Have sleep sacks been helping your little one enjoy a comfortable night, but you’re wondering when to stop using a sleep sack? Then let stick around as we discuss when to stop using sleep sack, and how to ease the transition out of them.
Sleep sacks are an essential item for many babies and toddlers, providing them with comfort and safety throughout their slumber.
They are generally used from infancy until around two years old, but some parents may choose to use them for longer. It’s vital that parents know when it’s the right time to stop using the sleep sack, so that their little one can maintain their sleep routine in the most appropriate and safest way possible.
Fortunately, there are several signs that can help you determine when it’s time to transition away from using a sleep sack.
In this article, we will discuss these signs in detail so that you can make an informed decision on the best course of action for your family.
What Are Sleep Sacks?
A baby sleep sack is a type of wearable blanket that is designed to keep babies warm and cozy while they sleep.
The sleep sack replaces traditional loose blankets in the crib, which can be a potential hazard as they can become tangled or cover the baby’s face.
Baby sleep sacks come in different sizes from newborns with a transitional swaddle option up to toddler sleep sacks and beyond!
They also come in different materials and TOGs to suit the various weather conditions, as well as different designs to suit the needs and preferences of different families.
Benefits Of Using A Sleep Sack
Sleep sacks have a variety of benefits that make them an ideal choice for families with small children.
They are comfortable and safe, providing a cozy environment for babies to sleep in as they transition from swaddling.
Sleep sacks also help keep babies warm by creating a consistent temperature throughout the night while promoting self-soothing. This can be especially helpful for parents who want their baby to sleep independently.
Another benefit of using a sleep sack is that it helps reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies should not wear any loose blankets in their cribs until they reach one year old, as this could lead to suffocation or entanglement.
Sleep sacks provide a safer alternative because they are designed to hug the baby’s body snugly, eliminating the risk of suffocation. You can read more in our guide on when can babies sleep with a blanket?
When Should You Start Using A Sleep Sack?
When to start using a sleep sack will depend on the type of sleep sack you have purchased.
It is recommend to swaddle a baby up until they start to learn to roll over which usually starts between two and four months.
Swaddling helps a baby feel secure and calm, and promotes longer stretches of sleep, however once they being to roll you need to free their arms to prevent risks of suffocation.
The good news is, many sleep sacks brands such as ErgoPouch can be used for newborns as long as they have an inbuilt swaddle component such as snaps or a zipper. Many of these newborn swaddle sacks allow you to swaddle your baby in the first few months then transition into a regular sleep sack.
If you opt for a regular sleep sack you will need to wait until your baby is able to roll over, which is typically around 4-6 months old. Once your baby can roll over, they can safely be placed in a sleep sack.
How To Transition From Swaddle To Sleep Sack
There are two ways you can transition from the swaddle to the sleep sack: quickly or slowly.
Unfortunately, you might not have a choice about the type of transition. If your baby starts to break free from the swaddle, or is beginning to roll, you have to move them to the sleep sack immediately. There might be some tears at first, but they’ll adapt eventually.
If the swaddle is still safe to use, you can begin a slower transition. Start by leaving one arm out of the swaddle. If the baby wakes up in the night, you can swaddle them again with both arms tucked in.
The unexpected free arm can cause babies to startle themselves awake, so it will take some adjustment.
After a few nights with one arm out, start swaddling with both arms out. Try this for naps at first, before transitioning to a full night.
Wait until you’ve enjoyed a few good nights. Then, start introducing the sleep sack. Begin using the sleep sack for naps, and then overnight.
When Should You Stop Using A Sleep Sack?
There’s really no set time when you should stop using the sleep sack. However, you should keep using the sleep sack on cold nights until your baby is at least 12 months old.
Before that point, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises keeping the sleeping space free of loose blankets and covers. These pose a suffocation risk.
At around 12 to 18 months old, you can start introducing blankets to the crib. This feels like a natural time to transition away from the sleep sack.
It’s easier to adapt and control the sleeping environment with blankets, giving your toddler the responsibility of getting cozy!
Sleep sacks are similar to sleeping bags, only sleep sacks come with armholes to keep them in place. At some point, your toddler will probably want the freedom to move that a sleep sack can’t provide.
However, for active sleepers, there can be benefits to sticking with the sleep sack for longer. Anyone who has tossed and turned in the night knows it can play havoc with your blankets.
This might not be a danger to your toddler, but it can mess with their sleep. And if they can’t sleep, then you can’t sleep (especially if you have to keep fixing the blankets)!
So, if your little one is happy in the sleep sack, there’s no need to stop using it. You can keep using the sleep sack until they’ve grown out of the sizes. Toddler sleep sacks tend to have legs instead of pouches, and are sold up to sizes 4/5.
How To Transition Out Of The Sleep Sack
After your baby has celebrated their first birthday, you might want to start the transition from the sleep sack to blankets.
If they aren’t ready for the change, then there’s no need to rush. Sleep sacks are safe for babies and toddlers, and can be used until you can’t find a size that fits.
If you have decided it’s time to transition away from the sleep sack, then the easiest way to do it is to take things slowly. Try using a lightweight blanket for short naps during the day.
As they get used to sleeping without the close comfort of the sleep sack, you can increase how often you use the blanket.
When you start to use the blanket at night, keep a sleep sack close to hand. If they start fussing, you can remove the blanket, and switch to the sack. Eventually, they should get used to being without the sack, and sleep through the night.
Some parents choose to move the baby to their own room at the 12-month mark. If you’re transitioning out of room sharing, you might want to keep up the sleep sack until your toddler is happy to sleep on their own.
Getting rid of the sleep sack and changing rooms at the same time can be a little too much for one baby!
How To Tell If Your Child Has Outgrown The Sleep Sack
Sleep sacks seem pretty roomy at first, but eventually, your child will outgrow them. Check the fit across the chest and belly, If it seems snug, it’s probably time to move up a size.
Keep an eye on the legroom as well. When the feet start to press against the base, you’ll need a bigger sack.
When the sleep sack starts restricting movement, you might want to move up a size. However, this could also be an indication that it’s time to leave the sleep sack behind.
If they’re old enough, your child might appreciate the freedom that blankets give them. If they’re too young for blankets, look for a warm onesie that will keep them cozy overnight.
Final Thoughts On When To Stop Using A Sleep Sack
There’s no real time to start or stop using the sleep sack. The sleep sack is suitable for newborns, and can be used until there’s no longer a size that fits!
Many parents start the transition out of sleep sacks at 12 months, when you can start introducing blankets to the sleeping space. But if your child likes their sleep sack, there’s no need to move on!
We hope this guide will help you and your little one enjoy a snuggly night’s sleep.
And if you love this guide on when do you stop using sleep sacks, then make sure to check out these guides on how many blankets does a baby need, how many sleep sacks do I need, how to keep a baby warm at night, and what should baby wear under sleep sack!