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Should You Use a Baby Sleep Bag or Traditional Bedding?

 Which is the best option for bubs: a baby sleep bag or traditional sheets and blankets? We take a look at the pros and cons of both, plus take a look at some of the newer bedding options for young children.

You’re starting to shop for baby bedding and need to decide if bubs will use a baby sleep bag or suit or traditional cot bedding. We look at the pros and cons between choosing a baby sleeping bag or sleep suit, and traditional sheets and blankets. But first we will explain more about some of the most common of types of these ‘new-fangled’ baby bedding options too.

Baby Sleep Bags and Other Common Cot Bedding Options

As a new parent, you’re likely to have completed a heap of research around what your new arrival will need. A cot, a stroller, plenty of nappies…the list can seem endless. Many of the items on your to-buy list are also probably ones you are not familiar with. The anxiety around knowing what to buy can dampen down the excitement of being pregnant, and no-one wants that. To give you a head start in understanding about the baby bedding world, we’ve made a list of some of today’s most common baby bedding options:

  • Cot sheets – no explanation needed here, as cot sheets have been around for years. Just like ‘big people’ sheets, cot sheets often come with a flat and a fitted sheet. You may find a pillowcase in such a set too; however it is not recommended that children under two years old use a pillow or cushion in bed.

Pictured our Baby Loves Sleep Cot Sheet and matching Toddler Suit

  • Cot blankets – traditionally cot blankets were 100% woollen, though over time the range has expanded to include cotton (usually in cellular blankets) and synthetic options. Natural fabrics help baby to regulate their body temperature and avoid overheating. However the best baby blankets are made of natural fibres, so be sure to check the fabric content before purchasing. The downside about using baby blankets is that if you have an active baby, they can often dislodge or kick it off, dropping their temperature quickly.
  • Swaddles – babies were traditionally swaddled in sheets or cotton blankets. But unless you had a degree in origami, swaddling is something many sleep deprived parents find challenging. With plenty of manufactured baby swaddles made specifically for bedtime, settling baby has never been easier. Most swaddles keep bub’s arms warm and cosy inside, avoiding that jerk reflex when sleeping. They usually do permit some arm movement which is useful for babies who like to wriggle.

Pictured here ErgoPouch Cocoon Swaddles

  • Baby sleep bags - little babies have difficulty regulating their body temperature, so when they kick their blankets off, they get cold quickly. A baby sleep bag offers plenty of advantages including making night time nappy changes easier as bubs can stay in their bedding on the top half, keeping baby at a constant temperature and no cots to make each naptime. Feeding baby at night is also easier, as bubs remains wrapped up warmly in the baby sleep bag.
  • Sleep suits – great for toddlers, sleep suits are like baby sleep bags, but with legs and often arms too. They look a bit like snow suits or sleeping bags with legs! Designed to keep your toddler warm and snug at night and during nap times, sleep suits make it easier for them to move around when not in bed.

When it comes to your newborn though, are you best to stick with tried and tested cot bedding, or opt for a baby sleeping bag instead? We take a look into the pros and cons of both options.

Baby Sleep Bag Vs Traditional Cot Bedding

In our article Are Baby Sleeping Bags Better Than Blankets, we discussed the benefits of using a sleeping bag and how to select the right one for your bubs. We also stated that using blankets and sheets is also a great option, with additional layers being able to be added if the weather is cold.

To dive more into these options, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both:

The benefits of a baby sleep bag include that it:

  • Helps your baby stay the same temperature all night long
  • Is something familiar to settle bubs in when sleeping away from home
  • Cannot be thrown off by bubs during the night or nap
  • Stays away from baby’s face
  • Prevents bubs’ feet from getting stuck between the cot bars
  • Can be used in the car or stroller if there is a vent opening in the bag

The cons of a baby sleep bag include:

  • Allows limited movement within the bed (which can be a good thing too)
  • Older babies find a sleeping bag constricts their movement too much
  • Having a specific TOG rating which may require adding additional clothing and blanket layers, or purchasing sleeping bags in a range of ratings

Parents also find it easier to change and feed baby during the night, as well as transitioning to a new bed when baby wears a sleeping bag.

Then when it comes to using traditional bedding, the positives include:

  • Readily available and can be made by cutting down adult bedding
  • Easy to add an additional layer depending on the temperature
  • Tried and tested for generations!

The downsides of using traditional bedding include:

  • Can come untucked and loose
  • Are a hazard if pulled over baby’s face
  • Additional layers needed if weather is colder

When it comes to cot bedding, 100% natural fibres are best, so cotton and wool. The same goes for baby sleeping bags and sleep suits. Man-made fibres don’t allow for good air circulation, which can lead to baby becoming overheated and sweaty.

As a parent, the decision is now yours as to which type you will use with your children. Asking advice of other parents is always a good idea, and our supportive Facebook group members are always happy to share their experiences with others. We also suggest you spend some time looking at the differences between baby sleeps bags to find ones which meet your TOG requirements (Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn) also budget and whether they offer a swaddle option or not.

For further information on TOG ratings, please read our article What Does a TOG Rating Actually Mean, or for personalised advice, contact us directly via our website.


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