Dressing your baby for sleep can be challenging, especially at first. There are many great choices, from onesies to swaddles and sleep sacs. How do you know which is best for your baby, a swaddle, or a sleep sac? If you are compiling a registry or if you have a new baby, you know there are plenty of options. How do you know which items to choose? Some parents may wonder if swaddling is necessary or helpful for their babies. Do you wonder about skipping swaddling and moving on to the sleep sac? The answer to these questions depends on how old your baby is, their developmental stages, and what works best for you and your baby.
Benefits of Swaddling
Most parenting choices have plenty of pros and cons, and swaddling is no different. Swaddling your baby, especially when it is a newborn, can have some benefits as long as it is done safely.
Swaddling is Calming for Babies
A swaddle can help soothe a fussy baby, but it can be a bit tricky for some parents to figure out a swaddling method that works. Swaddling can help build a healthy association with sleep and signal to the newborn that it’s time to get some rest. Parents can find it helpful to swaddle their newborn before naps and bedtime. Swaddling doesn’t just help your baby fall asleep; it can also help them stay asleep longer.
Prevent the Startle Reflex
Swaddling is helpful for helping prevent a baby’s startle reflex. You may notice your newborn throwing back their head and pushing out their arms and legs. The startle reflex is a rude awakening for a baby, and typically only lasts for their first couple of months. Swaddling your baby in a soft bamboo blanket keeps their little limbs from flying out, so their rest is uninterrupted.
Swaddling Provides Security
A swaddle can help mimic the conditions in the womb. It’s warm, and it keeps your baby’s legs and arms all tucked in close to their body. They may feel more secure in the fetal position they were accustomed to.
What About Babies Who Hate the Swaddle?
Most babies feel secure and warm when they are swaddled, but other babies seem to dislike it. They may fuss while you are swaddling them, but usually, they calm down and relax quickly. The hardest part about swaddling is keeping the swaddle in place. It takes practice to fold a baby burrito, be patient. There are numerous swaddling techniques, and if your baby keeps wriggling out of their swaddle, try a different technique until you find one that works.
Transitioning from the Swaddle to the Sleep Sac
There isn’t a specific age recommended for parents to stop swaddling their babies. Parents make that call based on their baby’s ability to roll over and development. Each baby develops at a different rate. Generally speaking, the transition from swaddling to the sleep sac usually occurs when the baby is between two to three months old. There are two signs that should alert parents that it is time to stop swaddling. One sign is if your baby continues to get one or both arms out of the swaddle. The second sign is that the baby is able to roll from their back to their tummy. Once they start to roll, they need to have their arms free when they are in bed. No swaddling for rolling babies.
Which do I need, swaddles or sleep sacs?
When it comes to purchasing or adding items to your registry, it’s not so much of an either-or. It’s more like a both situation. They both have a place and are useful. Swaddling isn’t the only way to dress a newborn for sleep. Realistically, swaddling is a very short stage in a baby’s life, usually only a couple of months, depending on when they begin to roll over on their own.
Once your baby begins to roll over, and it’s no longer safe to swaddle them, you’ll have to find another way to dress them for bed. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) considers blankets as a suffocation risk. Since blankets are not best for babies, a sleep sac is the perfect solution. A sleep sac allows babies to have free movement of their arms, so they can safely roll themselves back over or push themselves up as needed.
It's a great idea to have both swaddles and sleep sacs on hand. You’ll be able to navigate a smooth transition between the two as your baby develops.
If you are looking for a sleep sac for your little one, or want to buy one as a gift, you are in the right place. At Little Biscuits, you’ll find baby sleep sacs for newborns and preemies. Our clothing is made from all-natural bamboo/viscose fabrication, so your baby stays comfy and cozy. They also have fold-over mittens to protect your baby’s face from getting scratched. Have questions? Please contact us!