Swaddling to Sleep Using the ‘SleepSack’

Posted on November 3, 2009. Filed under: Product Review, Review |

Registering for baby products can be a fun experience or an overwhelming one. For me, it was the latter. Many products, many brands and many pieces of advice to sort through, while in the throes of morning sickness and mood swings. (Taking the bar exam was easier.)

Books, blogs, friends, retailers, parents and coworkers each have a list of essentials, and not so essentials, for your newborn baby that they impart upon you (solicited or not). Added to the fact that you have not even met your baby, (at least when you register for wedding gifts, you can consult your partner-to-be!), you probably want to run out of the local baby store.

So as a survival method, many soon-to-be-moms (and dads) often focus on the bigger items first. It is easier to focus on cribs, car seats, monitors, and strollers than the seemingly thousands of bottles and nipples. But at some point, you do move to the smaller items like bedding, mattresses and sheets, and then to items like socks, burp cloths and blankets.

For me, I received a lot of blankets for my baby shower. It was this event that got me thinking, – where am I supposed to use these? I had read in various articles that you are not supposed to use blankets in the crib. So what do you use in a crib? Since my baby was due in October, I realized it was a question I needed to answer sooner rather than later.

It was around this time that I had the opportunity to review a unique product called the HaloSleepSack Swaddle for my newborn baby. I checked out the specifications online and found it to be an interesting concept. So when I was approached to try it out, I was excited to see how it worked.

Fast-forward two months. My baby was born (a boy – yeah!) and I spent the customary two nights in the hospital. While there, my son spent his time wrapped up like a burrito in the hospital blanket. The nurses showed me how to swaddle and, due to my fuzzy sleep deprived state of mind, I thought I learned (in two days) what the nurses do everyday for years and years.

After I came home from the hospital, I continued my naivety and swaddled for a couple of nights, using the hospital’s swaddling blanket. I believed it would enable a smoother transition from hospital to home. But since I really did not swaddle like the nurses, I often found the blanket unraveled in the crib, my newborn son flailing his arms, causing me panic that he would suffocate on the material. Thus, while my newborn son was crying late one night as I fumbled to redo the swaddle, I decided to give the SleepSack Swaddle a try.

It was easy to put on. No sleeves and you don’t have to slip it over a baby’s head. Since it is like a sleeping bag, I laid him on top, put his arms through the holes and zipped the zipper. Then I wrapped the ‘wings’ of the SleepSack Swaddle around his middle, making sure his arms were by his side first so they would be covered by the wings of the SleepSack Swaddle. I then hurried to bed before he could protest.

A short time later (too short), my son awoke looking for breakfast. When I reached into his crib, he was tucked in the same way he went in. No loose ends, no flapping arms or fabric covering his face. Things looked promising!!!

But when I went to change him, I was thrown for a bit of a loop. Changing my son when he was in the traditional swaddle, I would just unwrap the blanket. Then I would tuck the blanket under his bum to protect it from the dirty diaper. But the SleepSack Swaddle was like a sleeping bag and it was a bit bulky so I could not tuck the SleepSack Swaddle out of the way. What to do?

Well, I realized I could place a diaper cloth under his bottom, but over the SleepSack Swaddle when the flaps were open and the zipper undone, rather than trying to tuck it out of the way. It worked great. An added bonus was that he stayed warm while I changed his diaper, unlike the traditional blanket swaddle, because I did not have to remove it entirely. It also made for faster diaper changes, which is a big benefit at three o’clock in the morning.

It comes in different materials; cotton fabric, micro-fleece to name two. It even comes in organic fabric. I used a beautiful soft polyester in chocolate brown – it felt like velvet. The white version is stunning (though probably not great for a baby if you like things clean) but it would make a great christening gown, if that was something in which you were participating, because it is that nice. There are sizes from newborn to 24 months, so unlike standard sleeping gowns by leading baby clothing brands that are 0-9 months, it won’t ride up or get close to your baby’s face if your baby is on the smaller side.

In the version I tried, there are three ways to use it. You can take the wings off and just use theSleepSack Swaddle as a gown. Leave on the wings and wrap it around your baby’s body for extra warmth and soothing. Or wrap the wings around your baby’s body and arms for ultimate swaddling. What is great is that you have flexibility enabling you to determine what suits your baby best and not to worry about buying the wrong product that wastes your time and money.

I truly don’t have any complaints or criticisms about this product – frankly, I fell in love with it. Though it would be a huge plus if Halo SleepSack Swaddle products were made in the USA. Otherwise, they have great sizing, fabric, flexibility in use, and the price is reasonable (around $20). Also, a percentage of the purchase goes directly to First Candle/SIDS Alliance to support Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) medical research, education and family services. So not only are you getting a great product, but you are supporting a great cause as well.

My one tip though is in regard to washing. Make sure the zipper is zipped and the ‘swaddle’ part of the SleepSack Swaddle (the flaps or wings) are velcroed together. Then place the SleepSack Swaddle in a laundry bag. Otherwise, you will get what I got, which was the SleepSack Swaddle twisted in knots and the Velcro capturing socks and other garments in its wrath. Other than that, after washing, I did not notice any shrinkage, pilling or fading of the fabric. A major plus in my book. It holds up well.

So in all in all, do I recommend buying or registering for this product? Absolutely. In fact, I just came home with three more….and my son could not be more pleased. I think you will be too.

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