Parents will do almost anything to help their baby sleep. It's no secret that much of what moms and dads do during a baby's first several months is to try to figure out how to help their baby sleep at normal times and for longer stretches. As hard as it can be to experience more sleeplessness than you've probably ever known in your life, this is developmentally normal for your baby. But that doesn't mean there aren't ways to help. What's important to understand as you're trying to help your baby sleep better is what is safe and what's not - and it can be hard to know. Today we're talking about weighted sleep sack safety and why this is an excellent go-to option for better (and safe!) sleep for your little one.
When it comes to understanding what is safe for your baby, we know you want the research to back it up. We will give you all the details on what makes a weighted sleep sack such a benefit for your baby's sleep as well as information provided by credible sources to show that they are safe.
What a Sleep Sack is and Why They Are Safer Than Blankets
Weighted sleep sacks are a unique type of sleep sack that we'll cover in depth shortly. But first, we want to talk about what a sleep sack is and why it's the safest option to keep your baby cozy while they sleep.
First, what is a sleep sack? Sometimes referred to as baby sleeping bags or wearable blankets, sleep sacks are essentially a wearable blanket. They almost always zip on to stay in place. Some sleep sacks also double as a swaddle (which can be used for babies not yet rolling over.)
Sleep sacks were first developed by Bill Schmid under the Halo brand. He was looking for a safe sleeping alternative to blankets after his daughter, Haley, died of SIDS, in 1991. He felt it was his mission to do anything he could to help reduce the number of SIDS deaths. Around this time, the "Back to Sleep" campaign began, which educated parents that putting babies to sleep on their backs was the safest way for them to sleep. This is why you'll see Halo sleep sacks printed with the words, "Back is Best."
Sleep sacks have only gotten more and more popular since then. But parents still want the facts - are they safe? Yes! Healthychildren.org states, "If you are worried about your baby getting cold, you can use infant sleep clothing, such as a wearable blanket." They warn that other than the sleep sack, your baby's crib should be free of any other soft objects or loose bedding.
So, why are sleep sacks okay when blankets aren't? The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions that any loose bedding, pillows, and even stuffed animals pose hazards to infants because of the suffocation risk. Sleep sacks, alternatively, zip on and stay on. As long as it fits properly, there is no way that it can cover a baby's face. That's why sleep sacks are safe and blankets aren't.
The fact is that you want your baby to be warm and comfortable all year long. But blankets just aren't a safe option to use when your baby isn't supervised. That's why a sleep sack is what you'll want for your little one instead. We even lined up our favorites on this list here!
The Difference Between a Sleep Sack and Weighted Sleep Sack
Though sleep sacks have been in use by parents for nearly 30 years, weighted sleep sacks are a recent addition to the wearable blanket market. Sleep sacks definitely offer advantages in helping your baby sleep by keeping them warmer and more comfortable, but innovators are always looking for better product design to help babies even more. In this case, a weighted sleep sack can offer an extra advantage to helping your baby sleep.
What kind of advantage does a weighted sleep sack give? According to Dreamland Baby, maker of the first and only all over weighted sleep sack, benefits for your baby include:
- gentle weight feels like a parent's hug
- weight increases serotonin (the "happy" chemical!) and melatonin to relax your baby and induce sleep (exactly as weighted blankets do for adults)
- increases relaxation
- decreases cortisol levels to reduce your baby's stress as they prepare to sleep
- can help calm distracted babies while breastfeeding
The design for this sleep sack came about when creator Tara Williams was desperate for sleep when her six-month-old was still waking up every one and a half hours. One night she placed her son under a heavy throw blanket as he laid next to her on the couch. She saw an instant calm come over him. After getting the first prototype made and putting her son into the weighted sleep sack, he slept for 12 hours straight! She knew immediately that this was something that could help all babies sleep better.
Moms who have used the Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack with their little ones describe it as a "miracle worker" that helps their babies fall asleep calmly and quickly and allows them to sleep for longer stretches at a time.
Mothers who swaddle their young infants will also appreciate that the design of the Dreamland Baby Sleep Sack allows for a removable swaddle option. What's great about this is that babies will transition much more easily from swaddle to sleep sack by maintaining the weighted feeling they've been comforted by all along.
How We Know Our Weighted Sleep Sack is Safe
So far we've confirmed that sleep sacks are a safe way for your baby to sleep providing you follow other guidelines outlined by the AAP (such as putting your baby to sleep on their back.) We've also described how advantageous a weighted sleep sack such as the one offered by Dreamland Baby can be for you little one. Let's now talk weighted sleep sack safety so you can trust you are giving your baby both the best and safest way to sleep.
Here we have Dr. Sarah Mitchell of Helping Babies Sleep describing the benefits of using the Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack as well as how you can feel confident you are putting your baby in a safe garment for naps and nighttime sleep. Through the years, Dr. Mitchell has helped hundreds of families teach their babies to sleep.
Some of the key points Chiropractor Dr. Sarah Mitchell describes include:
- Wearable blankets are approved and suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics to help your baby sleep in a crib.
- Weighted blankets help calm fussy babies and induce sleep per a study done in the NICU in Cincinnati, Ohio (but weighted blankets aren't a safe option for crib sleep)
- Dreamland Baby has taken the safety of a wearable blanket and the sleep-inducing benefits of a weighted blanket and combined them to make a safe weighted sleep sack
- Provides sensory input to relax babies into sleep and is especially helpful for babies who struggle to sleep or are used to being held to fall asleep
- The optional swaddle found on the Dreamland Baby is helpful for newborn babies up to the time they begin to roll on their own
- The sleep sack is made with all-natural, non-toxic fibers including the food-grade poly pellet beads within the front of the sack that give it its weight.
As Moms ourselves, we know that safety is the number one priority of parents when they are making decisions about what products to use with the little people in their lives they love more than anything. We also know that sleeping is what allows your baby to thrive and grow, while good sleep for parents is also vital. With Dreamland Baby, you can be confident that the weighted sleep sack offers safety as well as more advantages over a typical sleep sack to help your baby sleep.