If you’re getting ready to welcome your first baby, you may be surprised at the vast array of infant-specific products on the market. From tools to suck boogers from your baby’s nose to high-tech diaper pails, there’s seemingly no end to the number of products designed to make your life easier and your baby’s life safer and more enjoyable.
When it comes to bedtime, you’ve likely taken a lot of care in picking the perfect crib for your child — but how much thought have you given to blankets and other crib dressings? While loose blankets are not advisable for use in cribs per the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), weighted sleep sacks are an alternative that will keep your baby both safe and comfortable. Here’s what you need to know.
What is a Sleep Sack?
A sleep sack is just what it sounds like. It’s a sack that you sleep in. Unlike a traditional blanket that you might place over your baby (which can pose a suffocation or SIDS risk), a sleep sack fits around your baby and zips or buttons up, kind of like a baby sleeping bag. Sometimes the sleep sack features armholes, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Sleep sacks are designed to give babies extra comfort and warmth at bedtime, but without the risks that come with traditional blankets and other crib dressings. They’re a little easier to use than the swaddling method, too, and you can remove them and replace them quickly in the event of an emergency diaper change.
What is a Weighted Sleep Sack?
A weighted sleep sack is just like a regular sleep sack but with some added weight to help reduce anxiety and stress. Just like you might use a weighted blanket at night to help you feel more at ease as you drift off to sleep, a weighted sleep sack can potentially provide the same experience for your child.
Weighted Sleep Sacks vs. Regular Sleep Sacks
It should be noted that weighted sleep sacks and their safety are still up for debate. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents not to use weighted sleep sacks as they may pose a breathing risk if they place too much pressure on the baby’s chest.
However, one study published by the National Association of Neonatal Nurses found that the blankets posed no risk.
According to the study, “A total of 16 patients were enrolled for a total of 67 weighted blanket sessions. To address safety, no adverse events were observed, the weighted blankets were never removed due to infant distress, and infants experienced no significant temperature change. To address feasibility, 94% of approached mothers were receptive to the use of weighted blankets and staff reported no obstacles to using the blanket. Finally, to assess effectiveness, there was a significant decrease in the infant’s heart rate and Finnegan score when a weighted blanket was used. There was no significant change in respiratory rate with the use of a weighted blanket.”
Whether or not you use a weighted sleep sack for your baby will be a personal decision based on what you feel is the safest, most beneficial option. You can talk to your pediatrician to learn more and gauge whether or not the benefits of using a weighted sleep sack outweigh the potential risks.
Top 2 Weighted Sleep Sacks for Soothing Sleep
Think this might be just the solution to get your fussy baby to sleep, fast? Here are the two best weighted sleep sacks for a soothing sleep.
The Dreamland Weighted Sleep Sack comes in more than 10 beautiful colors and designs, and it’s suitable for little ones ages zero to six months. The quilted fabric conceals a built-in swaddle band and gentle weights. It also zips up to a baby’s neck for a comfortable fit. The swaddle band can be adjusted to give your baby support wherever they prefer it, whether they like to have both arms tucked in, both arms outside the band, or one arm in and one arm out.
According to the brand, 100% of parents who used the Dreamland Weighted Sleep Sack saw their babies’ sleep times increase anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours per night, and 92% of parents saw improvement in sleep quality within just one week of use.
The sack is made from a sensitive, skin-safe, 100% cotton knit material that’s lightweight and breathable. The weight comes from non-toxic, safe beads that provide just the slightest amount of pressure. It’s also machine washable.
All Zen sleepwear products for infants are gently weighted. This simple sleep sack buttons at the shoulders and zips near the bottom, and is sleeveless, with a large, triangular sack that allows your baby easy leg movement. The amount of weight is just enough to mimic a parent’s touch.
The Zen Sack is suitable for infants in sizes zero to 24 months, and it’s made from 100% breathable cotton that you can machine wash and dry. The brand reports that the sack “exceeds the most stringent safety standards by 3x” and is a good alternative to all-weighted sleepwear.
The result? Zen Sack says that using this sack will give your baby better sleep in just one to three nights.
Alternatives to Weighted Sleep Sacks
There are really only two main weighted sleep sacks on the market, the Zen Sack and the Dreamland Weighted Sleep Sack. However, you’ll have more sleep sack options if you go for an unweighted sack. Here are a few to consider.
Halo is one of the best-known brands in the sleep sack game and is often considered the brand that pioneered the sleep sack for babies. You can buy Halo sleep sacks in a variety of materials and designs. The cotton sleep sacks are a little bit better for avoiding overheating and warmer temperatures, but the Ideal Temp option keeps babies comfortable in both cold and warm weather, helping regulate your baby’s temperature as needed.
