Differences Between a Sleep Sack and a Swaddle

The world is a large, open place for newborns and infants. Wrapping your baby with the right fabric can make them feel more content and secure. Learn the differences between a sleep sack and a swaddle—two popular ways to keep your baby warm and snug.

The Sleep Sack

A sleep sack is a wearable blanket that looks like a sleeping bag. The baby’s arms are out of the sack, while their abdomen, legs, and feet are covered by the sleep sack. You close sleep sacks with zippers or snaps.

The sleep sack keeps your baby warm and doesn’t pose a suffocation risk like blankets do. And unlike swaddling, sleep sacks are baggy around your baby’s hips; this looseness can promote good hip development.

Important Tips for Using a Sleep Sack

Make sure to put your baby in a properly fitted sleep sack and change it for another size as they grow. Like all garments that keep your baby warm, choose a sleep sack that adequately warms your baby without overheating them.

The garment’s thermal overall grade (TOG) measures how much heat the clothing retains. The higher the TOG, the more heat it retains. Therefore, the colder your baby’s environment, the higher the TOG rating of the sleep sack you should choose. Alternatively, warmer environments call for sleep sacks with lower TOG ratings.

The Swaddle

A swaddle is a small blanket, often made from muslin, that wraps around the baby’s entire body. One of the primary differences between a sleep sack and a swaddle is that the baby’s arms are free in the sleep sack, but a swaddle covers the baby’s arms. This can prevent your baby from scratching their face.

Swaddles also wrap more tightly around your little one’s body. It’s important to wrap the swaddle securely, but not too tightly, around your baby’s hips. Your baby should have enough room to flex their legs up and out at the hips.

Important Tips for Swaddling

Many babies love being swaddled, and this technique reduces or even eliminates their startle reflex, resulting in a calmer baby. The Moro reflex is an automatic response babies have to startling stimuli, such as loud noises, bright light, and the sensation of falling.

When a baby is old enough to roll over, typically around eight weeks of age, swaddling becomes risky. If a swaddled baby flips onto their stomach, they do not have their arms free from the swaddle to help them roll back over. Since this increases the risk of suffocation, it’s a good idea to stop swaddling once a baby can roll over freely.

Get Snug With Bunnies by the Bay

An infant security blanket from Bunnies by the Bay combines the friendliness of a stuffed animal with the warmth of a blankie. Let your little one play with and cuddle one of these charming companions—choose between Blossom Bunny, Kiddo the Lamb, Skipit Puppy, and many other loveys today.

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