What’s the first question a new mum gets when she’s out and about…?
“How much sleep are you getting?”
Every time! And the reason? Well, unfortunately sleep is the first thing to go out the window when you’ve had a baby. You knew that already though, didn’t you?
Fear not sleep deprived mothers… there are ways to help the cheeky little monkeys sleep a little better. A well chosen sleeping bag can eliminate some of the reasons your baby might wake.
So let’s learn a bit more about sleeping bags, shall we?
Why are they so jolly good?
Even the tiniest baby moves around in their sleep, meaning blankets slip down, leaving them cold and more prone to waking frequently. In a sleeping bag they stay cosy and covered all night long. They’re easy to use and fast to pop your baby into – so they’re ready for bed in a jiffy.
Uh huh, so what else do I need to know?
It all started with the traditional sleeveless sleeping bag appearing for sale about 10 years ago. Honestly, how our mothers ever survived without these things is beyond me! Super easy to use, and warm, they’re also a great sleep cue for baby. One of the best reasons for using bags rather than sheets and blankets is that it becomes familiar, and babies thrive on routine! Snuggled up in their bag and placed in bed means it’s time for bed. No ifs, buts or maybes. In design, different bags can vary in fabric and fastenings but generally they’re sleeveless and sized from 4 months – 12 months and around 12 months to 2 years.
So what warmth do I choose and what on earth is a ‘tog’?
Ok, bear with me. It seems a bit confusing but really it’s a doddle. Many of the sleeping bags you’ll see for sale use the European tog rating system. From around 0.5 (lightweight) to 3.5 (heavier weight) the tog rating refers to the weight of the bag and correlates with the temperature of the room the baby sleeps in.
But not all bags use a tog rating – some just recommend a room temperature range for the weight of the bag, so look for that when you’re purchasing, remembering it’s optimal to keep the nursery at around 16-20 degrees. Simple.
What’s the go with those newborn swaddles that sort of look like sleeping bags?
In recent years, a combination of the swaddle and a sleeping bag has appeared on the baby market. And they’re GENIUS. They are made of stretchy, breathable material and provide the security that a traditional swaddle would, but unlike the old type swaddle, they stay put – so baby sleeps more soundly. They usually zip up the middle and baby is snugly inside (like a little pea in a pod). Arms facing up (like the Love to Dream Swaddles shown below) is how most babies like to sleep and is safer when they start to roll. (See below for a bit more about the safety side of things…)
Sleeping Bag Top Tips:
- You’ll get the most wear out of a mid weight bag as you can use it in spring as is, then in summer when you’re using aircon and the room is cool.
- Sleeping bags are great for travelling. Throw the sleeping bag in the suitcase and the baby bedding is sorted.
- Sleeveless is best as it’s safer for air to circulate allowing babies to cool down if they’re starting to overheat. You shouldn’t worry that your baby’s arms and hands will get cold. As long as their chest and core area are warm that’s ok. And you can add long sleeves under when the weather is cooler.
- Think about buying at least two bags in the same warmth as they’ll need to be washed frequently and while one’s in the wash you use the other.
- I am a huge fan of Merino Kids sleeping bags and have used them for both my munchkins. I have two of both sizes (newborn – 2 years and 2 to 4 years) and they still look brand new. Bit pricier but value for money? Absolutely.
Are sleeping bags safe?
Yes. The new generation swaddle bags with ‘arms up’ means that if a smaller baby rolls over in the night they can use their arms to assist them in pushing up and turning their head to the side. And a traditional bag in the correct size with a well-fitted neck and armholes ensures that baby can’t slip in or out. Choosing the correct warmth rating will ensure they can sleep safely at a constant temperature throughout the night.
Always remember to follow the Sids Safe Sleeping Guidelines for sleeping your baby.
What Fabric to choose:
Choose easy to wash, breathable natural fabrics like cotton or merino.
What other features should I look for?
- Look for how the bag fastens. Some fasten down the front meaning you have to slip two arms into holes. I prefer the shoulder opening as it’s easy to pop one arm into the bag and bring the other shoulder over to fasten. (a lesson learned from a determined, wriggly baby who made it hard work to get two arms in!)
- Look for domes that can shorten the bag when the baby is smaller – so you double up the bottom. Plus domes in the arm holes that make them smaller and a better fit when your baby is younger.
- Some of the swaddle bags have a double zip so you can keep the baby in the bag and unzip the bottom for an easy and quick nappy change in the night.
- Most bags have a flap or opening for a car seat buckle. So if you’re out and about you can use it for the trip home, buckling the baby in wearing the bag and then transfer straight to bed.
Other sleeping bags you might like:
These Inventa bags from Love to Dream are clever in that they have zipped vents for cooling baby down. So if they’re still snoozing but the room temperature is rising unzip a vent. Grobag has a huge range of designs (I especially love the pretty girlie ones), plus a great reputation for quality and a whole lot of other clever products for mums and dads. Take a look at the Limited edition fun stripy bags from Love to Dream, and their other variations on the original swaddle.
Have you bought sleeping bags for your littlie? Which one is your favourite?