Before you have a baby it seems like you're going to need a lot of stuff to keep them happy. With all the darling outfits and cool gear that's available now, it can be overwhelming trying to decide what is really necessary for when your baby arrives. The fact is you don't really need a lot! We're going to help you narrow down your list by talking about one of the items your baby actually does need to sleep well and that's a wearable blanket.
As a newborn, a wearable blanket might start in the form of a swaddle whereas babies who are able to roll over (around 3 months or later) can transition to a sleep sack. Either way, these are a genuinely helpful item that you will hoard for any subsequent children because you'll realize how helpful they can be when it comes to (everyone's) sleep.
We'll discuss all the ins and out of wearable blankets and then we’ll give you our top choices for 2021 including our top pick, the weighted sack from Dreamland Baby.
Here we'll cover:
- Dreamland Baby Weighted Sack
- Halo Sleepsack
- Aden + Anais Sleeping Bag
- Woolino 4 Season Baby Sleep Bag
- Carter's Long Sleeve Fleece Sleep Bag
- TealBee Dreamsuit
What is a wearable blanket?
A wearable blanket is a specially designed blanket that fastens over your baby’s body (usually by way of a zipper) to replace the use of unsafe loose blankets while they sleep. You may also hear people refer to wearable blankets as sleep sacks or baby sleeping bags. They are usually the next step after a baby is done being swaddled.
Speaking of being swaddled, some babies will enjoy being swaddled when they are very new. The closeness that they get from being swaddled closely resembles the way they felt in the womb. Since you’ll probably want a swaddle, too, we recommend getting a wearable blanket that has a detachable swaddle wing (such as the weighted sack from Dreamland Baby). Because the point at which you’ll need to transition your baby out of their swaddle will come sooner than you think. Making this choice is also a good investment in case you have a baby who doesn’t like being swaddled at all.
Almost all babies will need to move out of a swaddle by around 4 months, and some even sooner than that. If your baby is rolling over (or close to doing so), a swaddle is no longer a safe choice. We explain this in-depth in our article “The 3 Signs it’s Time to Stop Swaddling Your Baby.”
That’s when it’s time to move to a wearable blanket. Unlike a swaddle, a baby can be completely mobile when wearing a wearable blanket, allowing them to safely roll, sit, crawl, stand, jump…whenever those milestones arrive.
Like a swaddle, wearable blankets can do wonders for your baby’s sleep.
How Wearable Blankets Help Your Baby Sleep
Even if your little one isn't quite there yet, you'll want to have your favorite sleep sack ready, because I can tell you from experience, these milestones happen in the blink of an eye. And once your baby has learned their new trick, there's no going back to the way it was, and you’ll need that wearable blanket immediately.
Wearable blankets are the perfect transition from a swaddle. In fact, I don’t think I’ve known one baby to NOT wear a wearable blankets for naps and nighttime sleep. They are the perfect replacement for unsafe loose blankets.
There’s a lot to love about wearable blankets. They:
- give your baby warmth and coziness,
- stay on (unlike a blanket which could be kicked off),
- are easy to get on and off,
- offer a perfect element to your baby's sleep routine,
- are a safe alternative to blankets (which should never be put in your baby’s crib before their first birthday).
We also love how many different options are available now in wearable blankets; there are so many different features to meet the unique needs of your baby.
Babies need to learn when it's time to sleep. And a cozy sleep sack is something you can use at every nap and bedtime to cue your baby that it's time to head off to dreamland.
It's the safest way to give your baby comfort while they sleep.
Why Wearable Blankets are a Safe Choice for Your Baby’s Sleep
As adults, we love big cozy beds with lots of blankets and pillows. And as a kid you were probably also surrounded by stuffed animals. It's normal to think your baby would prefer the same. Except none of that is safe for your baby.
So you might be wondering, are wearable blankets safe for my baby to wear?
YES! Wearable blankets are completely safe because they are not loose. Instead, they are like an extra article of clothing for your baby (most that you’ll find zip up to stay in place).
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, cribs should be kept completely bare.
