Sleep Sack vs. Swaddle: Which One Is Better?

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Last updatedLast updated: July 25, 2021
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Parenting isn’t an easy job, especially for mothers. One moment, you are wondering if you can push the baby out during, and the other moment (after birth), you are not sure of how to put your baby to sleep.

Most times, you have lots of options to select from, as far as where to lay your baby is concerned. Sleep sack and a swaddle are the two most popular options, but none is better than the other.

The difference that exists between a sleep sack vs. swaddle boils down to your personal preference.

And in this article, you will find out all the details you need to make an informed decision on whether to choose a sleep sack or swaddle.

What are Swaddles?

So, you’ve heard many times that swaddles are the best when it comes to laying your baby to sleep.

Swaddles are blankets that are specially made for swaddling – wrapping newborns. This type of blanket is meant to hold your baby in place, especially when the baby is sleeping.

For instance, our experts highly recommend the model from Love To Dream that will deliver ultimate comfort!

The general security that swaddles provide to babies is that the swaddles would wrap your baby so that he/she wouldn’t fall or wriggle out.

How to Use a Swaddle

Sleep Sack vs. Swaddle: Which One Is Better?There are many ways you can use a swaddle to wrap your baby while sleeping. It is all a matter of preference.

But, if you want to get it right on the first try, here are steps to wrap your baby using a swaddle.

1.      Put Down the Blanket

The first step is to lay the swaddle on a safe flat surface. Once you do that, proceed to make it into a diamond shape, with a special concentration on folding down the top corner of the blanket, at least 6 inches.

2.      Lay Down Your Baby

You can now lay down your baby on the blanket, making sure that the shoulders are on top of the folded corner while the baby is laid in the middle of the blanket.

3.      Bend the Baby’s Hand

Bend the hands of the baby by gently bending the right arm and placing it on the baby’s chest.

You can now pull the swaddle over the left arm of the baby while ensuring that the baby’s hips are loose.

4.      Take the Bottom of the Blanket

The next step is to take the bottom of the blanket and pull it up before folding it over the baby’s feet.

After that, tuck the folded edges into the top of the blanket.

5.      Wrap the Opposite Corner

Now, wrap the opposite corner of the swaddle the same way you wrapped that of the right corner.

Ensure that you wrap it around the front, the middle, and the back of the baby.

What About Sleeping Bags?

Sleep Sack vs. Swaddle: Which One Is Better?Also called Sleeping Sacks, sleeping bags are mini sleeping bags that are used for both toddlers and babies.

Sleep bags are designed as blanket-like materials that can be zipped up.

One of the many reasons why new parents prefer buying a sleep sack is because it doesn’t limit the movement of the baby.

Ideally, transitioning from a swaddle to a sleeping bag is highly recommended if your baby is more than 3 months of age. The reason is simple – babies of more than 3 months of age tend to move certain parts of their body. Such movements would be greatly limited if they were using swaddles because swaddles restrict the movement of the baby’s arms and legs.

How to Use Sleeping Bags

You can use sleeping bags or sleeping sacks for your baby. Below are the steps on how to use one.

1.      Unzip the Sack

Sleeping sacks are meant to be one of the easiest and most versatile blankets for putting down your sleeping baby.

The process of using the sacks is also simplified.

The first step is to unzip the sack from top to bottom.

2.      Lay Down Your Baby

Now that the sack is unzipped, the next step is to lay down your baby. Keep in mind that you should lay down the baby in the middle of the sack so there will be ample space for movement.

3.      Guide the Arms

Guiding your baby’s arms is pretty forward. All you need to do is to guide the arms through the holes on the blanket.

4.      Zip the Sack

The last step is to zip up the sleeping sack. At the same time, ensure that you tuck the zipper pull into the garage so that the sack doesn’t come off when the baby moves.

Close Comparison – The Differences between Swaddle Blankets vs. Sleep Sacks

Parents (mothers especially) have a whole lot of decisions to make as far as selecting a better sleeping material for their baby is concerned.

Now, many differences will help you decide for or against any of the two we have here.

Here is a close comparison of swaddle blankets and sleeping sacks.

1.      Swaddles Restrict Baby Movement

Sleep Sack vs. Swaddle: Which One Is Better?The first difference you will notice between swaddles and sleeping sacks is that swaddles are mainly used to restrict the movement of the baby.

You already know that babies between the ages of 2 months and 8 years are susceptible to falling off the bed while sleeping.

So, it is preferable to use swaddles to restrict the movement of babies within those age brackets.

On the other hand, sleeping sacks/bags are ideal if your baby is already within the age bracket of 6 months and a year.

The amazing thing about this is that you can keep using the sleeping bags, even if your baby is already a toddler.

Besides, a sleeping bag does a great job of allowing your baby to move with ease (when sleeping), thereby cutting down on the risks of triggering dysplasia.

