Winter is here, which means that your baby may begin waking at night (especially in the wee hours of the morning) because he’s cold. However, it’s a simple sleep problem to solve – it’s time for a sleeping bag. This is essentially a wearable blanket and not to be confused with outdoor camping bags.
Benefits of using a baby sleeping bag
- Better sleep. I don’t know a single parent who doesn’t yearn for a night of uninterrupted sleep! As there are no sheets or blankets to kick off, your baby won’t wake up cold. A bag also keeps your baby at a consistent warm temperature. The cosier your baby, the better he’ll sleep.
- Safety. Not only are sleep bags super snuggly, they’re actually much safer than loose blankets. Since 2005, the American Academy of Pediatrics has suggested the use of wearable blankets because loose sheets and blankets pose a major suffocation threat.
- Comfort. A sleeping bag can act as a familiar ‘comforter’ for your baby, making sleep times easier even when he’s away from home, or during travelling, and eases the transition from basket to cot and cot to bed.
- Sleep association cues. Your baby will quickly develop a sleep association where sleeping bag = bedtime.
Choosing the right tog
Many baby sleeping bags have a certain thickness, known as the tog rating. The higher the tog, the warmer the bag. As South Africa’s climate is relatively moderate, it’s not necessary to change bags with the seasons. A 2 or a 2.5 tog rating is generally ideal for our climate.
How to safely use a baby sleeping bag
- Never use an additional blanket with a sleep bag as this may cause your baby to overheat. The only other bedding required is a fitted cot sheet.
- If additional warmth is needed you can dress your baby in layers of clothing, but make sure this is appropriate for the room temperature. An ideal nursery temperature should be between 16°C and 20°C.
- Be sure to buy the right size. If it’s too big, your baby may slip down into the bag during the night.
- Don’t use one with an attached hood – it’s believed this can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Best sleeping bag options
Many major baby retailers now sell sleeping bags. These are a fair amount cheaper than branded versions, but they’re still soft and snuggly with 100% cotton outers and linings. Don’t be alarmed that the filling is polyester – as long as the part that touches your baby’s skin is cotton, it’s good to go.
Tip: If you’re interested in buying a better quality product, it may be a good idea to try one of these first. Not all babies will take to a sleeping bag – some find it too constricting.
Baby Sense Winter Sleeping Bag, R500
Available online at www.babysense.co.za
The Baby Sense Winter Sleeping Bag is designed to keep your little one at the perfect temperature on wintery nights, preventing the risk of overheating or becoming too cold. The design also ensures that your little one is covered throughout the night as many babies tend to kick off their blankets and swaddles as they get a little older which causes them to cool down in the early hours of the morning, leading to night wakings. The sleeping bag is made from 100% cotton which helps reduce the risk of overheating.
Tommee Tippee – Grobag Snuggle, R539
Available online from takealot.com
The new snuggle has an hourglass profile for an even better fit, while the super soft fabric creates a comforting swaddled feeling that’s reassuringly snug on top while allowing for a hip-healthy natural leg position on the bottom. The two-way zip means nappy changes (especially during the night) are a breeze.
Clevamama ClevaSwaddle Bag (0-3 Months), R336
Available online from www.loot.co.za
The Cleva Mama 3 in 1 Swaddle Sleep Bag has a removable wrap that is interchangeable and grows with your baby. Made from 100% cotton it is guaranteed to be gentle on your baby’s soft skin. Stage 1: Allows you to completely swaddle your baby and help prevent startle reflex one of the main reasons your baby wakes during the night. Stage 2: Allows you to gently introduce your baby to free style sleeping while they still feel the security and closeness of their wrap. Gentle tummy wrapping can help alleviate the discomfort of trapped wind. Stage 3: Allows your baby more movement for free style sleeping while ensuring they remain covered at all times.
Love To Dream Swaddle Up, R379
Available online from www.bambanino.com
The Swaddle UP is the only zip-up swaddle available that allows your baby to sleep in the arms UP position. The Swaddle UPrequires no complicated wrapping, so everyone can swaddle right every time.
Slumbersac Winter Baby Sleeping Bag with Sleeves(6 -18 months), R844
Available online from www.manicaa.com
This sleeping bag has a 3.5 Tog and is suitable for use in room temperatures below 18 degrees. It’s made from 100% cotton with 100% polyester padding.
A final tip:
From my experience, you really want to own more than one bag. You never know when a wet nappy will leak at 2am and you need to have a back-up when the other is in the wash.
This isn’t a problem with the cheaper products, but if you’ve invested in a bag with a hefty price tag, it may not be financially viable to own more than one. So keep this in mind when making your final decision.
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