Transition from swaddle to baby sleeping bag

Baby sleeping bag

(This post is sponsored by Plum Collections)

Our little Starfish just turned 5 months old on Boxing Day. It is seriously ridiculous how quickly that time has gone (I know, I say that every month)! I feel like in such a short amount of time our boy has just grown up all of a sudden. This has been further amplified by the fact that we are now introducing him to solids and transitioning him from a swaddle to a baby sleeping bag AT THE SAME TIME (what were we thinking?!). I’ll be honest, it has been a tough road (as you’ll read below). But we FINALLY got there. I thought I would share our experience of transitioning to give other mums an idea of what they’re in for, and perhaps how (and when) they should look at doing it.

Why make the change from a swaddle to a baby sleeping bag?

The hardest thing for us in making the change from a swaddle to a baby sleep sack was that our little boy was already sleeping through the night. We have been super lucky that our boy learnt to self-settle, and now we were changing it all over again. Some might ask us WHY would we mess with a winning formula? It’s simple:

It’s dangerous

When babies are able to roll from their back to baby sleeping bag 1their stomach, they basically land on their faces. The natural reaction is to push up to get air, but in the swaddles our bubs’ arms are wrapped up. This stops them from pushing up and uncovering their faces. Hence why, anywhere from the 4 month age (or when your baby has rolled, either from back-stomach or stomach-back), it is a good time to start the transition from swaddle to sleeping bag. Our boy is 5 months old, and although he has only done a roll here or there, he is doing a LOT of rotating/spinning around. This, apparently, is an indication that rolling is next on their agenda.

HOW do I transition my bub to a baby sleeping bag?

I’ve heard lots of advice from ‘professionals’ and ‘experts’ saying different things. There are two ways which I will explain, but my video will show the approach we took.

  • Unswaddle an arm at a time

For bubs who need a to take it slow, you can work with a swaddle bag that unzips at the arms. Unzip one arm for a few days
during sleep times (or just unwrap one arm in the swaddle). After your baby is more comfortable with this, you can then unzip/unwrap the second arm so they are completely arms-free.

baby sleeping bag 2

  • Go cold-turkey and transition straight to the sleeping bag

Like ripping off a bandaid, it might be best just to make the transition from swaddle to sleeping bag cold-turkey. This means for all sleeps (day and night), and ridding yourself of the swaddle. While this sounds like a harder change, it might help your baby to adjust quicker.


Our experience

We decided to go for the cold-turkey approach, after we tried (unsuccessfully) to do arm-free once or twice. It seemed, unfortunately, our little man was hesitant about all approaches. However, after encouragement from other mums who had done the switch – and assured me that our boy would only have between 3-5 disrupted nights – we went cold-turkey and put Starfish in a baby sleeping bag. We had a couple of off day-sleeps, and one bad night, and then he went back to a full night’s sleep.
I’m going to take this time to just quickly say I’m SORRY to all the mums out there who may not be getting a full night’s sleep. Yes I realize we are incredibly fortunate to have a baby who sleeps well. I think the main thing when you transition your bub is that after 3-5 days, your baby should go back to THEIR normal sleeping pattern (I can’t say that a sleeping bag will make their sleep better, because I can’t make that guarantee). But for the safety of your baby, it is best to do it just before they start rolling.

 

Which sleeping bag to choose?

For us, the biggest issue we had with transitioning our Starfish was getting him settled into his new sleeping bag as quickly as possible. As he enjoyed the feel of the fabric on his hands (we’re pretty sure that was his method for self-settling), we wanted to find something that would wrap him well, but also not be too hot (as we are now in the Aussie summer!). Enter the Bamboo Jersey Sleepbag from Plum Collections.baby sleeping bag 5

We actually tried a light weight sleepbag initially (one that was super duper light, low TOG of 0.2) but found that it was too light for him and he didn’t like it. We then tried the 0.5 TOG Bamboo Jersey Sleepbag and he loved it. Even though it is a bit thicker, it still allows for the moisture to be absorbed (such as if he ever sweated or got too hot), and has thermal regulation which is great for the hot summer months, PLUS it is actually a lot lighter than it looks. Plus ours has cool dinosaurs on it, which matches Starfish’s bedroom – awesome!

Plum Collections have a range of baby sleeping bags to meet your child’s needs. If you have a baby who prefers lightweight clothing and swaddles, they also have muslin and cotton sleep bags. They provide lots more information HERE about the types of sleeping bags they have to offer including safety tips.

Here are some points to consider when choosing a baby sleeping bag:

Material: What kind will they like? Does your baby like to be packed in tight (tightly swaddled, arms tucked in?)? Or do they like having their arms free and not constricted? This might help you determine whether they’d like a slightly heavier sleeping bag (and if this is the case, just dress them up/down depending on the TOG of the sleeping bag).

  • Safety: What is the best for you to put your baby to sleep? Does their room usually heat up? Do you like to dress them in certain Pajamas that are long sleeve? This might also impact what kind of sleeping bag you choose, including the TYPE of material and the TOG rating. (The lower the TOG, the lighter it is, meaning it is more suitable for warmer weather).
  • Style: Is there a certain way the Sleeping bag should be? Our Bamboo Jersey bag has zips that go both up and down, and our boy likes to suck on them (don’t ask me why!) as a form of self-settling. Is there a particular feature of the bag that your baby likes that will help them self settle? Eg. Do they like to have lots of movement for their legs, so might prefer a sleeping bag that goes out at the bottom (triangular shape)?

 

Whatever you decide, make sure you check out Plum Collections’ range of Sleep bags. They have a HUGE variety of materials, styles and TOG ratings to meet the needs of your little bub. Did you find a successful way to transition your baby into a sleeping bag? Please share your story with us below!

About Fi Morrison

Fi is a first-time mum to her beautiful, 11 month-old baby boy who she affectionately calls Starfish. She started Mumma Morrison as a way to document her life with her son, but also aims to create a supportive and encouraging community for new and prospective mums. She is returning to part-time teaching in July. Fi and her family live in Sydney.

Comments

  1. Such a helpful post and such a beautiful baby! Big congrats!! These grow bags and suits only came in when my recent grandkids were born (2012 onwards from memory when I saw them in use) and I know how valuable they are. Interesting to read about the changeover and why. There are two words you used in this post that every parents loves #self #settle. Well-done everyone!! Thanks for finding the blog and linking up for #lifethisweek 3/52 Denyse xx

    • Thank you so much Denyse 😊 I don’t know what we would have done without the swaddle and sleepbags! How did you survive with just the swaddles? It was a bit of a nightmare for our son!
      Haha thank you for the encouragement, and such a pleasure to be a part of the link up. Can’t wait to read more of the posts tomorrow 😊 xx

  2. Can’t rate sleeping bags highly enough. Both my kids were in them til at least 2 as I knew especially in winter they were warm all night long. Now both my kids know when they are cold but it is so reassuring to know they are warm! We did the arm or method too but I think only for 2 nights and then just ditched it. I think if they are ready they adjust to their arms easily and there is a certain age they stop twitching and scaring themselves so much!!

    • Haha I’m glad you had a similar experience. We found cold turkey just was much better for him. And I’m glad they loved it for so long, hopefully our boy will as well! Thanks for sharing!

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