2.      Swaddles are for Infants

Also, you should only use swaddles if your baby is still an infant. As the baby starts to grow into a toddler, it would be wise of you to transition to a sleeping bag.

This is important because continually using a swaddle instead of a sleeping bag when your baby is a toddler could restrict limb movement on the part of your baby. That would, in turn, lead to the suffocation of your baby, especially if the baby rolls on the tummy while asleep.

Which One Should I Get?

We understand that you may be having some doubts about which of the two to buy. You are wondering if you are making a good decision of investing in a swaddle when you should have bought a sleeping sack.

We want you to make an informed decision – a decision that will help you buy the best sleeping blanket for your baby.

That being said, here are some of the factors you want to consider before you buy either a swaddle or a sleeping sack/bag.

1.      The Comfort of the Blanket

The comfort of your baby’s sleeping blanket is not only measured by how free the blanket is. It can also include the softness of the material.

Because we are talking about babies here, you don’t want to buy a blanket that would itch your baby’s skin.

Therefore, ensure that either of the fabric used on a swaddle or a sleeping bag is soft. You also have to consider the temperature at different times in the year, because that will help you make a better decision.

For example, if the temperature is cold, consider buying a swaddle or a sleeping bag that is cozier and thicker. At the same time, test the bag a few times to be sure that it wouldn’t suffocate the baby after a while of using it.

2.      Safety

Aside from making your baby sleep well, the blanket should also feature a design that bolsters the safety of the baby.

You don’t want to invest in a swaddle or sleeping sack that will reduce your baby’s breathing because of excessive wrapping.

Your concern for the safety of your baby should also extend to the arms. For example, some parents prefer a sleeping sack because it has pre-dedicated holes for you to guide your baby’s arms.

You might also want to get a high-quality swaddle. In such a case, consider one from Burt’s Bees Baby.

Most importantly, you want to buy a sleeping blanket that guarantees the movement to your baby’s body, to some extent. Over time, your baby will outgrow the blanket, especially if you are using a swaddle. So, keep it in mind and continue to monitor your baby’s growth to know when to transition to a sleeping bag, which promises more movements.

3.      Ease of Use

It all boils down to convenience. How easy will it be for you to attend to your baby, especially at night when you may need to change the diapers?

On the one hand, the sleeping bag/sack provides the convenience you need via easy zipping.

On the other hand, a swaddle wouldn’t be a bad idea because it typically has guides and enclosures that make it simpler for you to swaddle and attend to your baby anytime.

4.      The Size of the Blanket

Another important factor to consider when selecting a swaddle or sleep sack for a newborn is the size of the blanket.

While there is no one size fits all, you want to make sure you’re your baby is adequately accommodated in the blanket.

For example, babies of 2 months to 3 months would comfortably fit into a swaddle. The swaddle you select should be big enough to accommodate the height and weight of your baby.

On the other hand, you want to invest in a sleep bag/sack when the weight of your baby starts to go up. Ideally, babies of 3 months tend to jailbreak their swaddle blankets, and that is not what you want.

So, consider buying a sleep sack/bag as your baby starts to grow.

Frequently Asked Questions

Parents ask a lot of questions on whether they should buy a sleep sack or swaddle. Their questions are in order because they want the best for their babies.

Here are some answers to the questions we continually come across about swaddle blanket vs. sleep sack.

1.      Should Babies be Laid on Their Tummy in a Sleep Sack?

Sleep Sack vs. Swaddle: Which One Is Better?No, it is better to lay your baby down on a sleep sack on the back. The reason is that babies who lay on their back are less prone to getting Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SID), which often happens when they roll while sleeping. Also, it will be easier for them to get used to toddler pillows later.

2.      Which Blanket Should I Buy for My Newborn?

Your choice of a sleeping blanket for your baby is a matter of preference. You have to decide on which would work best for your baby.

For example, it is best to use a swaddle blanket to lay newborns when they sleep because it has the required stability needed to keep them in place.

And, you may consider buying a sleep sack if your baby is already a toddler.

3.      When Can I Stop Using Swaddle or Sleep Sack for My Baby?

You can stop using swaddle blankets once your baby is up to 4 months of age. However, you may need to continue using the sleep sack if your baby is between the ages of 6 months and 10 months.

Though in some cases, you may still need to continue using the sleep sack until your baby becomes a toddler or as far as your baby’s torso and feet aren’t too warm. After that, it’s recommended to switch to a crib mattress. Just don’t forget about getting a pillow for your baby!

4.      Can I Use Sleep Sacks even if My Baby Can Roll Over?

Yes, it is still possible for you to use sleep sacks to lay your baby, even if the baby can roll over when sleeping.

You only need to be sure that hazardous items like stuffed animals and excess blankets aren’t around the bed to prevent suffocation.

Final Thoughts

We are sure that you have gained more ideas on how to choose either a swaddle or sleep sack for newborns.

Regardless of either of them that you choose, always prioritize the safety, comfort, and healthy sleeping condition of your baby.

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