That means no sheets, blankets, stuffed animals, or bumpers. Even infant mattresses are very firm to ensure safety. Wearable blankets, on the other hand, have been given the stamp of approval for safety. They write, “If you are worried about your baby getting cold, you can use infant sleep clothing, such as a wearable blanket.”
When your baby is awake, we recommend giving them plenty of love and closeness throughout the day with lots of time in your arms. And at night when it’s time for them to be an independent sleeper – a wearable blanket is the perfect (and safe) solution.
Wearable blankets are the safest choice for your baby.
Now that we've determined how helpful sleep sacks can be while being the only safe sleeping blanket for your baby, here's what to consider to find the best one for your baby.
The Best Wearable Blankets of 2021
There are plenty of wearable blankets available and it can be hard to choose. Here are some things to consider when making your choice.
- special features that no other wearable blanket has
- if it will help your baby fall asleep more easily on their own
- the climate that you live in
- ease of use (easy to get on and off, able to do diaper changes with it on, etc.)
- age range for use (choosing one that lasts longer is an economical choice)
Fabric weight and feel as well as knowing that the wearable blanket is made from quality materials should play a role in your decision about which wearable blanket is best. And safety of the product, of course, should be at the top of your mind. Like all the products you use for your baby, only the best should do.
We encourage you to check out our other post, “2021 Buyer’s Guide for Baby Wearable Blankets,” for a closer look into how to choose a sleep sack for your little one.
1. Our Top Pick and Best Weighted Wearable Blanket: Dreamland Baby Weighted Sack
For 2021, this is the best wearable blanket you could come by for your little one!
It has a very special feature unique from any other wearable blanket on this list. And it's that it's weighted! What does that mean exactly? Well, creator Tara Williams shares how this vision came alive as her fourth child was struggling to sleep night after night. On one of those nights as he fussed next to her on the couch, she placed a heavy blanket over him. She saw an instant calm come over his face. Tara's first prototype was used for her own son who began sleeping soundly each night thereafter – 12 hours straight in fact!
After researching, she found that babies crave the weight because it mimics the touch of their loved ones. Many parents agree, including one mom, Carolyn:
“Has totally and completely changed the game for us! We love our Dream Weighted Sack so much. It’s especially great for transitioning baby to fall asleep by themselves. That extra weight makes them feel held and releases the body’s natural melatonin. Amazing concept!”
What is it made from?
You can count on quality craftsmanship from Dreamland Baby. Each wearable blanket is made by hand in 100% natural, soft cotton. The weight comes from inner poly pellet beads that are non-toxic, food-grade and completely safe as discussed here. It even has a zipper along the bottom for easy diaper changes!
It’s perfect for ALL seasons.
The relaxing effect that this weighted wearable blanket gives through deep touch stimulation is unlike anything else on the market. Another reviewer stated, "Having this product is like a lifesaver. My baby suddenly is sleeping 10-12 hours!" Therefore, it's our number one recommendation on our best wearable blankets list!
2. Best Classic Wearable Blanket: Halo Sleepsack
Halo is the creator of the original wearable blanket.
It was made out of a need for a replacement to dangerous loose blankets that can cover a baby's face and interfere with breathing. With its proven track record for safety as well as its ability to help babies sleep, it's considered the #1 Choice of Hospitals.
What is it made from? The Classic Wearable Blanket by Halo is made from 100% Cotton. It has an inverted zipper so diaper changes can be performed without taking the entire sleep sack off.
With many adorable prints to choose from, this roomy sack design is a great go-to as your baby transitions from swaddle to sleep sack.
3. Best Summer Wearable Blanket: Aden + Anais Sleeping Bag
Aden + Anais is most popular for their swaddling blankets. Often a coveted baby shower gift, these soft blankets are some of the best if you're up for the challenge of learning the art of swaddling for your little one. Their line of muslin products has various offerings including their classic sleeping bags.
What is it made from? The Aden + Anais Classic Muslin Sleeping Bags are made from breathable, pre-washed muslin making them extra soft.
These thinner sleepsacks are great for warmer nights but when your little one still craves the softness of a blanket. (One reviewer states, "Perfect for Florida weather!") Easy to put on and impossible to kick off, your baby is sure to love the feel of these soft sleeping bags.
