleepers, allowing for maximum mobility.
As you can see, there is plenty of crossover between different baby clothing options, so it’s completely understandable if you’ve ever been confused by what to choose for your little one.
If you want to learn more about baby clothing terminology and how to buy the best baby clothes online, check out our: Ultimate Guide to Buying Baby Clothes Online.
Types of Baby Sleep Sacks
Now that we’ve hopefully helped you narrow down your focus a little, it’s time to explain what the different types of baby sleep sacks are. Again, these items can vary considerably depending on the brand and there is some crossover between different products, but some of the most common types are:
- Full body sacks - these baby sleep sacks will cover the whole of the baby’s body (apart from their head of course!). Like our own Zipadee-Zip garments, they will simultaneously cover the baby’s limbs, while still giving them more upper body mobility.
- Arms-out baby sleep sacks - as babies often like to have their arms free, and as arm mobility is an important safety factor for sleeping babies, which enables them to have more control over their sleeping position, there are many arms-out style baby sleep sacks on the market. They often look like a baby sleeping bag with two holes cut out for each arm.
- Baby sleep sacks with sleeves - similar to the above, but with long sleeves that offer additional warmth, these baby sleep sacks are popular for winter months.
For advice on choosing the right clothes for the right season, age, or baby preference, take a look at our blog: What Should My Baby Wear to Sleep? — The Right Products for the Right Time.
What to Look for When Buying Baby Sleep Sacks
When searching in your favourite stores online or in person, you may be drawn to certain products because of their designs or colors. While this is fine, below is a list of important things to keep in mind when searching for the perfect baby sleep sack.
It Fits Properly
Parents instinctively look for clothes that are slightly bigger to allow for growth, but baby sleeping bags should fit perfectly as soon as you buy them otherwise they could be unsafe to use. A sleeping bag that is too big may allow your child to slip down inside it potentially covering their face.
There is such a thing as ‘too hot’ for babies, just like for adults. You may want to offer them all the warmth and coziness you can afford, but be careful this does not come at the expense of their ability to regulate their own temperature, which could lead to overheating.
It’s Temperature Appropriate
Look for breathable materials when buying baby sleep sacks such as cotton or synthetic blends designed for purpose. If it’s winter or you’re worried about your child being too cold, consider adding layers underneath the sleep sack rather than placing any items on top.
It’s Machine Washable
Make sure items of clothing are easy to clean, and where possible, opt for darker clothing options that won’t highlight stains or spillages. You’ll also want to make sure the item doesn’t shrink when placed in the wash or dryer, which could make the garment too tight for your child and potentially unsafe.
Comfort is sometimes hard to judge, but one of the best ways to get a sense of how comfortable sleeping bags actually are is to read testimonials and reviews from other parents. These sources should help you to avoid any products that might be particularly uncomfortable, itchy, or ill-fitting.
The Benefits of Baby Sleep Sacks
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents keep blankets, toys, and other objects out of the crib for the first 12 months, to limit the risk of suffocation and of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Also, they state that swaddling should be discontinued when a child starts to develop the ability to flip and roll over.
As such, baby sleep slacks offer a way to provide both comfort and warmth to substitute the need for any blankets you might be tempted to use, as well as offer a womb-like experience that encourages better sleep.
Using the sleep sack as a swaddle transition tool can prove useful for avoiding the dangers of swaddling for too long, as well as offering your little one a safe, cozy, and incredibly stylish baby clothing option they can enjoy during their infancy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents keep blankets, toys, and other objects out of the crib for the first 12 months.
Key Benefits of Baby Sleep Sacks
- Experts recommend it: Baby Sleep Sacks reduce the chance of the Moro reflex kicking in due to babies being startled
- They help your child to progress from the swaddle stage when they start rolling over but still crave womb-like restrictive comfort
- They reduce the amount you need to wash bed sheets as your child will be enclosed inside the sleeping bag
- They prevent your child getting tangled up in blankets and sheets
- They help babies retain a steady temperature
- They stop babies kicking off their swaddles and other covers, preventing them from getting cold at night
- Your baby can enjoy greater movement of their limbs
Baby sleep sacks can help your child to progress from the swaddle stage when they start rolling over.
Our very own Zipadee-Zip is designed to promote many of the key benefits of the baby sleep sack, while also adding a few unique design features to foster greater movement and comfort.
For example, babies who might still be experiencing their moro reflex at night, causing them to jolt awake, will be able to enjoy the sensation of enclosure as they stretch out their limbs and feel the edges of the clothing garment.
The star-shaped pointed sleeves and star-fish design also allow babies to move around freely while still enjoying the cozy sensation babies enjoy so much in the swaddle.
If you want to get a better sense of how the Zipadee-Zip works, and what parents think about it, take a look at our testimonials!
Final Tips for Using Baby Sleep Sacks for Better Sleep
To enhance sleep opportunities for your child (and yourself) it’s best to pair high quality baby sleeping products like baby sleep sacks with a few best practices for healthy sleep.
- Use a firm surface with no dips or gaps between the mattress and the cot.
- Always place your baby on their back to sleep.
- Share a room with your child for the first six months.
- Don’t bring your baby into bed with you to sleep, and avoid letting them sleep unattended on sofas, bean bags, armchairs or anywhere else other than their cot.
- Keep objects (toys, stuffed animals, etc.) and loose bedding out of your little one’s sleep space.
Choosing baby clothing for the first time might seem confusing or daunting, but as long as you follow the general principles of safe sleep and baby health, you’ll be just fine!