Sleep Sack vs Swaddle: Differences & What’s Best for Your Baby

If you’re being kept awake at night by the sleep sack vs swaddle debate, you’re not alone. There’s so much confusion as a new parent and sleep issues don’t help. Not only do you want your precious newborn to sleep well, but you want him to sleep safely. But does that mean a sleep sack or a swaddle? And what’s the difference between a swaddle and a swaddle blanket anyway? If you’re looking for some clarity on the issue, keep reading for some FAQs about the sleep sack vs swaddle blanket issue:

What are the differences between a sleep sack and a swaddle?

A sleep sack is essentially a wearable blanket that keeps your infant safe, warm, and comfortable.  Sleep sacks are good for newborns through toddlerhood.

A swaddle is a large blanket, typically made of light material, that is used to wrap up - or swaddle - your baby nice and tight (like a burrito!). That tight feeling of swaddling is meant to mimic life inside the womb where baby has lived so snuggly for the past nine months. It’s believed that swaddling helps baby feel comfortable, safe and secure and is typically used from birth to three months.

When it comes to sleep, it’s important to note that whether you use a sleep sack or a swaddle, that the safest position for baby is always on his back, for naps and nighttime, until they’re at least 12 months old. Further, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “bare is best.” This means that soft bedding such as blankets, pillows and soft toys should be kept out of the baby's sleep space to avoid accidental suffocation, the leading cause of SIDS. This makes the sleep sack a great option!

What are the advantages of sleep sacks vs swaddles?

While every baby and family is different, some parents find that swaddling is the way to go when it comes to their newborn. That’s because swaddling offers that snug feeling that baby is used to from 9 months in the womb. Some parents find that baby sleeps better and for longer stretches when swaddled.

That said, other parents swear by sleep sacks. They’re always a safe choice as they eliminate the need for anything extra in the crib which, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), greatly reduces the risks of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Often times, it’s a matter of finding the option that will work best for you. If, however, you’re still confused about the sleep sack vs swaddle newborn debate, by all means, consult your pediatrician.

When do babies transition from a swaddle to a sleep sack?

Once your little one is able to roll over on their own, they typically no longer like the swaddle as it may restrict their movement. While every baby is different and starts to roll over at different times, this milestone is usually reached between 2-4 months old.  By then it’s a great idea to move to a wearable blanket, also known as a sleep sack, to ensure that your baby is still safe in her sleep space.

What is the difference between a swaddle and a swaddle blanket?

A swaddle blanket is designed specifically to swaddle baby. Usually, they are made from a lightweight and breathable fabric that helps to regulate baby’s body temperature. When not used for swaddling, swaddling blankets are quite versatile but should never be used as a blanket in a crib or sleep space to avoid the risks of suffocation.

Some swaddle “blankets” have built in or removable swaddle “wings” that make swaddling baby easier. Of course, it’s important to follow all manufacturer directions to ensure all safety precautions.

What are the benefits of a sleep sack vs blanket?

Sleep sacks make certain that your infant will sleep safely by eliminating the need for anything extra in his crib. That means no blankets, no toys, just baby in his crib, bassinet or co-sleeper, in nothing but his wearable blanket! Sleep sacks also help regulate your infant’s body temperature which keeps him from being too cold, too hot, and makes their sleep just right!  

Some babies love their sleep sacks and want them well into toddlerhood! It’s a personal choice, but once baby starts to crawl and explore their surroundings, or becomes an escape artist, it may be time to retire the sleep sack. For safety reasons, most experts recommend not using a blanket in baby’s sleep space until they’re at least 12 months old.

Should I use a swaddle or sleep sack for newborn?

A lot of new parents love swaddling because swaddling is meant to soothe your newborn infant as they get used to life outside the womb. Those first few months of life are sometimes referred to as the “fourth trimester” and to help ease that transition, swaddling is meant to mimic life inside the womb where baby has lived so snuggly for the past nine months. It’s that wrapped, tight feeling that helps baby feel comfortable, safe and secure – and who can resist how cute he looks as a little baby burrito?! Swaddling also helps flailing arms and legs that can trigger baby’s startle reflex (also known as the Moro reflex). 

But don’t worry, if your baby just isn’t taking to swaddling and you’re wondering when to use a sleep sack, Dreamland Baby has a weighted sleep swaddle with a fully integrated inner swaddle band which makes swaddling a breeze. We also have a weighted sleep sack. Both of which can be used from 0-6 months and are designed to help your baby feel calm, fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. 

Do pediatricians recommend sleep sacks or swaddles?

Whether you decide on a sleep sack or a swaddle, safety is always the primary concern when it comes to baby sleep. As such, according to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) follow this acronym for the ABC’s of safe sleep!

  • A – ALONE. Baby should always sleep alone but in the same room as her caregiver
  • B – BACK. Baby should always, always, always, be put to sleep on her back – both for naps and nighttime sleep.
  • C – CRIB. Baby should sleep in a crib or co-sleeper with a firm mattress and snug-fitting sheet – that is it! No bumpers, no extra bedding, no cuddle toys!

While some parents may be concerned that baby may be cold in her crib without a blanket, the Dreamland baby swaddle or sleep sack is perfect to keep baby at just the right temperature!

Are sleep sacks or swaddles safer for a newborn to sleep in?

Sleep sacks can be used starting at birth however most parents feel that swaddling is a better option for their newborn. Swaddling is meant to mimic life inside the womb and is a familiar feeling for your newborn to be wrapped up tight and snuggly.  That said, sleep sacks are a great and easy option for new parents who are intimidated by swaddling techniques.

