Chat With Gemma: Swaddle Or Sleep Sack?

As a mother and Infant Sleep Specialist, I have seen and tested many different brands to help our children to feel comfortable while they sleep. As a parent, you obviously want the reassurance that the product is safe and appropriate to their age.

I am going to break this down depending on what milestone your child is at and recommend the most comfortable and safest options that I have come across.


Newborn: A lot of newborns love to be swaddled! Being restricted helps them to feel safe and secure much like in the womb and also stops them from waking themselves up with their startle reflex. There are many different brands out there for swaddling however using a sleep sack such as the ErgoPouch can be great as there is also an option to keep your baby's arms within the sleep sack. This will still help them to feel safe and secure as well as from waking from their startle reflex.


Baby that can roll: Once your baby has learnt to rollover (usually at around 4 months), it is important that you are no longer swaddling your baby and that they have their arms free. The safest position for a baby to sleep is on their back, with their feet at the end of the cot. If a baby is able to roll from their back to their tummy in their sleep but does not have their arms available to push themselves back, this could be very dangerous.

If your child is showing signs that he/she is close to rolling over, you can make a transition to leave one arm out of the sleeping bag and one arm in. The ErgoPouch also has this option! (Be sure once baby is rolling that both arms are fully out.)


Baby that can pull up to standing: Firstly, be sure that your cot has been lowered once they have shown signs they may be close to standing. By keeping your child in a sleeping bag, you are preventing them from being able to pull their leg up and over the cot to climb out. Not all children are interested in cot climbing but it is certainly something to be cautious of as I have come across children as young as 9 months old that have started. By this age, the baby is less likely to need a tighter, swaddled effect of a sleeping bag and may be more comfortable in something looser. The Malabar Baby sleeping bags are looser fitting, made with high quality fabric and are hand-printed with baby safe dyes.


Toddler that has outgrown the crib: If you have made the transition from a cot to toddler bed, a sleeping bag could become more of a danger as they are not designed to be walked in and could cause your child to fall if they get up in the night. Although a light and breathable blanket would be fine to give your child if he is over 12 months old, you may find that he kicks this off during the night. Instead, I would recommend the ErgoBaby Sleep Suit as this has individual leg holes so that the child is able to walk safely, but also will keep them warm and snug as it cannot be kicked off during sleep.


Gemma is a Certified Infant Sleep Consultant based in Hong Kong that works with children aged from newborn to 6 years old. She believes firmly in a holistic and gentle approach to help our children to sleep better through plenty of love, comfort and reassurance.