When To Stop Using A Sleep Sack For Your Baby
Sleep sacks have been a game-changer for your baby's sleep. You don't have to worry about them getting too cold, and the coziness helps them stay asleep all night. But now your little one is getting bigger, and you’ve been wondering when to stop using a sleep sack.
When is it time to transition to something else at night? And how do you do so safely?
Here at Newton Baby, safe sleep is our top priority! In this article, we share all the details about when you should stop using a sleep sack and offer tips for transitioning your baby to another option at night.
Table Of Contents
- What Is A Sleep Sack?
- When To Stop Using A Sleep Sack: Signs To Watch For
- What To Do When You Stop Using A Sleep Sack
What Is A Sleep Sack?
Simply put, a sleep sack is a sleeveless garment that zips up. It has an opening for your child’s head to stick through and two armholes. Instead of traditional feet, the bottom is like a little pouch where your child’s legs can move freely.
Sleep sacks keep your baby warm without the risk of them getting tangled up in loose bedding. They're a safer alternative to blankets and are often more comfortable for your baby.
For example, the Newton Baby Sleep Sack For Babies features a soft, breathable fabric that’ll keep your little one at the perfect temperature all night.
What To Look For In A Sleep Sack
Our team at Newton Baby has years of experience designing safe sleep products for babies, so we know a thing or two about what you should look for in a sleep sack. Most importantly, you'll want to check the size and material of the product.
Many companies produce one-size sleep sacks that work for babies until they're toddlers. The Newton Baby Sleep Sack For Babies fits 9-pound babies as well as many two year olds, giving your little one months (or even years) of safe sleep.
But other sleep sacks on the market come in different sizes. These are typically similar to baby clothes, but you'll want to check the size chart accompanying the product before purchasing. That way, you don't wind up with a sleep sack that's too small.
You also want to ensure that the fabric is breathable and won't cause your baby to overheat. Organic fabric is best since it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals that could hurt your little one.
Our sleep sack features a soft fabric that’ll keep your baby at a comfortable temperature all night. And since it's made of breathable organic cotton and bamboo fabric, you can rest assured that it's gentle on their skin.
When To Stop Using A Sleep Sack: Signs To Watch For
While we love sleep sacks, there will come a day when they’re no longer the best option for your growing child. Here are some signs to watch for that indicate it's time to stop using one.
Your baby's legs should have plenty of room to kick and move inside the sleep sack. If it's too restrictive, it can be uncomfortable and bind their legs when they move. It can even cause longer-term developmental problems if they’re restricted night after night.
When you wrap your baby's legs too tightly in a swaddle or have them in a sleep sack that's too small, they're at risk for developing hip dysplasia, a condition in which the hip socket can become dislocated.
So if you notice that your baby's sleep sack is getting too snug, it's time to size up or transition to a different type of bedding altogether.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not using traditional blankets for babies under one. Instead, doctors suggest using sleep sacks to keep your child warm enough at night.
In most cases, you don't want to stop using a sleep sack before their first birthday. Otherwise, you'll need to find an alternative way to keep your baby warm that doesn't pose a suffocation hazard.
Once they turn one, you can safely transition your child to regular bedding options. However, just because your baby can use a blanket doesn't mean they're ready to do so.
Many parents continue to use a sleep sack for much longer since it's a familiar and comfortable option. If your child hasn't outgrown theirs, they can continue using it safely until they're about 30 pounds.
Children aren't identical. What works for one may not work for another, including when they're ready to give up their sleep sack.
Some babies are happy using a sleep sack until they're toddlers. Others may be eager to move on long before then. Often, these children prefer to have full range of motion during the night and feel more comfortable with a lighter blanket.
So, if your baby is constantly trying to wiggle out of their sleep sack or seems frustrated when inside it, it may be time to ditch it. Allowing them the freedom to move around at night can help them feel more comfortable and, as a result, sleep better.
And when your baby sleeps better, you sleep better.
What To Do When You Stop Using A Sleep Sack
If you think your baby is ready to try something different at night, ask yourself one simple question: Is my little one old enough to use a light blanket safely?
You can begin transitioning them from a sleep sack to a blanket after their first birthday. If you decide to try, you can attempt to make the change cold turkey. Some kids can do this without a fuss.
But since change can be hard on kids, don’t be surprised if your child needs a little time to adjust. If they balk at the idea of tossing their sleep sack, try this gentle transition:
Start by introducing a light, breathable blanket to use during nap time. Let your little one get used to seeing, smelling, and feeling it. But continue to use the sleep sack as well for its familiarity.
After a few days, use the blanket at night and during naptime. At this point, integrate it into your bedtime routine by snuggling underneath it while you read a bedtime story. This will help your child begin to associate the blanket with positive things.
During this time, begin covering your child with a top sheet while they’re in the sleep sack. It won’t add much weight or heat to their bed, but the sheet will help them get used to the feeling of being covered.
Then, when you're both ready, ditch the sleep sack altogether and tuck your child in with their new blanket to let them enjoy the freedom of sleeping without restriction.
If they wake up during the night, you can always offer the sleep sack back to them for comfort, but soon they’ll be sleeping fine without it.
Most importantly, trust your parenting instincts when making this decision. You know your child best and will be able to tell when they're ready to make the switch.
Of course, if you have concerns about your child transitioning from a sleep sack to a blanket, always consult your pediatrician. They can help set your mind at ease and offer additional advice.
What If Your Child Isn’t Yet One?
The above transition plan only works if your child is at least one year old. As we mentioned, a blanket isn't a safe alternative to a sleep sack if they're not. In that case, you'll want to look for another way to keep your baby warm at night.
One option is to layer their clothing. The extra layers can help them stay warm without the risk of suffocation. But being too warm can also cause problems.
Too many layers can make it harder for your baby to regulate their temperature and can lead to overheating. A good rule of thumb is to dress your baby in one extra layer than you would wear to bed.
You can also use the thermostat in your home to help regulate the temperature in their room. The ideal sleeping temperature for babies is between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
If your home doesn't have central heating, you can use a space heater to help warm up the nursery, but make sure to take the necessary safety precautions. For example, place the heater out of reach and never leave it on overnight. The risk of a fire is just too high.
Another option is to try a different sleep sack. Perhaps the current one doesn't feel nice on your baby's skin, so it’s making them fuss. The extreme comfort of our Sleep Sack For Babies can make all the difference. It's unbelievably soft!
Additionally, our sleep sack is large enough to accommodate your growing child up to about 30 pounds. If their previous sleep sack is smaller and getting snug, a larger one might help get them to their first birthday and beyond more comfortably.
Keep Your Baby Comfortable All Night
There's no “right” age when you need to stop using a sleep sack for your baby. But some signs signal it might be time to ditch it. For example, your baby’s size, age, and comfort level can indicate when it’s time to move on.
If your little one isn't a year old yet, they can't safely use a blanket. Instead, consider switching to our Sleep Sack For Babies. Its comfortable construction and large size might help your baby sleep soundly all night long.
And then, when they're old enough, your toddler can easily transition to a blanket following the tips above. Of course, using a blanket is a big milestone for your child. But, with a bit of preparation, it can be a smooth and positive experience for everyone!