Creating a baby registry is one of the most fun and also most stressful things I’ve ever done. There are so many amazing products out there, how in the world are you supposed to choose? What is a “must have”? What might be fun but unnecessary? Which brands are better?
One of the many categories of baby items to look into is sleeping gear. And one piece of baby and toddler sleeping gear that is not a must, but is a great bonus, is sleep sacks…I’m a big fan!
In this blog post, I will explain:
- Why sleep sacks are so great for baby and toddler sleep
- The best newborn swaddles
- The best transitional swaddles and sleep sacks
- The best baby sleep sacks
- The best toddler sleep sacks, both closed and with leg holes
- Popular sleep sacks I don’t recommend
OR you can watch this video to learn about why I love sleep sacks for babies and toddlers and why Woolino is my favorite brand!
Why I Love Sleep Sacks for Both Babies and Toddlers
I have used sleep sacks with both of my girls since we transitioned them out of the swaddle, and they are currently three years old and one! So when I say we love sleep sacks, we really do!
First, sleep sacks are a great physical reminder in the nap and bedtime routine that sleep is coming (and auditory, with the zipper!). My girls often started yawning or rubbing their eyes as soon as they got in their sleep sacks.
They are also really easy to bring when traveling or sleeping at daycare, giving your child one more piece of “home” while away. Especially for babies under 12 months who can’t yet have a “lovey” or comfort item.
Sleep sacks also help keep babies and toddlers warm at night! It is not safe for babies under 12 months to have anything in the crib the with them, and I’ve not seen many toddlers actually able to stay under a blanket while sleeping. So zipping my girls in their sleep sacks gives me the peace of mind that they’re warm all night long.
Finally, sleep sacks can help prevent some toddlers from climbing out of their cribs; it makes it much harder to swing their legs over the side of the crib.
Now here’s a little guide on my favorite baby and toddler sleep sacks, from me to you.
Newborn Sleep Sacks- The Best Swaddles
Why is swaddling important for newborns?
Before I talk about which swaddles are great, let’s talk about swaddling! Although sleep sacks are not a must for great sleep skills, I view swaddles for newborns a bit differently.
Although there are no requirements, I STRONGLY suggest all newborns be swaddled for any naps or night time sleep that’s occurring in their bassinet or crib. Not only does swaddling help minimize the startle reflex we’ve all seen stir or wake a sleeping babe, but swaddling is one of Dr. Karp’s famous Five S’s to soothe a crying baby.
Swaddling helps give our newborns a similar feeling of security like when they were in our womb, and even in non-sleep situations, can help calm a fussy infant.
So here are my two favorite swaddles:
The SwaddleMe swaddles were the only ones we ever tried and we loved them! The Velcro made it much easier to keep our girls in the swaddle rather than trusting our own skills with swaddle blankets, and they were especially easy after those middle of the night feedings.
Love to Dream
Although I’ve never used them personally, I know many people who love them! The Love to Dream swaddle allows babies to sleep with their arms up, which some babies seem to prefer, yet it still prevents the startle reflex from waking the infant.
Aden and Anais swaddle blankets are also amazing (and cute!) for a million and one reasons, but unless you are a hospital-grade swaddler or you’re in a bind, I would not recommend swaddling your baby for sleep with one of these blankets. Newborns wiggle around quite a bit in their sleep and it’s not hard for them to wiggle right out of a swaddle blanket.
The Best Transitional Swaddles and Sleep Sacks
Although swaddles are amazing and I sure do love those newborn baby burrito days, there does come a time, between 8-12 weeks old, when it’s time to transition out of the swaddle. So what’s next?
Halo SleepSack Swaddle
Once again, Halo Sleep Sacks were were the only transitional sleep sacks we had when Olivia was born and they worked well for us, so we didn’t try anything else!
What I love is that you can still use it as a swaddle if your swaddle is getting a bit too small, but you can also swaddle one arm in, one arm out, and even once both arms are out, you can keep the baby’s body snug!
I have not used a Zipadee-Zip personally, but again, I know many people who have and rave about them. Your baby will essentially look like the cutest flying squirrel you ever did see.
The Zipadee-Zip is safe for older babies, as they can roll both ways in them, but for those still struggling with the startle reflex, this is a good transitional sleep sack, as it does not allow babies to fully extend their arms.
I will note, some babies get more frustrated with Zipadee-Zip, because although they can bring their hands to their mouth, they don’t have full access because there’s fabric over their hands.
What should babies sleep in when they’re no longer swaddled?
