Does every baby need a sleep sack? It’s complicated

Let’s talk sleep sacks. Some babies love them; others absolutely cannot stand them. So does every baby need one? Our short answer is no — it totally depends on your baby’s personality. Babies are pretty vocal about everything, and that includes sleep sacks. If you’re unsure about whether to buy one before you bring your baby home, let’s go over the pros and cons in detail.

PRO: Babies love to feel snuggled

father holding baby
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Sleep sacks keep your baby snug, and most babies love feeling cuddled. Think about it: They just spent the last nine months warm and curled up. Outside of the womb, they find comfort feeling held or swaddled. Moreover, sleep sacks are sometimes more convenient than swaddles. Instead of having to wrap your baby in a swaddle or receiving blanket multiple times a day, sleep sacks let you tuck them in quickly.

CON: Sleep sacks might make your baby feel constrained

While babies love to be cuddled, sometimes they need room to kick and play. There are energetic babies who simply will not take to a sleep sack — and that’s okay! If you want to test-drive a sleep sack and find that your baby is resisting, there’s no need to force it. Babies are surprisingly opinionated, and they’ll let you know what they do and don’t like.

PRO: Sleep sacks might be safer than blankets

If you live in an area where winters are especially harsh or if your little one tends to get cold easily, a sleep sack is a safe alternative to blankets. It’s usually not recommended to use blankets in the crib during the infant stage because of the hazard they pose, so a warm sleep sack might be your best option. Consider a wearable blanket sleep sack like this one from Moon and Back.

babies in sleep sacks
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The cotton and polyester blend keeps your baby warm, but the armless design keeps them ventilated. It’s available in 12 neutral and pastel colors like purple, light blue, coral, and striped gray. You can also choose from different sizes as your baby grows — 3 to 6 months, 6 to 18 months, and 18 to 24 months. This wearable blanket comes prewashed, so it’s soft and doesn’t shrink when you clean it in your washing machine at home.

CON: Sleep sacks might trap heat

While sleep sacks and wearable blankets are great for colder months, some babies just run hot. If it’s approaching summer, you might skip the sleep sack as babies can easily overheat even with breathable fabrics. Too much heat can cause skin irritation and rashes. This is especially true for babies with sensitive skin prone to eczema and other forms of dermatitis. More importantly, if your baby heats up too much at night, this can interrupt their sleep.

PRO: Sleep sacks stay on more compared to swaddles

Like we mentioned, sleep sacks are much more secure than swaddle blankets. Armed with zippers and sometimes a button for extra defense against baby’s strong kicks, sleep sacks stay on no matter what. When your baby is still in the newborn stage, they might do best with a sleep sack with wings that keep their arms in place. This three-piece sleep sack set with adjustable arms from SwaddleMe is available in five different assorted packs. It also comes in sizes 0 to 3 months, 3 to 6 months, and 4 to 6 months.

CON: Some babies are too active for sleep sacks

baby in blanket
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No matter how much you want your baby to stay put, some babies just love to move. This might make sleep sacks impractical. Even if you use a sack with Velcro wings to keep their arms in place, they might still be able to wiggle their way out. When you try out a sleep sack for the first time, carefully watch how your baby reacts. They might enjoy the snug fit, but sometimes they would rather have their arms and legs free.

PRO: Sleep sacks are great for infants who like to sleep on their tummies

There are babies who like sleeping on their tummies even at an early age. The pressure from their bed and tucked arms and legs help comfort them. However, there’s debate about whether or not it’s safe for babies to sleep on their tummies. Each baby is different, and you know your baby best, but weighted sleep sacks are great if your baby likes to sleep on their tummy. The slightly heavier-than-normal sack can trick your little one into thinking he’s on his tummy.

Furthermore, if your baby only falls asleep if you’re rubbing their tummy or resting your hand on their chest, a sleep sack also saves you from sleepless nights.

CON: Sleep sacks might be potentially hazardous if your little one likes to roll over

Babies tend to start rolling over around 6 months, but some active babies roll over as early as 4 months old. If your child is wearing a sleep sack that constricts their arms and they roll over, this might be potentially dangerous because they will find it difficult to lift their face up from the bed.

Always proceed with caution — keep a watchful eye on your baby’s development and use your best judgment for when to graduate from a swaddled sack to one with no sleeves. Our little ones are always changing, and their amazing brains can reach significant milestones within a week.

Whether or not your baby needs a sleep sack depends on their age and personality. Older babies might do best with sleeveless sleep sacks, while younger babies might enjoy sleep sacks with fastened or zipped arms. These types of sleep sacks keep them from waking up expectedly and act as wearable blankets. Other babies might not do well with sleep sacks if they tend to heat up easily, love to wiggle, or are starting to roll over. In the end, the choice is up to you and what makes your baby the most comfortable.

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