Safe Sleep Tips: The Sleep Sack

baby sleep sack - gift of sleep

If you’ve spent any time on my blog or my Facebook page, you’ll know that I’m a proponent of the sleep sack. And while you might find it strange to be talking about this as the summer heats up, but think about it—do you sleep without any covers? I didn’t think so. The sleep sack is a safe way to make your baby comfortable when they sleep.

Safe sleep guidelines

The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) provides safe sleep guidelines aimed at preventing injury or harm to infants. In addition to laying your little one down on their back for naps and bedtime, AAP recommends providing a firm surface for sleep, without any loose objects, bedding, or other articles; this is where a baby sleep sack comes into play.

Swaddle versus sleep sack

Not to be confused with a swaddle, a baby sleep sack is similar to a wearable sleeping bag for your little one. A swaddle—or baby burrito—wraps your baby, holding their arms in place and providing a reassuring pressure. Babies have a strong startle reflex, so loud noises can make them jump or flail their arms when sleeping.

While noise typically won’t wake a sleeping baby, the flailing arms will. Swaddles are excellent baby sleep and are generally safe for ages up to three months. Once your baby becomes mobile and begins rolling, it’s time to ditch the swaddle as they can quickly become entangled. In reality, swaddles are only useful for a short time. While swaddles help keep babies from waking as a result of reflexive movements, swaddles can cause mobile babies to awaken as they fight against the cloth restraints.

Sleep sacks are also known as wearable blankets. Instead of having loose bedding in your baby’s crib, their bedding is worn, allowing movement of arms and legs. And, when the sack is the correct size, it keeps your infant safe from suffocation.

Wearable blanket styles

Much like the difference between cotton sheets and flannel or microfleece sheets, baby sleep sacks come in a range of materials to suit the time of year and temperature in the home. Remember, babies are safest when their sleeping environment is cool, which is why wearable blankets come in handy.

You can buy sleep sacks in fabrics ranging from linen to cotton and fleece. Wearable blankets are typically sleeveless, focusing on keeping your little one’s core and legs warm, and keeping their head and arms uncovered.

But what about sleep training toddlers? Sleep sacks come in a full range of sizes, up into and through the toddler years. Wearable blankets for toddlers are outfitted with foot holes, enabling them to move around without trapping their legs.

If you’ve tried swaddling your baby and it’s not helping soothe your little one, call me. I’ve helped many Philadelphia area families develop sleep routines for infants through preschoolers. Call me today for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation.

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