A sleeping bag is a safer alternative to loose blankets since it keeps your baby’s feet from becoming caught between the bars of their cot.
Spring is just around the corner, which means that your baby may begin waking at night (especially in the wee hours of the morning) because he’s too hot under all those winter covers. However, it’s a simple sleep problem to solve – it’s time for a thin and lightweight sleeping bag.
The many benefits of using a baby sleeping bag
Better sleep: We 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 consistently warm temperature.
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 and security: 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.
How to choose the right sleeping bag for your baby
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 sleeping 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.