My best sleep aid as a sleep consultant? Sleeping bag. Absolutely! Given all the sleep products out there for newborns upwards you may think I’m mad (or just slightly boring). Hear me out. OK, so not only do these ‘wearable blankets’ look totally cute, but they are great for many practical reasons too.
To ensure safe sleep, the NHS and the Lullaby Trust recommend a room temperature of between 16-20 degrees. We also need to ensure the cot is kept completely clear of any loose bedding and other items.
Sleeping bags (or sleep sacks) are not designed to be used with any additional outer layers such as blankets, duvets etc. which ticks all the boxes above. They’re also designed with seasons in mind to make sure our kiddies stay the perfect temperature all night long. They won’t wake hot and sweaty, nor feel icy cold. You can also adapt the type of bag to suit your home, for example if it’s naturally cold and drafty or really hot at certain times of the year, or if you’re traveling to a different climate. Unlike a traditional blanket set up, by using a sleeping bag, your little one will remain tangle free and importantly their head will remain uncovered.
A common reason for children waking at night is because they’re cold. I speak with well meaning parents who have ‘promoted’ their little one to a toddler duvet and pillow set a little too early. Toddlers can find it hard to replace a duvet that has fallen off during the night as they don’t yet have the awareness and dexterity to replace it easily. As a result, they may wake up cold and call out, needing your help to tuck back in. Don’t worry, it’s never too late to go back to a bag! Sleeping bags can go all the way up to the age of 3, so they can transition out of the bag to a toddler duvet set when they’re developmentally able to replace it alone.
Got an active one? Another pro of a sleeping bag is it limits the child’s movement. Only slightly, it’s not a straight jacket! They can still move freely in the bag, helping to roll and settle into a comfortable position, but they won’t be able to hoist their leg up onto the cot side. This helps stop the little ninja wannabes from being able to climb (or fall!) out of their cot. This helps children remain in their cot until they’re ready to transition into a toddler bed, and have the impulse control not to keep getting out!
Check the sleeping bag is suitable for your baby’s age and weight. Luckily Ergobaby Sleeping Bags are suitable for newborns whereas some will start from when the baby is 4kg upwards. Your newborn may be quite happy in a bag straight away or you may choose to swaddle for the first weeks. Families find themselves transferring from a swaddle to sleeping bag around the 3-4 month mark or when their baby first shows signs of rolling. This transition often goes easier than expected but if your baby is struggling then try the bag instead of swaddle for the first part of their night sleep – it’s when they’re likely to be at their most tired and less likely to object! Like with any change to habits and routines at this age, practice makes perfect. The more opportunities they’re given to experience something new, the less unusual it starts to feel and the greater the acceptance.
You can read the rest of this blog post on the Ergobaby website here!