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When to Start Using a Sleep Sack for Your Baby

December 2, 2021

Many new parents are concerned about how to keep their baby warm during sleep. However, the use of loose blankets within a baby’s sleep environment is considered dangerous because of the risk of a blanket covering a baby’s face. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Infant sleep clothing, such as a wearable blanket or wearable blanket, is preferred over blankets and other coverings to keep a baby warm.” A wearable blanket is a sleeping bag-like covering that is placed over the baby’s pajamas. It is typically shaped with an A-Line design that allows for more leg movement in babies. Wearable blankets can be used from birth throughout the early toddler years.

New parents have probably heard about the benefits of swaddling. For newborns, swaddling is a common practice that is used for soothing and to promote sleep. Many wearable blankets can also support the practice of swaddling with a design that combines the ability to swaddle while using the wearable blanket. Using a wearable blanket from birth helps new parents begin to establish a consistent sleep time routine.

Newborn babies sleep quite a lot in the first several weeks after birth, but their sleep is in short cycles with frequent wakings. Newborn babies are also born with several reflexes, and the Moro reflex is one that can contribute to a babies waking themselves up because it causes the baby’s arms to quickly extend outward to the sides in a sudden twitch-like motion. Swaddling and using a wearable blanket can help to diminish the Moro reflex which will in turn help the baby remain asleep when the reflex occurs. Swaddling is also helpful to support a newborn’s transition from the womb to the world, as swaddling mimics the feeling of being snug and in a similar position the baby was within the womb. Once babies begin to show signs of rolling at around 8-10 weeks of age, swaddling should be discontinued.

Some babies (and parents) will have difficulty with sleep once it becomes time to stop swaddling. The transition out of a swaddle can be supported through the use of a wearable blanket because it still keeps the baby encased within a soft and warm environment. The Moro reflex is usually beginning to decrease by the time we stop swaddling, but it may still cause some sleep disruption in babies. A wearable blanket gives the baby the ability to have their arms outside of the sack with a design that supports movement of the arms. Having the arms free also helps with temperature regulation so that the baby does not overheat while sleeping.

The great thing about wearable blankets is how easy they are to use. They not only keep your baby warm during sleep, but the process of putting them on at bedtime becomes part of a routine that helps to cue your baby for sleep. Some wearable blankets, like the new Owlet Sleeper, also provide quick and easy access to your baby for nighttime diaper changes. A full length zipper allows you to quickly zip up from the baby’s feet while leaving the upper half of your baby undisturbed. In addition to the ease of use of a wearable blanket, parents can feel confident that they are keeping their baby safe during sleep when using a wearable blanket. From birth throughout the toddler years, using a wearable blanket helps parents and their little ones be safe and well-slept!

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Avatar for Emily Osborne

Emily Osborne

Parenting Expert at Owlet - Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Certified Lactation Counselor and Safe Sleep Educator that specializes in newborn behaviors and postpartum support for new parents. I have been teaching new and expectant parents for 14 years.

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