Ever since sleep sacks (like zipped up sleeping bags without arms) hit the market, new parents have wanted to know whether they are safe and whether they should use one instead of a blanket for their baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics is currently advising parents to stop swaddling at eight weeks of age or once the baby shows signs of rolling over. Due to the many risks of SIDS, blankets should not be in the crib because of the potential hazard they may cause for suffocation. To answer your question about whether sleep sacks are safer, the answer depends on your preference.
Will your baby be using layers?
During the winter months when temperatures drop significantly or during the hottest summer months when the air conditioning has to be turned on high, layering baby for bedtime sleep is a must. This is where preferences play a part. Will you be layering baby in onesies and jammies? Or would you feel more comfortable using a sleep sack to keep baby warm? Some parents feel more comfortable knowing their baby is zipped up in a sleep sack because they don’t need to layer baby as much. Since the sack is basically a blanket, it keeps baby comfy, cozy and warm inside.
Will the transition be hard?
If you plan on transitioning your baby from a swaddle to a sleep sack, you need to get them into the habit early. While still in a swaddle, train baby to sleep with one arm out. Once they are comfortable for a couple of nights, try it with both arms out. When they reach a point when they are comfortable, you can try putting them in their first sleeveless sleep sack. Sleeveless sleep sacks are the safest so be sure to put baby in a long sleeve onesie before putting them down for the night to keep their arms warm. This may take some time and patience so it’s all about what you feel comfortable with.
Which sleep sack should you get?
As previously mentioned, sleeveless sleep sacks are the best because they allow your baby to move from an uncomfortable position. By having sleeves, you run into the risk of having your baby so constrained that they won’t be able to move from a harmful position. Another concern with sleeves is that they may cause overheating. If you’re not sure which brand has great reviews and is popular among moms, Ergobaby sleep sacks are a great brand to start with. They have a variety of patterns and colors as well as different fabric weights.
If you’re comfortable with your baby sleeping in a sleep sack, baby will be too. It’s going to be a new concept for the both of you so make sure to be patient as you both take some getting used to it. However, you should always take cues from your baby. If you’ve given it some time and baby doesn’t seem to like it, by all means, don’t try to force it. Although babies are too young to tell you if they like something, you’ll be able to tell by the way they react to it. If you see them react negatively toward the sleep sack, it may be best to find another solution to keep them warm during bedtime.