Yes, it is winter. It is cold. And we are so ready for the warm weather to arrive! A few months ago, just as the weather was beginning to get really cold, we moved into a home that runs exclusively off electricity. It is incredibly EXPENSIVE to heat a home with electricity! Desperate to keep our electric bill in a reasonable range, I lowered our thermostat. We used to keep our home around 70 degrees, so I knocked it down a few degrees to 76. Then I began doing some research—what ambient temperature is actually healthy to sleep? I found that anywhere between 60-67 degrees results in the best night's sleep (sleep.org). Perfect, I thought. We'll be saving money while sleeping better! I knocked down the thermostat even lower.
BUT, keeping our home at 63 degrees means our baby got really chilly! My youngest is 12 months old... too old for the traditional swaddle, but too young to keep blankets on top of him all night. And then there's the worry about using blankets anyways. I've attended the funeral of a baby that smothered in his sleep. Unfortunately this is a true concern, and I strongly recommend against using blankets with babies and young toddlers. But despite putting our baby in a onesie AND the warmest fleece pajamas I could find, he still woke up cold in the middle of the night. Let's be honest—if all you had covering yourself was the equivalent of a fleece blanket, you'd get pretty cold too!
That's when I recalled that in Europe I saw sleep sacks for babies and toddlers in every baby store. They were thick and warm, and allowed babies to sleep snuggly during cold, dark European winters. Actually, many Europeans believe that it is HEALTHIER for babies to sleep in extremely cold temperatures! https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21537988
I was disappointed to find very few options for winter-weight sleep sacks available in America, but there ARE some! I learned that the higher the "TOG", the warmer the sleep sack. We purchased two of the warmest sleep sacks we could find to get us through the winter months:
Baby DeeDee Sleep Nest Teddy (TOG 2.5) This sack is warm and snuggly. I love holding my baby while he's wearing this sack because the outside is covered with a faux fur! One feature I especially appreciate about this sleep sack is the convenient shoulder snaps, which make putting it on your baby a cinch (no trying to cram baby's pajama covered arms through arm holes!). This concept is seriously ingenious! Also, the sleep sack zips the opposite direction of most children's pajamas; the zipper begins by the baby's neck, and is fully closed when it is down at the baby's feet. I like this feature because it's impossible for baby's neck to get jabbed by a zipper pull. Our sleep sack is for ages 6-18 months, and comfortably fits our 13 month old. I expect our little one will probably be able to fit in it next winter as well.
ErgoPouch (TOG 3.5) This sack is made of organic cotton and is quilted with a warm layer of insulation inside! I like that this sack goes from 12-36 months, giving us a couple years of use! Our 12-month-old has plenty of room to grow, and our 2 ½ year old fits comfortably in this sack too. It has two zippers, so you can choose to zip from bottom to top OR from top to bottom.
Neither of these sacks comes with long sleeves. That would make layering it with warm pajamas very difficult, and would also make it unable to fit such a wide age range!
Please note that both of these brands have several models of sleep sacks that will help your baby stay most comfortable at varying temperatures. A sack with a 0.5 TOG would be perfect during summer months, for instance! The Baby DeeDee and ErgoPouch also have sacks available in multiple sizes.
If you live in a colder climate, do yourself and your baby a favor and invest in a sleep sack.
-Saves money on utilities, but keeping the heater turned down to a lower temperature
-Allows you both to sleep better, as studies have shown temperatures between 60-67 yield better rest
-Keeps baby safely warm, eliminating the need for any blankets
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