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Sleep Sacks Vs. Swaddling

When it comes to getting infants the sleep they need, many parents choose the swaddling approach given that it is what is recommended by hospitals. However, because not all babies respond to swaddling and some parents have a hard time getting the art of the swaddle down, they look for other options to get babies the sleep they need during naps and at night. But when this happens, parents wonder whether sleep sacks are as effective as swaddling or if babies will be less rested not being wrapped up in a swaddle.

Unlike years ago, there are many options available on the market to help babies get their recommended sleep. Some of the most popular are swaddling blankets and sleep sacks. And while both make sleep easier for babies, especially those who still have the Moro reflex and can startle themselves awake in the middle of slumber, parents can be confused if they should be using both methods or if one is better than the other. But because each serves a purpose, parents cannot go wrong, regardless of which method they choose as long as they take age and developmental milestones into account when making their decision.

RELATED: 15 Crucial Things To Know About Swaddling A Baby

Here is information for those wondering if sleep sacks are as effective as swaddling.

What Swaddling Is


via Pexels/Sarah Chai

When swaddling is done correctly, it is a very effective way of getting babies to fall asleep and stay asleep longer versus being placed into a bassinet or crib in pajamas alone. This is because babies’ bodies are kept “comfortably snug” in the swaddle, which reminds them of being in the womb, according to healthline. And with 90 percent of babies across the nation being swaddled in their first weeks of life, according to the publication, it is one of the most popular methods of helping babies to sleep soundly.

The key to a good swaddle is to make sure that it is tight enough so that babies who are still experiencing the Moro reflex are not being jolted awake during their sleep. This is because when the startle reflex occurs, sometimes it is large enough to wake babies even from the deepest of slumbers. And because both babies and parents need their sleep, this is not beneficial for anyone involved.

Swaddling is generally used for the first three months of life but then is not recommended, according to the publication, as babies can roll over at that age which makes the swaddle unsafe to use.

What A Sleep Sack Is

For parents who may have a hard time with swaddling, using a sleep sack is another alternative to making babies feel secure while they sleep. And because a sleep sack is another method in which to limit babies’ mobility while they sleep, according to Kyte Baby, it is quite effective when it comes to helping babies sleep.

While all sleep sacks have armholes, there are different versions of the sacks available. Some have sleeves to put babies’ arms through during the colder months, while others have velcro straps without sleeves for warmer weather. Both versions limit how much babies can move their legs while sleeping, which helps little ones sleep more securely.

Instead of worrying about tucking the blanket securely around a baby to keep them from moving too much while sleeping, a sleep sack either has velcro or a zipper to keep the baby safely in their sleep sack. And not surprisingly, many parents find this to be an easier option than mastering the art of the swaddle.

Many parents may choose to use a sleep sack when babies become mobile and can roll over in their beds. However, they are completely safe to use from birth, according to Kyte Baby.

Should Parents Choose Swaddling Over Using A Sleep Sack

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via Flickr/TwoPointsCouture

At the end of the day, the goal is to get babies to sleep and to sleep soundly. And this is something that both a sleep sack and swaddling provide.

The main difference between the two methods of giving babies the feeling of security while they sleep, according to Busy Blooming Joy is that a swaddle provides a “deep pressure touch” to babies that keeps them from moving while they sleep. And while a sleep sack provides a bit of this, it is more of a way for a baby to wear a blanket safely to protect them from falling victim to SIDS.

With that said, however, one is not better than the other. It all depends on what babies prefer.

Not all babies are going to respond positively to a swaddle, according to Sleep Advisor. And because of this, having the option of providing them with an alternative in the form of a sleep sack that keeps them warm but not as confined may be all that they need.

Alternatively, some babies may need the extra security of being wrapped snug like a burrito to sleep soundly. In that case, a sleep sack would not be a good option for these babies.

For most parents, according to the publication, both modes of helping babies to sleep are used. This is because many will begin with the swaddle and transition to the sleep sack to ensure that both babies and parents alike get a good night of sleep.

Therefore, there is no right method to helping babies sleep snugly during the night. It is all based on the preference of babies and their parents and which methods work best for them.

Source: healthline, Busy Blooming Joy, Sleep Advisor, Kyte Baby

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