When your baby comes out of the womb they are entering a world that is big, wide, and scary. Swaddling is often used for newborns but after your baby is rolling over, swaddles are no longer safe. Baby sleep sacks are a great way to transition out of the swaddle.
What is the Difference Between a Swaddle and Sleep Sack?
Many parents start their newborn babies off in a swaddle. A swaddle is a tightly wrapped blanket or piece of fabric that is used to mimic how a baby felt in the womb- tightly surrounded and kept safe. It also helps to prevent babies from waking up due to their natural startle reflex which can happen while a baby is lying flat with their arms moving around.
However, babies shouldn't be kept in a swaddle for too long. You should start the transition out of a swaddle starting around 4 to 5 months into a sleep sack. There are a few reasons you should begin the transition around this time. The first reason, which may occur before 4 months, is that babies usually start to learn to roll over during this time. A baby should no longer be swaddled if they are able to roll over because if they roll over in their sleep, they will not be able to lift their faces from the mattress because their arms will be tucked into the swaddle. This may cause accidental suffocation.
Another reason a baby should start transitioning from the swaddle to a sleep sack around this age is because of the risk of hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is when the hip socket doesn't fully cover the ball portion of the upper thighbone. This allows the hip joint to become partially or completely dislocated. While in the womb, your baby's legs are kept at a slight bent allowing their hips to grow and develop properly. Some parents swaddle their babies too tightly, especially around their hips, causing them to develop improperly. Babies should transition to a sleep sack as soon as possible so as to prevent any hip dysplasia.
A sleep sack is often used as a transition piece between a swaddle and loose blankets. It is highly recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and pretty much all other health and wellness entities, that you should not have any loose articles in a baby's crib or sleep area until at least 18 months old. This is because many children before this age are not able to untangle themselves or remove blankets from their faces which may cause suffocation or strangulation. Sleep sacks are a wonderful way to keep your baby warm at night after they are out of a swaddle without using loose blankets.
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How to Transition Your Baby from a Swaddle to a Sleep Sack
Transitioning your baby from a swaddle to a sleep sack can be difficult- for both you and for them. If your baby isn't naturally "over" the use of a swaddle and still finds comfort in using it, it may be hard to transition them out of it. But oftentimes, the transition is necessary for their own safety.
The first thing to remember about transitioning your baby out of the swaddle and into a sleep sack is to have patience. Many children will still have their startle reflex, causing them to wake up more frequently when they finally have their arms free. It will be difficult for both the parents and the child as you will probably be getting less sleep than before.
One way to transition your baby from the swaddle to the sleep sack is to only swaddle one arm. Leaving one arm exposed allows your baby to get used to the startle reflex at a slower rate and also leaves one arm exposed so they can lift themselves up if they are to roll over. Another way to transition your baby out of the swaddle into a sleep sack is to use a sleep suit. A sleep suit is a large puffy suit that your baby wears that allows them to have access to their arms and hands but also slows the startle reflex so they are less likely to wake up.
No matter what, the transition from a swaddle to a sleep sack might be a difficult one. Just remember to be patient and comfort your little one when they wake with gentle pats, snuggles, or nursing to help them get through the transition process.
The Best Sleep Sacks to Keep Your Baby Asleep for Longer
SwaddleDesigns Cotton Muslin Sleeping Sack
This SwaddleDesigns Cotton Muslin Sleeping Sack is a lightweight, breathable open-weave cotton muslin wearable blanket that is perfect to help your little one snuggle up at night. It easily replaces loose blankets for a safer sleep environment. The handy two-way zipper makes nighttime diaper changes easier. The SwaddleDesigns Cotton Muslin Sleeping Sack comes in several different designs and colors to coordinate with your baby's nursery and your personal style. They have sizes ranging from small for 0 to 6 months old to large for baby's 12 months to 18 months old and up to 35 lbs so your baby can be kept safe while sleeping without the use of loose blankets as they grow older.
