Comparing Sleep Sacks to Swaddles: What’s the Difference?
There are a lot of questions when it comes to baby products. And, what to dress your little one in to go down to sleep is a biggie! We want to help clear up the confusion surrounding the Sleep Sack vs. Swaddle debate so that you can make the best decision for your baby. Remember, infant sleep can be challenging for even the most experienced parents. But, having a few helpful tips and understanding the major differences between sleep sacks and swaddles will make your decision much easier. It may also give you peace of mind that your baby is comfortable and safe. So, let's get started!
Is a sleep sack the same as a swaddle?
There are some key differences between a sleep sack and a swaddle. A sleep sack is a wearable blanket with holes for the baby's head and arms. They are designed to keep your baby safe, warm, and comfortable. The idea for the sleep sack originated in the safe sleep/SIDS prevention movement. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that "bare is best" when it comes to your baby's crib. This means no bumpers, toys, and loose blankets – just a tightly fitted crib sheet. The sleep sack eliminates the need for a blanket which can pose a suffocation risk. Sleep sacks are a popular option from infancy to toddlerhood and an excellent way to help regulate your baby's body temperature to avoid overheating.
A swaddle is a light, breathable blanket that is used to wrap your baby securely. The idea is that when a baby is wrapped up, much like a little burrito, it mimics a womb-like environment and helps them feel secure. (It also happens to be super cute and pic worthy!) A swaddle can also help your baby self-calm when they experience the Moro or startle reflex. Things can get a little confusing because some swaddles, like the Dream Weighted Swaddle, are basically a sleep sack with a swaddle wing integrated into it. This allows you to get all the benefits of a traditional sleep sack (comfort and temperature regulation) along with the benefits of a swaddle (soothing and calming.)
When it comes to sleep, it's important to note that whether you use a sleep sack or a swaddle, the safest position for babies is always on their back, for naps and nighttime, until they're at least 12 months old. Swaddling is an excellent way to soothe a newborn. However, according to the AAP, "when an infant exhibits signs of attempting to roll (which usually occurs at 3 to 4 months but may occur earlier), swaddling is no longer appropriate."
What are the differences between a sleep sack and a swaddle?
The main difference between a sleep sack and a swaddle is a swaddle is wrapped around your baby to help them feel secure and calm. It can be a loose swaddle, basically a lightweight blanket, or an integrated swaddle that is built into a sleep sack. You swaddle a baby with both arms by their sides so that they feel safe and cozy. Swaddling may even help soothe a cranky or colicky baby. It's essential to keep in mind that a swaddle should never be too tight. The general rule of thumb is that you should be able to fit two fingers between the wrap and your baby's chest.
Swaddles must only be used for babies that are placed on their backs to sleep and have not begun rolling over. Many parents find swaddling their newborn helps them to sleep for longer stretches. Once a baby starts to roll over (which can be as early as two months) or has become a little escape artist and no longer wants to be swaddled, you can transition them to the sleep sack, a wearable blanket that they can move freely in and can be used well into toddlerhood.
When should a baby use a swaddle?
The period of time after a baby is born is often called the fourth trimester. It's during these first few months postpartum that a swaddle is most effective. Your baby has spent the last nine months in the womb, and the swaddle is designed to mimic that feeling. A swaddle helps babies feel like their being held. As mentioned, a swaddle should only be used with newborns who have not begun to roll.
The Dream Weighted Swaddle is an excellent option as it is extremely versatile. You can use it to swaddle your baby with both arms tucked gently in or with one arm out for babies that enjoy a bit more freedom of movement. Finally, it can be used with both arms out once your baby is breaking free of the swaddle and has begun to roll over. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute acknowledges the Dreamland Baby Weighted Swaddle as a "hip-healthy" product when used as directed. This multi-use swaddle makes it easier for parents to adapt to their baby's changing needs.
When should a baby use a sleep sack?
A sleep sack is a safe and comfortable way to put your baby down to sleep from infancy through toddlerdom. A sleep sack is an excellent option if your baby doesn't like the swaddle (not all babies do!) or has grown out of the swaddle phase. Sleep sacks allow babies to move their arms and legs but still keep them confined. They are also a safe way to put babies to sleep and keep them warm, as there is no need to use a loose blanket in the crib, which can put them at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The Dream Sleep Sack is gently weighted and comes in sizes 0-6 months up to 36 months, growing with your baby, so they can use it as long as they find it comfortable!
Are sleep sacks better than swaddles?
As parents, we always want to make the best decision for our children. And when it comes to sleep sacks and swaddles, it's important to remember that every baby is different, and finding the right sleep solution for your little one may take some time. A sleep sack is not better than a swaddle, but it is different and addresses your baby's various needs as they grow. Sleep sacks and swaddles can both play a role in your baby's sleep routine.
So, if your little one loves the feeling of being "all wrapped up" and is not rolling over, then a swaddle is a great option. However, if they have begun to roll or simply break free or don't respond well to the swaddle, then going with a sleep sack is the safest choice. Remember, safety and comfort should always be your priority when choosing between a sleep sack and swaddle.
Can you use a sleep sack and swaddle together?
You can put your infant in a sleep sack with an integrated swaddle or swaddle attachment. But, babies should not wear sleep sacks with swaddle attachments or wraps once they start to roll over on their own. It's important to note that whether you use a sleep sack or a swaddle, the safest position for baby is always on his back, for naps and nighttime, until they're at least 12 months old.
The Dream Transition Swaddle is the perfect solution when it's time to transition your baby out of a swaddle and into a wearable sleep sack. The gently weighted, innovative arm feature helps control the Moro (startle) reflex allowing your baby to get the benefits of both a swaddle and sleep sack!
What are the advantages of weighted sleep sacks and swaddles?
There are many advantages to using weighted sleep sacks and swaddles. The gentle weight can help naturally reduce stress and increase relaxation through deep-pressure stimulation to give your baby feelings of security and comfort. Dreamland Baby's gently weighted sleep solutions were designed in collaboration with pediatricians, NICU nurses, and certified sleep consultants. Our products feature our proprietary CoverCalm™ Technology, ensuring even weight distribution from your baby's shoulders to toes. It's also important to note that the weight is10% or less body weight and, therefore, will not restrict movement or weigh your baby down. They will be able to roll, sit, stand, and do anything they can do in a non-weighted sleep sack. The best part is your baby will feel secure and comfortable – just like a hug.