Once babies have successfully transitioned out of the swaddle, you have two choices: you can either continue living the sleep sack life (I’m all about it), or you can drop the sleep sack altogether.
The Best Sleep Sacks for Babies
I am forever grateful for the friend who gifted us with a Woolino sleeping bag at our baby shower, because I would have otherwise missed out! That gift not only spurred on my forever love for them, but for a few other new mamas who were there, as well.
We love the 4 Season Ultimate Baby Sleep Bags – they fit from 2-24 months and they’re amazing quality!
Avery now wears the baby sleep sacks Olivia wore, and despite their millions of washes and stain removings, they are still just as soft (not itchy, like you might assume wool to be!).
Merino wool is also magical…it helps kids remain at a consistent temperature, so babies will stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter; my girls wear them year round!
They can also be worn in the car seat…could it get any better??
I’ve not used a Bitta Kidda with my girls, but I’ve heard great things!
As you can see in the picture, a unique feature of these sleep sacks is that there are little “lovies” safely secured on the chest, and as it’s not safe to give your baby a stand-alone lovey or stuffed animal until they’re 12 months old, younger babies are able to use those attachments to help them self-soothe.
The Halo sleep sacks are another popular option and are on the less expensive side!
They are fairly light weight, so if your baby’s room tends to run on the cooler side and you’re looking to keep them warm, the Halo sleep sack isn’t the best option.
The Best Toddler Sleep Sacks
Most people think sleep sacks are just for babies, but there are also some toddler options, and like I said, I’m a sleep sack mama through and through, so you better believe Olivia (3) still wears one!
Once again, Woolino is our favorite and we’ve not tried another toddler sleep sack. We love the 4 Season Ultimate Toddler Sleep Bags, as they fit from ages 2-4 years old.
Woolino also has sleep bags with feet, but we prefer the sleep bags so I know her feet are warm, and there’s much less of a chance she could climb out of her crib.
Olivia never attached to a lovey, but her sleep sack is absolutely her comfort device. I’ve heard of some kids who end up cuddling their old sleep sacks once they grow out of them, and I won’t be surprised if that’s our kiddo.
Halo Big Kids Sleepsack
Once again, Halo has a toddler option, as well!
These sleep sacks have little foot holes, too. If you’re mostly interested in using a sleep sack to give your toddler an extra layer at night, and to be a physical reminder that sleep is coming, this is a great option.
I will say, I’m not as big of a fan of sleep sacks with feet. One, I would be worried about my daughter’s feet getting cold.
And two, sleep sacks with feet make crib climbing easier than a sleep sack without feet.
Popular Sleep Sacks I Don’t Suggest
Why is the Magic Merlin not on my list, you may ask? I just don’t think they’re necessary. Although they allow your child to have their arms and legs “free,” the adorable marshmallow suit does not allow for much movement.
And the whole point of transitioning out of the swaddle is to give babies the ability to move, as it’s such a big part of self-soothing.
So I would prefer transitioning from the swaddle into something that allows more movement, rather than transitioning to another sleep sack that could later require another transition.
Someone actually gifted us a Nested Bean sleep sack when we had our first baby, and although the idea is clever, it’s just not necessary. There is a little weighted shape on the chest that is supposed to resemble the feeling of a parents’ hand.
Well let me tell you, in our months of sleeplessness with Olivia, we tried our Nested Bean just to see if it would magically help, and it certainly did not.
Because it wasn’t a matter of products, it was a matter of sleep skills!
Also, if a baby rolls over while wearing the Nested Bean, she will likely be uncomfortable sleeping on the weighted part, and we want babies to be able to roll around and move as part of self-soothing.
So I would rather teach a child to sleep independently and self-soothe than rely on a specific product.
Even though I’ve narrowed down the options for you, I know it’s still overwhelming! With all of this, I want to make one thing clear…even the most amazing sleep sack is NOT going to be the trick that teaches your baby to fall asleep and sleep through the night.
Sleep sacks are NOT required for great sleep! I think they’re an amazing tool and certainly have their perks, but they are not going to make the difference between sleep and no sleep – a good sleep plan will.
So if you have found yourself in the never ending search for the “perfect product” that will get your baby sleeping, I’ve been there! But from one parent to another, it doesn’t exist.
So that’s where I come in with a personalized sleep plan to help you approach your child’s sleep with confidence! Book a free discovery call to chat more about what this could look like!
(Oh, and if you’re wondering what other products I love for babies, toddlers, and sleep, head here!)
Note that this blog contains some affiliate links, but the reviews are from my personal use.