Nested Bean Zen Sack Classic
One of the most popular sleep sacks is the Nested Bean Zen Sack Classic. Using innovative technology, this sleep sack helps put your baby to sleep by providing a lightweight on the chest, mimicking a parent or caregiver's gentle touch on the baby to help soothe them. The lightweight pad is filled with non-toxic poly beads and was created with the help of physiology therapy standards to ensure that little ones are getting just the right amount of pressure to help them feel secure.
The Nested Bean Zen Sack Classic is made of 100% cotton and comes in several different sizes. The different sizes also have evenly distributed weight to mimic the pressure of a mother's, father's, or caregiver's hand. In the small size, made for babies 0 to 6 months old, and the medium size, made for babies 6 to 15 months old, the poly bead weights are contained in the little chick in the middle. In the large size, made for babies 15 to 24 months old, the weight is evenly disturbed across the babies chest.
Parents love the Nested Bean Zen Sack Classic and often report that their babies are sleeping longer between 1 to 3 nights after using the sleep sack.
TILLYOU Micro-Fleece Baby Sleep Sack
If you are looking for something for the winter months or a cooler climate, the TILLYOU Micro-Fleece Baby Sleep Sack is a great option. The 100% microfleece is super soft, cozy, and warm for cooler nights. It replaces loose blankets and gives parents peace of mind that their little one is safe and warm while they sleep.
The TILLYOU Micro-Fleece Baby Sleep Sack is oversized to make sure that it is roomy yet lightweight. It is great for babies who don't like to be swaddled or who like to kick around when they sleep, but it can't be kicked off like a regular blanket. The sleeveless design allows parents to decide which type of clothing they want their baby to wear underneath and the inverted zipper with a cover makes diaper changes easy and prevents the zipper from digging into your little one overnight.
The TILLYOU Micro-Fleece Baby Sleep Sack is also TOG 1 Certified to ensure that your baby will not overheat. It provides a light yet warm comfort that will keep your baby at just the right temperature. Not too hot and not too cold- the TILLYOU Micro-Fleece Baby Sleep Sack is the Goldilocks of wearable blankets.
Zole Baby Sleep Sack Transition Suit
Sometimes babies aren't quite ready to leave the swaddle but they need to transfer to something else that is safer because they have started to roll over. This Zole Baby Sleep Sack Transition Suit is a great option for little ones who are still working on their startle reflex but can't be left to sleep in a swaddle anymore for their own safety. The puffy suit helps settle a baby's startle reflex by limiting their movement while keeping them warm overnight.
This magic sleepsuit will keep your baby sleeping overnight without the use of the swaddle. The double zipper access makes diaper changes overnight super simple. It is cute, adorable, and your little one will look like the cutest little marshmallow sleeping in his or her bed.
KYTE BABY Sleep Sack
The KYTE BABY Sleep Sack is an eco-friendly wearable blanket that replaces loose blankets in your baby's crib. They are made with 97% rayon bamboo and 3% spandex for a comfortable, cool, and roomy design. Bamboo is naturally eco-friendly and super sustainable, even more so than organic cotton. It is also super soft, breathable, and cooling, making it a great option for your little one especially if they have sensitive skin.
The KYTE BABY Sleep Sack also helps to prevent good hip development because your little one isn't tightly wrapped in a swaddling blanket. This helps to prevent hip dysplasia and allows baby to keep his or her legs slightly bent just like they were in the womb. They also have a double zipper feature that zips down from the neck so that your little one doesn't become uncomfortable with the zipper on their chest overnight. They also have plenty of different designs and styles that are trendy and adorable, matching your personal style.
Hudson Baby Jersey Cotton Sleep Sack
The Hudson Baby Jersey Cotton Sleep Sack is made of 100% jersey cotton so it is lightweight, breathable, and comfortable for your baby in all different temperatures and climates. They come in a variety of colors and designs to make your nursery and personal style. It is machine washable with a bottom zipper enclosure. It is a safe, wearable blanket that is perfect for your little one when loose blankets aren't safe.
