Achieving your family sleep goals can be tricky and there are lots of products on the market that promise you they will help you achieve great sleep with your baby! Baby sleeping bags are one of those products that can actually do just that. Most parents dream of safe and peaceful sleep for their baby. It is possible to achieve this with the use of a baby sleeping bag. It is a super baby sleep tool but we are often confused regarding what it is, when it should be used and why we should use one!
This sleep tool is effectively a wearable blanket for your baby. Designs vary across brands but in the end your baby has a blanket style covering around its lets and upper torso that does not cover their head. It will either zip up the front or around the bottom and sides and clip at the top!
I recommend the use of a swaddle until approx 8-12 weeks. A swaddle is a wonderful sleep tool that keeps your baby nice and snug but also helps to combat their Moro reflex. This reflex happens with a baby when they are about to fall asleep. It looks like a startle and the baby feels like they are falling. This can of course disrupt their sleep and you will have to go through the settling process all over again!
Around 12 weeks (or 3 months) this reflex starts to fade out and this is the point that you should really start to look at transitioning to a baby sleeping bag. If however your baby is starting to show signs of rolling prior to 3 months I would advise that you make the move from swaddle to baby sleeping bag sooner. That is why I recommend using the swaddle to 8-12 weeks age range.
The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recommend no loose bedding or blankets in a baby’s sleep environment. Effectively the baby sleeping bag removes a possible SIDs risk associated with using loose blankets – even cellular ones.
Loose bedding can easily cover your baby’s face, resulting in suffocation or carbon dioxide re-breathing. The AAP guidelines are my holy grail when it comes to safe sleep so if they say no loose bedding I advise following their advice. Jurisdictions vary on this but their guidelines are very comprehensive and the ones I would advise following
Related Article: What is Safe Sleep?
Very often I find that parents are concerned about their baby being cold at night. A baby sleeping bag helps to tick that box of doubt. Effectively the wearable blanket stays with your baby as they move and the risk of them being kicked off or their lets getting cold is taken away.
There are different tog sleeping bags available across the brands so you can choose a weight that suits the weather that you are experiencing at that time.
I recommend using a 2.5 tog in winter and a 1 tog in summer! Bear in mind that I live in Ireland where the weather can be pretty grim all year round!
I find the use of a sleeping bag means that any tending to baby during the night is nice and settled. You are able to do everything while keeping them in their sleeping bag – even a nappy change! I do recommend however that if you baby requires changing at night you look to sleeping bags that zip at the bottom and up the side rather than up the front for easy access!
Keep them in their bag while feeding, settle them and snuggle them – then back into their sleep environment they go without any fuss.
Remember that consistency is key when it comes to helping a baby achieve your family sleep goals. By including a sleeping bag in their sleep routine you are including a stepping stone that they will recognise and will give them the signals that sleep is coming.
For all of the reasons listed above! They tick a huge safe sleep box. They keep help keep your baby at the right temperature. They aid in keeping night time tending nice and settled and they can form an important part of a bedtime routine.
With all of these important areas met your baby is less likely to fight sleep and sleep more comfortably and get closer to sleeping through the night or achieving your family sleep goals.
Erica Hargaden is a Child Sleep Consultant with her private practice Babogue. She is the creator of the video based online sleep program The Sleep Series which is now being used in 11 different countries. In recently years Erica has helped over 1,000 families achieve their sleep goals. To learn more about her services check out www.babogue.com or @babogue_sleep. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +353 86 8260887.