Swaddles, sleep sacks and weighted blankets are baby essentials, but if you’re a new parents, there may be some confusion as to what they actually are – so let’s clarify before we dive into the best ones.
What is a swaddle?
“A swaddle is blanket wrapped snuggly around your baby’s body that can resemble the mother’s womb and help soothe a newborn baby,” says Erin Junker, founder of The Happy Sleep Company. “As a Sleep Consultant, I follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP says that when done correctly, swaddling can be an effective technique to help calm infants and promote sleep. The AAP also notes that parents should stop swaddling as soon as their baby shows any signs of trying to roll over.” Rolling over can happen as soon as two months or, if you’re using the Snoo, many parents swaddle till six months.
What is a sleep sack/sleep bag?
“A sleep bag is essentially what you’d get if you combined all the best attributes of a cosy, comfy sleeping bag with a soft and lightweight baby blanket,” says Junker. “It is quite literally a wearable blanket – a sleep bag that baby wears for naps and nights, with a neck hole and arm holes! As a Sleep Consultant, I suggest parents use a sleep bag with proper sleepwear (PJs that aren’t too hot and won’t leave baby too chilly!) until your child transitions out of a crib and into a bed (around 3 years of age),” says Junker. Until then, a sleep bag is an excellent option for a number of reasons:
Safety: “Health experts agree that there should be no loose items in a child’s crib, including blankets. A sleep bag is essentially a wearable blanket, meaning you get all of the warmth and coziness of a blanket, without the safety hazards associated with loose items being in your child’s crib. A proper-fitting sleep bag will ensure your baby’s head cannot slip inside, removing the suffocation hazard associated with blankets that can end up on top of baby’s little mouth and nose.”
Warmth: “Babies move a LOT in their sleep – this means little legs often kick off blankets, leaving your child chilly at night. Sleep sacks stay in place and keep your baby warm the whole night through.”
Sleep cues: “Babies like to know what’s coming up next, and placing them in a sleep bag for every nap and nighttime sleep can help them understand that they are about to go into their crib for rest!”
What is a weighted kids blanket?
These are designed for children who are typically older (weight around 50lbs or more). “Like adult weighted blankets, kids weighted blankets can be a profound and all-natural tool to help children feel comforted and slip into sleep,” says Elizabeth Grojean, founder of Baloo. “Weighted blankets are a scientifically proven way to calm the nervous system and get better sleep, and these results are no different for kids. For children who have a difficult time falling asleep, staying asleep through the night, or just need the feeling of being cuddled, weighted blankets are a natural solution. We’ve also heard from customers that use weighted blankets when their littles ones are feeling anxious or upset and their Baloo provided them with the gentle, comforted feeling to help them feel relaxed and calm.”
"I love that this company offers a 'baby shower bundle' to give new mum everything she might need from a sleepwear perspective!" says Junker.
Wombie Grow With Me Swaddle
"It’s nice when a swaddle product that offers a transition option to, once baby is ready, move to an 'arms out' position – when transitioning from swaddle to sleep bag I recommend parents start by swaddling with just one arm out for a few days, to help baby get used to it. Then, they can swaddle with the other arm out. So, a product like this helps make that transition even easier," says Junker.
Louloulollipop Swaddles and Sleeping Bags
"Louloulollipop is one of my favourites because they have great options both in terms of design and warmth. Their 1.0 Tog muslin sleeping bag is made with soft, and breathable muslin gauze fabric, perfect for the Spring and Summer months. And, their 2.5 Tog sleeping bag is made with Tencel Lyocell knit jersey and filled with Dupont Sonora filling. Both have excellent thermal regulating property, ensuring that baby is always comfortable. And, their designs draw inspiration from different culture and nature, which is so charming and unique," says Junker.
Magic SleepsuitIdeally the Magic Sleepsuit is designed to be introduced around 3 months when babies are breaking out of or rolling in the swaddle, but still need the cosy, contained feeling that the Sleepsuit provides. If introduced too early or the Sleepsuit is too big, it will not provide the cosy environment needed for success (it can be tempting because babies look so cute in the sleepsuit!). Your little one should be dressed in a light cotton pj, onesie or nappy underneath depending on the room temperature and how cool/warm your baby runs.
The Ollie Swaddle
New mums swear by the Ollie, so much so that there are multiple Facebook groups dedicated to re-selling them because the swaddle is seemingly always sold out! It comes in sizes Newborn, 0-3 months, 3-6 months and 6-9 months. Developed by a social worker and is made with moisture-wicking fabric that allows infants to feel snug on top and loose on the bottom, which creates positive sleep cues, decreases irritability and allows for healthy hip development.
BoomBoom Baby Blowdry Bodysuit
"What’s so great about this bodysuit is that it has a breathable, waterproof, and antimicrobial back that contains blowdrys when nappys fail!" says Junker. While these aren't meant for sleep, they're great to keep on hand if your baby is having blowdry issues (especially common in the first two months).
"As a Mum, I’m fully on board with anything that favours zippers over buttons – too much hassle! So a bodysuit like this is great, especially for overnight nappy changes, to make it easier for sleep-deprived parents!" says Junker.
Ergo Baby makes ultra-soft and adorably patterned sleeping bags and swaddles.
Baloo Weighted Kids Blanket
Chemical-free these weighted blankets are perfect for any little troubled sleepers.