4. Best Four Season Wearable Blanket: Woolino 4 Season Baby Sleep Bag
Woolino offers something a little different from the other wearable blankets on our list in that it's made with a fabric that's great for all four seasons. Merino wool might sound like an odd choice for a baby's wearable blanket, but this breathable fabric naturally regulates a baby's body temperature.
What is it made from? The basic sleeping baby by Woolino is made from breathable Australian merino wool. It is much finer than other types of wool so parents don't have to worry about it being itchy on a baby's sensitive skin. (A mom even says her daughter with eczema sleeps very well in her Woolino sleepsack.) It has the ability to keep your baby warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot and is suitable for room temperatures between 63 and 77 degrees.
If you live in an environment where the temperature changes a lot throughout the year, (and especially if you don't have air conditioning in your home), the Woolino sleepsacks are an excellent choice for comfortable sleep.
5. Best Wearable Blanket for Winter: Carter's Long Sleeve Fleece Sleep Bag
The unique feature of this sleep sack is that is has long sleeves. Though not necessary for all year round, it's definitely an awesome option for colder winter nights. The snuggle soft fabric will be cozy on your baby's skin as it keeps them warm through the night from head (to wrist) to toe!
What is it made from? The long sleeve sleep bag by Carter's is made from cozy 100% polyester microfleece. It's easy to care for and a great fabric for nights when you want your baby to stay as warm as possible. The ribbed cuffed sleeves will stay in place and parents will love that it zips from ankle to neck for those middle of the night diaper changes.
These long sleeve wearable blankets come in several darling prints for both boys and girls. If your baby has a lot of cold nights in their future, this is a great sleep sack to have around!
6.) Best Toddler Wearable Blanket: TealBee Dreamsuit
Many of the wearable blankets above can be worn by babies ages 18 months and up, and babies can usually even walk in them without issue. But if your baby likes to leave their sleep sack on even after they wake up, you might want to choose a wearable blanket that essentially has legs (pants), attached instead. We love this one from TealBee because of the balloon shaped legs that are still able to give that blankety feel.
What is it made from?
The company refers to the feel of their Dreamsuit as “buttery soft.” With a blend of 70% Rayon made from Bamboo and 30% cotton it sounds like a wonderful way for a little one to sleep. It’s quilted with polyester bedding inside to provide just the right amount of warmth without your favorite mover and shaker from getting too hot while they sleep (or run back and forth the living room).
The TealBee is perfect for little ones on the go wearing sizes 12 months – 3T.
Answering Your Questions About Wearable Blankets
We know you might have a few more questions about wearable blankets (we did too, when we were new moms!) Here are some inquiries we get a lot.
1.) What should I dress my baby in under their wearable blanket?
This will mostly depend on the temperature of your baby’s room. In warmer months, unless you like to crank the A/C, your baby will only need a onesie under their wearable blanket and perhaps even just their diaper. In colder months, a long sleeve sleeper or footed pajamas. The rule of thumb the AAP recommends is to dress your baby in one more layer than you are wearing. A wearable blanket can count as one of those layers.
2.) How many wearable blankets do I need?
Well, you’ll definitely want more than one wearable blanket. Blow-outs and large amounts of spit-up are bound to happen, so you’ll always need at least one back-up. (But I’d go for 3 minimum unless you’re a pro at keeping up with the wash). You may also choose to have different wearable blankets for different seasons unless you choose to use one like Dreamland Baby that can be used year-round.
3.) When is it time to stop using a wearable blanket?
Unlike swaddles that have to be removed when a baby can roll, there really is no set time that you’ll need to take your toddler out of their wearable blanket for good. Many older toddlers can walk around in a typically designed sleep sack, but may be more comfortable in the one with legs that we suggested above. Though babies can begin to sleep with regular blankets at age one, they’ll likely continue to prefer their wearable blanket for much longer.
As parents, we know that baby sleep is incredibly precious. Anything that you can do to help your little one get more of it you’ll try, right?! Getting a wearable blanket that makes them feel cozy and comfortable is one of the best things you can do to relax them at bedtime to prepare for sleep. There are so many great choices in 2021, and we can’t recommend using one enough as part of a consistent sleep routine.