Parade Organics Kimono Gown
The Parade Organics Kimono Gown is specially designed for the eco-friendly parent in mind. It is made with 100% organic cotton and is super soft, even after several washes. The organic kimono gown makes overnight diaper changes for newborns incredibly easy. They are perfect to wear on their own or under a sleep sack for the youngest members of your family.
The Parade Organics Kimono Gown fits babies from newborn up to 6 months. The newborn to 3 months size fits babies up to 12 lbs, and the 3 to 6-month size fits babies from 12 lbs to 17 lbs. It is also free from dyes and make with nickel-free snaps, so it is safe for even the most sensitive of newborn skin.
The Parade Organics Kimono Gown is designed just for young babies. It has hand mitts to cover their hands to prevent scratching, and the kimono style makes diaper changes and changing clothing super simple as you don't have to pull anything over their heads. It is comfortable, soft, and perfect to wear as an alternative to a sleep sack for a newborn.
Marquebaby Organic Cotton Sleep Bag
This sweet Marquebaby Organic Cotton Sleep Bag will help your little one sleep while keeping them safe from loose blankets. It is made with 100% organic cotton and has a TOG rating of 0.5, meaning that it will help to regulate your baby's internal temperature without making them too hot or too cold. The zipper closure goes from the top to the bottom, making diaper changes easier and preventing the zipper from scratching their chin or chest.
The roomy design gives your little one enough space to kick and move around. The sleeveless design of the Marquebaby Organic Cotton Sleep Bag gives you the option of changing the under-clothing so your baby is comfortable, and ensures that it can't be kicked off and will keep your baby warm all night. There are several different colors, designs, and styles to choose from, too.
Parade Organics Winter Sleep Sack
The Parade Organics Winter Sleep Sack is made with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton making it soft and warm for your little one. But despite its name, it doesn't just have to be worn in the winter. This cozy sleep sack can be worn all year long to keep your baby cozy in their bed in place of loose blankets.
In addition to being made of 100% organic cotton, this sleep sack is also chemical and pesticide-free which means it is safe for baby's sensitive skin. They also have nickel-free snaps and zippers as well as AZO free dye designs that are hand-printed. The Parade Organics Winter Sleep Sack is a great option for your little one and for eco-conscious parents.
LALAME Organic Cotton Wearable Baby Blanket
The LALAME Organic Cotton Wearable Baby Blanket is made from 100% Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton. It is chemical and pesticide-free, as well as super soft and cozy for your little one. The fabric is breathable and cool yet cozy and warm, ensuring that your baby is not too cold and not too hot overnight. The premium baby sleeping blanket features adjustable snap buttons to adjust the length for kids ages 2 months to 36 months old, so you don't have to buy several different blankets for different ages and sizes.
The LALAME Organic Cotton Wearable Baby Blanket is also reversible so you can easily change the design depending on your personal style. It is a great option to have on hand for overnight sleeping that is safe and cozy.
Burt's Bees Baby Beekeepers Wearable Blanket
With every Burt's Bees Baby design you will find a few little bee designs floating around, but you will also be met with the confidence that the product is safe for your little one. The 100% organic cotton Burt's Bees Baby Beekeepers Wearable Blanket is carefully sized for your baby to move around freely while also keeping them cozy and warm. The zipper opens from the bottom up for easy diaper changes and with an added zipper cover to keep your little one safe from getting scratched.
The Burt's Bees Baby Beekeepers Wearable Blanket comes in a variety of colors and designs so you can pick your favorites for your sweet baby to wear while they rest.
Transitioning from a swaddle to a sleep sack can be a difficult transition for many babies, but it is important for their development as well as their safety to do so as soon as your baby can roll over. Sleep sacks are a safe way to keep your little one warm without the use of dangerous blankets while still giving them the cozy feeling they crave.
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