All of the sleep sacks are sleeveless and feature zippers, so you can quickly remove them or just unzip them slightly to make an easy diaper change. Plus, the triangular design is intended to ensure your baby’s hips develop properly (which can’t happen when baby’s legs are restricted).
Created by a parent who lost their firstborn to SIDS, Halo is now a leading choice for hospitals, so you know it’s a brand you can trust to keep your baby as safe as possible.
This Burt’s Bees sleep sack is also a favorite. Available in a range of patterns and colors, the wearable blankets are made from organic materials and are sleeveless, with large neck openings that can further help prevent overheating.
If you want a sleep sack with a swaddling feature, Love to Dream has you covered (and with products that are available on Amazon for convenient shipping). Love to Dream’s products can be used from birth to four years, with a three-stage sleep system that allows you to go from swaddling to transitional sleeping to free sleeping with ease.
The swaddle variant of the sleep sack features no sleeves, but it isn’t sleeveless, either. Instead, it contains your baby’s entire body within the sack, with extra mobility in the arm section to allow for self-soothing and a wide bottom to allow for healthy hip development, but then a narrow waist to provide that swaddling comfort.
Available in a handful of colors and patterns, in sizes from 0000M to 12M, the Cocoon Swaddle Sack will easily zip (with a 2-way zipper) up and swaddle your baby and, as the brand says, is “designed to be both easy to use and difficult to escape from.” Made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, the sack is TOG-rated for warmth and stretchiness. It will also convert to a sleeping bag as needed.
What to Look for When Shopping for a Sleep Sack
Weighted or not, there are a few things you’ll want to consider as you shop for a sleep sack, whether you purchase one of our above-suggested options or you shop elsewhere.
Obviously, you want the sleep sack to be made from materials that are safe for use around infants but also think about breathability and ease of cleaning.
Are you worried about overheating and need a lightweight, breathable material? Or do you live in a cold climate where you’re worried about baby being too cold, so you’d prefer something a little warmer?
Is the sack made from an easy-to-clean, machine-washable material, or will it require hand washing? While the latter may not be a huge deal for some new parents, others may find it to be just too much of an inconvenience, especially when dealing with all the other chores that come with a newborn.
While look and appearance may not be your top concern when picking a product for your baby that’s more useful than aesthetic, you probably would prefer a weighted sleep sack that matches your baby’s wardrobe and nursery decor.
Sleep Sack FAQs
Still have questions? We’ve got answers.
Do weighted sleep sacks actually work?
Many parents report that their babies sleep more soundly and for longer periods of time when using a weighted sleep sack. While it might not be a perfect fit for every family, if you’re struggling with getting your baby to sleep, this might be an option to try.
Are sleep sacks safe?
Yes, and, in fact, using sleep sacks is actually safer than some of the alternatives. A sleep sack can’t be inadvertently pulled over your baby’s face, and the sack can help prevent excess movement, both of which are situations that can increase suffocation or SIDS risk.
That said, do note, though, that you’ll have to judge a particular product’s safety for your baby based on your own research and the product maker’s claims. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should not “use weighted swaddles or weighted blankets, which can place too much pressure on a baby’s chest and lungs.” However, other studies have found no proof of this.
How early can you use a weighted sleep sack?
Some sleep sacks are intended for newborns, so, depending on the sleep sack you buy, there’s no minimum age for use.
When should babies not use a weighted sleep sack?
If you feel that a weighted sleep sack is safe for your child, you can use a weighted sleep sack from the newborn age up until the point your baby learns to roll. If your baby has started rolling, you can still use a weighted sleep sack, but you have to make sure that there’s no swaddling feature or that you’re not using the swaddling feature. Swaddling can make it difficult for your baby to roll, so they could end up rolling onto their stomach and then be unable to roll back over onto their back, which increases suffocation and SIDS risk.
Do I need a sleeveless or sleeved sleep sack?
If you’re worried about your baby overheating, you may want to consider a sleeveless sleep sack.
Give Your Baby Better Sleep
Whether you go with a weighted sleep sack or an alternative option, all you likely want is to give your baby a better, higher-quality sleep experience (so you can sleep better, too!). Sleeper sacks can make that possible. Do your research and decide which sleep sack is your baby’s best fit and get to sleep, stat.
You might also be interested in: How To Build Any Nursery For First Time Parents [Checklist]
The Best Weighted Sleep Slacks & Alternatives:
- Dreamland Baby Weighted Sleep Sack
- The Nested Bean Zen Sack
- The Halo Sleepsack
- Burt’s Bees Baby Wearable Blanket
- Love to Dream Swaddle Sleep Sack
- ergoPouch Cocoon Sleep Swaddle Sack