Swaddle Blankets or Baby Sleeping Bags? Everything You Need to Know
Baby Sleeping Bags, often referred to as ‘Pouches’, come in different sizes, materials, and designs.
As with other baby bedding items, many parents buy two or three to use on rotation. This ensures there’s always a sleeping bag to hand while another is in the wash. More importantly, having different tog options ensures you can keep your baby at a comfortable temperature throughout the year.
An ideal solution to baby bedtimes, baby sleeping bags are one of the more convenient pieces of sleepwear available to you and your baby.
What is a baby sleeping bag?
A baby sleeping bag is a wearable pouch that keeps your baby at a comfortable temperature during naptimes, and throughout the night. The sleeping bag is designed to cover your baby’s entire body besides their head, neck, and arms for comfort and safety.
Whilst using a baby sleeping bag you must not use a duvet, blanket, or pillow, and your baby's head must remain safely uncovered.
When should I use a baby sleeping bag?
Baby sleeping bags are generally used from birth to 36 months. Parents may use sleeping bags from an early age to help maintain a consistent and comfortable temperature for their little one during the night.
Sleeping bags can also help newborns feel safe and cocooned, while allowing them the freedom to wriggle about without being restricted or tangled up in a blanket.
It is vital to always choose a baby sleeping bag suitable for your baby’s age and weight. Not all newborn sleeping bags are suitable from birth depending on your baby’s weight, so make sure to always check. They typically come in three sizes: 0-6 months, 6-18 months and 18-36 months, though exact sizes will vary between brands.
The neck holes should not be so big that your baby’s head could slip down inside the bag, but should be a comfortable size.
When picking your tog, understand that the higher the tog, the thicker the material and lining of your baby’s sleeping bag will be. Choosing the right tog for your baby very much depends on the climate you live in and the time of year. For this reason, it’s handy to have a few different tog sleeping bags in varying sizes that you can cycle throughout the year.
● 2.5 Tog is ideal for use year-round for temperatures anywhere between 16-20 degrees (61-68F)
● 1.0 Tog is recommended for warm summer temperatures between 21-23 degrees C (69-74F)
● 0.5 Tog is what you’ll need for when temperatures really start to soar, from around 24-27 degrees C (75-81F)
What are the benefits of using a baby sleeping bag?
Sleeping bags offer a convenient solution to baby bedtimes, and SnuzPouch even more so thanks to its handy nappy-change zip. Making changes during the night quick and easy, putting your little one down for the night in a SnuzPouch means less disturbance for them, and an all-around more snug night’s sleep.
So in summary, what are the benefits of baby sleeping bags?
● They will ensure your baby stays at a constant temperature and will not overheat
● Your baby can move around in the bag, and kick their legs
● They are easy to use, and if you need to feed your baby, you will not need to take them out of their sleeping bag
● No additional covers are required and your baby will not get tangled up in them, as is often the case with traditional blankets and sheets
●They promote peaceful sleep and your baby will associate their sleeping bag with a restful night’s sleep, making them great for travelling
How to swaddle a baby
As with all baby sleep practices, it’s important to ensure you’re using the correct and safe technique when swaddling to avoid any risks. See our visual guide below, as well as our safety tips and instructions.
● Be sure to only swaddle your baby using thin, breathable materials.
● Only swaddle using one blanket at a time.
● Never swaddle your baby above their shoulders. Your baby’s neck and head should not be covered
● You must put your baby to sleep on their back. Never put a swaddled or unswaddled newborn to sleep on their front or side
● Monitor your baby’s temperature to ensure they don’t get too warm or cold.
● Stop swaddling before your baby starts to roll over.
● Do not swaddle too tightly or too loosely.
● Do not swaddle your baby at every sleep or nap time.
● Ensure you follow a hip friendly swaddling technique, ensuring both legs are bent up and out. It is important to leave room for the hips to move.
What are the benefits of swaddling a baby?
Swaddling is thought to recreate the secure feeling newborns felt in the womb, and is believed to help your little one transition more easily into their fourth trimester.
Often people say swaddling seems to help calm their little one, helping them settle more easily and sleep for longer. However, there is very little official research to support these theories. It’s also thought that swaddling prevents unnecessary wake-ups caused by a baby’s startle reflex. Swaddling also prevents babies from scratching their face, helping to prevent skin irritation during the night.
Medical opinion on whether swaddling is a good or bad practice is divided. So, if you’re considering swaddling your baby, make sure you always follow safe swaddling guidelines to protect your little one. Swaddling your baby can carry some risks, and is potentially unsafe if your baby is not swaddled properly. There’s also a risk of your baby overheating if they are wrapped in too many blankets, in covers that are too heavy or thick, or if they’re wrapped too tightly.
Types of swaddle blanket
Traditional swaddling blankets: These are large, thin blankets that you wrap baby up in like a little burrito. They can be used for other things post swaddling, like muslins and burp cloths, but there’s definitely a “how do you do this?” learning curve!
Swaddling sacks and pouches: Easier to navigate for new parents, these tend to come with things like Velcro, snaps, and zippers to help you get that snug swaddle.
So, which is better?
Ultimately, whether you choose to swaddle your baby, put them down in a sleeping bag, or both - it’s all personal preference.
Swaddling is a more traditional sleep aid method, but one that still divides medical opinion. The main limitation with swaddling is that it can only be done while baby is a newborn, with most people typically stopping after 3-4 months for safety reasons once their baby learns to roll over.
Swaddling and baby sleeping bags can be used interchangeably, however, sleeping bags can see your little one through until 36 months, offering more long-term cosiness and consistency.
Whether you decide to swaddle or use baby sleeping bags for your little one’s bedtimes, make sure that you follow sleep safety guidelines.