Friday, 10 July 2015

Best of Brands - Sleep Sacks

I need a blanket to sleep. Even on the hottest summer night, I sweat it out because I can't sleep without a covering on/around my face. So, naturally, I feel bad for my baby that she isn't able to use a blanket at night and during unsupervised nap times because blankets are awesome. Still, with summer air conditioning and winter freezes, she does need something to keep her at a comfortable temperature while sleeping. Enter - the wearable blanket. Exactly as it sounds, it is a blanket that can be safely fastened onto a baby in order to provide warmth without over heating or risk of suffocation. 

When you're shopping for a sleep sack, look for the 3 Fs: fabric, fit, and fasteners.


Just like blankets, sleep sacks come in different materials. The best sleep sacks are year-round models made of breathable cotton or cotton/polyester blends. You can always adjust the temperature of the room, and the layers underneath of the sack to make your baby comfortable. It's a bonus to only have to buy one per size. There are lighter summer options, but they won't keep your baby warm enough during cooler months or if you have the a/c on high. And, a wearable blanket made out of thick duvet material, or something like micro fleece, has the threat of overheating your baby and overheating is a SIDS concern. Remember - unlike you, your baby can't throw off the covers if she gets too hot, or get up and grab another layer if she gets too cold, so she has to be in something that will keep her comfortable all night.


Sleep sacks come in different sizes and shapes, but fit is very important for comfort and safety. Babies under a certain weight and size are not ready for sleep sacks and should just be swaddled in a light swaddle cloth. Once your baby meets the weight minimum for a wearable blanket (usually 10 pounds), look for one that is long enough to allow for movement but not so long that it might bunch up around baby's nose or mouth. The other important aspect of fit is the arm and neck holes. If these are too big, there is a risk of baby sliding inside of the sleep sack which would be a suffocation risk. Too tight is obviously also a problem. A sleep sack should fit comfortably around the neck and arms, with room for air flow but not enough room for slippage. Choose a sleeveless sack for better temperature control, you can always put another light layer underneath for added warmth. Some options even offer adjustable arm holes to control fit as baby grows.


There are a few options for closures when it comes to sleep sacks - snaps, velcro, zippers etc. - and some have more than one. There are no wrong choices but there are things to keep in mind. Look for a zipper that zips up instead of down so that it doesn't irritate baby's chin and night time diaper changes are easier. Make sure that any fasteners are good quality, and are secure. The placement of the fasteners are also something to consider, right down the centre will work differently in your night time routine than those along the side. Swaddle sleep sacks will have additional fasteners for securing babies arms, but older babies don't always need/want that.

So, let the battle begin! Here is how some of the brands we've tried stack up:

IKEA - Torva One Piece Sleeper ($15.00)

My biggest problem with this sleep sack was the small neck hole. I was constantly worried that my baby was feeling strangled. There was hardly any room between the fabric and her neck and she always brought her hands to tug at it. I suppose it was a guarantee that she wouldn't slide into the sack and suffocate, but I put it away after a few nights. The small openings also made it really difficult to put on at night, and the snug fit limited what she could wear underneath it. The price is right, but not worth the worry.

Fabric - 4/5
Fit - 2/5
Fasteners - 3/5

HALO - SleepSack Fleece ($30.00)

My baby never liked being swaddled. Even in the hospital, she would wiggle and struggle to release her hands from the blankets. So, the option for swaddling in this sleep sack was unnecessary for my family. Still, that wasn't the only thing I didn't care for. The material is so warm and not very breathable. I had a winter baby, but I still avoid fleece whenever possible, opting instead for layering. My baby often got the dreaded sweaty back of the neck in this sack, and never seemed comfortable. It is a generous size, but the centered zipper makes it difficult to place baby inside.

Fabric - 2/5
Fit - 4/5
Fasteners - 2/5

WEE URBAN - Wee Dreams Premium Brand Sleep Bag ($50.00 + shipping and taxes)

In my personal opinion, there is no competition for this sleep sack. We were given a 0-6 month one as a gift, and when our daughter was getting close to growing out of it, we naturally decided to buy another one - but it turns out its not a cheap garment. We looked everywhere for one of a similar style / material / size / quality and came up with nothing. In the end, we bit the bullet and bought the 6-18 month version despite the price. Part of why it is so expensive is because it is actually made in Canada, so if buying local is something that is important to you, take note. The reasons I love this sleep sack are many. It's made of a breathable cotton/bamboo blend that feels exactly like your favourite sweatshirt. Very comfortable and it moves with baby's body as she rolls from her left side to her right. It's also perfectly roomy without being dangerous. I love the closures on this model - the zippers around the edge allow for easy night time diaper changes with minimal disturbance to a baby in a sleep state, and the snaps around the top allow for a bigger (while still safe) neck opening. The ultimate reason: since this sleep sack lays flat and snaps at the shoulders, I've been able to successfully put my baby into it while she's already asleep without waking her. Trust me - this is a real bonus!

Fabric - 5/5
Fit - 4/5 (I'm not really sure that it's going to fit an 18 month old as well as it currently fits my 7 month old)
Fasteners - 5/5

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