Why Babies Need Sleep Sacks — and Blankies, Too!

Swaddled in a Halo

Swaddled in a Halo

Blanket or sleep sack? What’s your fancy?

Most Smallnest parents (45.2%) use sleep sacks, rather than blankets, for their babies under a year old, according to our recent survey of 250+ Smallnest users. (Just over one in ten — 11.9% — don’t use anything. The rest stick to blankets or rely on a combination of wraps.)

Sleep sacks have caught on like crazy in the last several years because these wearable blankets are safe and easy. They support the goal of keeping extra bedding, pillows, and toys OUT of the crib for the first year to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Maybe your newborn was swaddled up in a sleep sack in the hospital, a growing trend.

A sleep sack is genius. If you use one…

* Try a swaddling-style wrap at first if your baby seems to sleep better snuggled up. Other babies resist swaddling but are happy in a sleeveless sack.

* Be sure to keep sizing up as your baby grows. The sack should be long enough for stretching out and wide enough that your baby can kick his legs freely.

* Consider temperature. Some moms choose a fleece style for extra warmth, or add pj’s or socks inside the sacks. But you don’t want your baby to be overheated. If the room is warm, a sleeveless style, used with or without a onesie, may be plenty.

* Keep it simple. When you use a sleep sack, experts recommend nothing else in the crib but a tight-fitting bottom sheet. (I know, this doesn’t look as cute as those plush baby beds of designers’ fantasies. Call it a small price to pay for peace of mind.)

But don’t ditch those sweet receiving blankets! As your baby grows, a blanket can take on a life of its own — outside of the bed.

Reborn as a “blankie,” it can be a tummy time mat, a feeding drape, a best friend, a handy teether, a superhero cape, a princess cloak, and a clever way to drag toys around. A blankie can grow into the ultimate comfort object (typically this happens by late in the first year) — and it makes a really cute photo prop, too.