There are more baby sleepwear choices than ever before. Sleep sack vs swaddle. Bamboo or cotton. 0.5 and 1.0 and 1.5 TOG. It’s enough to make your head spin.
The availability of so many products means you have unlimited access to items that best meet the needs of your unique little one. But it also allows you to end up down a rabbit hole of research as you try to decide what’s just right. Fortunately, some factors help make that decision for you. When it’s time to choose between a sleep sack or swaddle, take into account your little one’s age, mobility, and preferences, to decide the go-to for your babe.
Understanding the Difference: Swaddles vs Sleep Bags
Two of the most popular products to keep baby snug and warm while they’re snoozing are swaddles and sleep sacks. Both have their merits and place in your child’s developmental needs for sleep.
A traditional swaddle is a lightweight blanket that’s wrapped tightly around an infant to keep them warm and restrict their arm movement. A square blanket is laid flat, and the top corner is folded down. Baby is then laid on top of the blanket with their head above the folded corner. One side is folded over, followed by the bottom corner being folded up. Finally, the other side is folded over and tucked in tight to keep baby wrapped up securely and control that pesky startle reflex.
The swaddling process itself is simple enough, but sometimes it takes longer to get baby wrapped up than it takes them to break out of the swaddle. Babies are tiny but mighty, and their commitment to wriggling free is impressive and unrivaled… that’s why we love swaddle wraps so much!
Swaddle wraps, sometimes known as swaddle sleep bags, offer an easier and more dependable way to swaddle an infant. They’re typically designed to have loose fabric around the legs, with a way to secure baby’s arms snug at their sides. Some have flaps that are wrapped around the baby’s chest and arms and then secured by velcro. In other swaddle wraps (like ours), baby’s arms are simply zipped up snug – easy peasy. It’s a quick and convenient way to keep your infant wrapped up tight.
If you’ve ever spent much time around a newborn, you know how jerky their movements can be. One loud noise is all it takes to startle them out of a deep sleep, and for some babies, their uncontrollable arm movement is enough to prevent them from settling for a much, much needed nap. A tightly wrapped swaddle sleep bag that stays in place helps baby get better sleep so they wake up bright-eyed and ready for some tummy time.
A sleep sack or sleep bag is a wearable blanket that’s safe for a baby to sleep in. Unlike swaddles, sleep sacks have arm holes or sleeves instead of fabric to wrap the arms up. As a result, baby’s arm movement is unrestricted, ensuring they have the ability to adjust themselves once they start rolling over.
The way a sleep sack fits around a baby’s shoulders and arms prevents it from riding up and covering their face. The sleep bag will also stay in place while your little one flops around the crib all night. It’s the safest way to keep them warm and comfortable at bedtime, so you can both get some shut-eye.
Should You Choose a Swaddle or Sleep Bag for Your Little One?
There are a few key factors that will influence whether your little should be using a swaddle or sleep sack:
Swaddling is more suitable for newborns & younger infants that still have a strong startle reflex. A tight swaddle keeps their arms firmly in place so they don’t jerk themselves awake right as they settle into a deep sleep. Swaddles are meant to mimic the feeling of the womb and many young babies prefer this comfort as they transition to life outside of mom during the fourth trimester.
Mobility & Milestones
Once babies start rolling, swaddling with arms in becomes unsafe and it may be time to transition to a sleep sack. If your little one can consistently houdini out of the swaddle, they may also be communicating that they’re ready for arms out swaddling – or babies over 3 months may be ready for a sleep sack instead.
Your baby’s personality is already shining through and they’re letting their opinions known! Some infants prefer the snug fit of a swaddle, while others prefer the freedom of a sleep sack sooner rather than later.
Most newborn babies thrive in the snug and cozy feel of a swaddle, and swaddle wraps are the easiest way to ensure baby stays wrapped up tight and warm. While the goal of dressing your little one for sleep is to keep them as comfortable as possible, safety is always the number one priority. With most swaddles, as soon as an infant is able to roll over, it’s time to transition to a sleep sack. However, with gunamuna’s swaddle wrap, the arm holes can be unzipped to use with arms out – so your little one can continue to use our swaddle as long as it fits!
Our swaddle wrap is made of ultra-soft bamboo viscose and filled with hypoallergenic microfiber that mimics the feel and insulating ability of luxury down. The swaddle wrap is designed to prevent baby from wiggling free, and an optional inside belly band helps control that pesky startle reflex. In between milestones? Our transitional swaddle is the perfect stepping stone for your growing baby!
Available in 0.5, 1.0, and 2.6 TOG, our sleep bags are also magically soft for maximum comfort. They gently cocoon your baby in a comforting weight to increase serotonin + relaxation. By giving the same all-over sensation as a full-on, giant cuddle, the sleep bags help reduce anxiety – the only thing your baby needs to worry about is which paci they want to sleep with.
Both products feature the WONDERZiP Diaper-Zipper. This 4-way zipper unzips at the bottom so baby can stay comfortably wrapped up (and hopefully asleep) for those middle-of-the-night diaper changes. The extra wide bottom of our swaddles and sleep bags allow your little one to comfortably fold their legs in the natural frog position.
Ready for easier nights? Shop all gunamuna sleepwear and find the perfect nighttime wardrobe for your little one.