The Dreamland Baby Weighted Sleep Swaddle was designed in collaboration with pediatricians, NICU nurses and Certified Sleep consultants. It has a fully integrated, inner swaddle band for security and comfort. It is designed to help your baby feel calm, fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. The gentle weight naturally reduces stress and increases relaxation through deep-pressure stimulation to give your baby feelings of security and comfort. It also has a two-way zipper for easy diaper changes which comes in handy for those frequent, middle of the night changes.

What is the difference between a weighted sleep sack and a weighted swaddle?

Sleep sacks and swaddles are both used to soothe babies and provide safe sleep, but they have their share of different features.

A swaddle is a large blanket that you wrap tightly around your baby to produce a womb-like experience. It’s recommended for newborns and babies, but should not be used once they show signs of rolling over. Swaddles can comfort babies and help them relax and sleep. While most parents will fashion swaddles out of blankets, there are also premade swaddles that you can purchase from baby product manufacturers that aren’t as likely to unravel. Ensuring your baby is properly swaddled is important for their safety. Swaddles keep babies warm and comfortable without the use of blankets that may suffocate them. They prevent the startle reflex that can cause a baby to wake up in the middle of the night. They should be secured tightly, but not too tightly as to restrict movement and interfere with hip development.

A sleep sack is a wearable blanket that is used to keep your baby comfortable while it sleeps. It has a head hole and arm holes that keep it in place, while the bottom is a sack that allows your baby to move its feet and legs freely. It may also feature a zipper, Velcro, snaps, or some combination of the three for easy on and off and convenient diaper access. Similar to swaddles, sleep sacks should stay on throughout the night as long as they fit properly. Sleep sacks can help reduce the risk of SIDS.

Both sleep sacks and swaddles can be weighted. They are typically weighted with some type of beads, pellets, or down material that goes inside the product’s fabric lining. The weight is meant to produce feelings of additional security making your baby feel even more relaxed.

Why do parents love the dreamland weighted sleep sack? 

Parents love the Dreamland weighted sleep sack for so many reasons. To start, it gets their baby to sleep quickly, and keeps them asleep for extended periods. But beyond its purpose, the Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack is created with safety in mind and features high quality materials. It’s user-friendly design goes to show that a mom, just like you, created this product with love and intention. Doing what every mom does best, comforting and caring for their child, Dreamland Baby was invented. Here are some of the features that parents love about the Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack:

Safe weight location:

Dreamland’s weighted sleep sack places the weighted component at the front or top of the sack so that movement is not restricted. This allows your baby to safely roll, sit, or stand.

Mom-friendly design:

Mom’s will love the two-way zipper that makes diaper changes a breeze.

Doctor recommended:

Dreamland Baby’s weighted sleep sack was designed in collaboration with pediatricians, NICU nurses and certified sleep consultants. Furthermore, it’s approved by Pediatric Pulmonologist for safe breathing.

High quality materials:

Dreamland Baby’s weighted sleep sack is made of 100% natural soft cotton that helps regulate body temperature. It’s ideal for any climate!

Reversible neckline:

Our sleep sack features a reversible neckline for our tummy sleepers.

Tag-less design:

Say goodbye to irritating tags or tag residue.

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How do you choose between a sleep sack and swaddle?

A swaddle is a good choice for newborns. Newborns are not as mobile as older babies, and they will likely be more comforted by the womb-like experience a swaddle provides.

As a baby gets older, typically around the 3–4-month period, they will begin moving around more. They will be starting to roll over and they will become more mobile. At this stage, you may want to move them on to a sleep sack which is less restrictive than a swaddle.

When should a baby use a sleep sack?

While every baby is different, the typical ‘sleep sack age’ is between 4 months and one year. 4 months is a good target age for transitioning from a swaddle to a sleep sack as the baby will be getting more mobile. They will appreciate the sack’s ability to allow them to move around and reach their developmental milestones.

Babies can move on from a sleep sack when they are a year old as this is the age when the SIDS risk decreases.

When do babies stop wearing sleep sacks?

You may want to transition from a sleep sack at one year as this is the age when the risk of SIDS decreases. But, there are no hard and fast rules stating that you must take your baby out of the sack at one year. It depends on how quickly your baby is developing.

However, there are definite signs that will tell you it’s time to move on from the sleep sack.

For example, if your baby is walking, you should probably take them out of the sleep sack. While a sleep sack allows enough movement for your baby to crawl and roll around, it will restrict them from walking. If they try to walk while in the sleep sack, they could fall down and get hurt.

You may also want to move them on from the sleep sack if your baby is becoming frustrated or irritated when you are putting it on them. This may be because they dislike the way it’s restricting their movement.

When should a baby wear a swaddle?

Newborn babies can wear swaddles as long as they fit properly. As we welcome our baby into the great big world, we will want to comfort them in any way we can. Swaddles can be a safe way to mimic a womb-like feeling to help your baby transition peacefully. Experts recommend that it’s best to begin swaddling babies right away and as opposed to introducing it to them later, when they are a few months old.

When should you stop swaddling a baby?

There are varying opinions on when to stop swaddling a baby, but most experts concur that it should be within the 2–4-month range.

If a baby isn’t swaddled correctly, or if it rolls onto its stomach while it's swaddled, it increases the risk of suffocation. While most babies will actively roll over at four months, some will start at 2 months. Most pediatricians recommend parents stop swaddling well before babies start rolling over.

Some parents may be concerned that the baby won’t be able to sleep as calmly if swaddling stops too early, but pediatricians state moms and dads have nothing to worry about. Babies will start self-soothing at the two-month point and their start reflex should fade so they should be able to sleep better through the night at this time.

Dream Weighted Sleep Swaddle, 0-6 months