Are you wondering when to stop using a sleep sack to dress your little one for sleep? The answer might be later than you’d expect!
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been envisioning an adorable kid’s room with plush bedding since before your baby was born.
Just one stroll down a Target aisle with the Pillowfort’s bedroom design line is enough to have you swooning at the prospect of putting together your own little one’s space someday!
But what I didn’t realize is that all of that beautiful bedding wasn’t something we would be needing for many years to come.
Most new parents are surprised to learn that babies need to be at least a year old before the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) deems it safe enough for your baby to sleep with a blanket. Any earlier and it can actually pose a safety risk, which is why I recommend following the ABCs of safe sleep.
That means we have to find other ways of how to keep babies warm at night. Many families choose to use sleep sacks. Our family did, and we loved them for many years!
But if you’ve been incorporating a sleep sack into your baby’s bedtime routine for a while, you might be curious when it’s time to transition out of the sleep sack and start using bedding instead.
If you’re wondering when to stop using a sleep sack, keep reading to hear my take.
Sleep Sacks and Sleep Routines
By the time your baby reaches toddlerhood, you’ve likely discovered how much they thrive with a consistent bedtime routine.
Routines can help keep toddler tantrums at bay because your toddler learns proper sleep associations and can anticipate when sleep time is near.
If you’ve been consistently using a sleep sack to put your little one down to sleep, that sleep sack has become part of your routine. It’s a signal to your baby to start relaxing their body and mind for sleep.
The great thing about sleep sacks is that they can keep your little one at a consistently comfortable temperature in their crib without having a bunch of loose bedding that is easily kicked away.
The more consistent your baby’s body temperature is while they’re sleeping, the less likely that they will wake up due to temperature discomfort.
But as your baby grows into toddlerhood, is it time to stop using a sleep sack and start using bedding instead?
Every child is different, but my opinion is that there is no need to rush the transition out of a sleep sack.
Can a 2 Year Old Sleep in a Sleep Sack?
The short answer is yes, your 2 year old can absolutely sleep in a sleep sack. So can your 3 year old or even 4 year old if you find a sleep sack that fits them well.
The ability to use a sleep sack has more to do with size and safety than it does age. As long as a sleep sack fits well, it’s safe to use.
There are plenty of sleep sack manufacturers that offer larger options, all the way up to about 40 inches tall. These toddler sleep sacks are sized specifically to meet the needs of long toddler limbs.
Wearable blankets and sleep sacks can still be a great option for 2 year olds because toddlers are wiggly sleepers! The odds of bed sheets and blankets staying put all night are fairly low.
When they’re wearing a sleep sack or wearable blanket to sleep, there’s no need to worry about them slipping out of comfort in the middle of the night.
You might think that when your kid becomes mobile or starts climbing it means they’ve outgrown sleep sacks, but that’s actually not the case.
Sleep Sacks for Climbing Toddlers
Sleep sacks can actually have a dual function as your toddler gets more adventurous and mobile.
Not only do they keep your little one warm and cozy through the night, but they may be able to keep your toddler from climbing out of their crib.
We all know that toddlers aren’t the most coordinated, so climbing out of the crib can be potentially dangerous.
But with the right sleep sack, you might be able to hinder your toddler’s ability to get a leg up and over the crib railing.
Check out my post about toddler sleep sacks to see some of my favorite toddler sleep sacks.
Do Sleep Sacks Hinder Development?
Sleep sacks are completely safe to use with your growing baby into toddlerhood. The one caveat is this: you should always make sure that the sleep sack fits their legs and hips properly.
Avoid using any clothing or bedding that puts unnecessary pressure or restriction on your little one’s growing limbs and joints.
Luckily, all of the best sleep sacks are developed with growing bodies in mind. They also come in a variety of sizes so you can be sure to size up as your baby grows.
Developmentally, it’s completely appropriate for toddlers to continue using sleep sacks. You can find plenty of extra large sleep sacks that will fit your toddler up until they’re around 40 inches tall.
As your baby transitions into toddlerhood, just make sure that the sleep sacks you are using allow them to straighten their legs fully without straining.
And lastly, to ensure that your little one has plenty of practice using their legs for walking or climbing, make sure that they’re only wearing sleep sacks during sleep times.
The rest of the day should be spent in clothes that allow them to move around freely and explore their surroundings!
How Do I Transition My Toddler Out of a Sleep Sack?
The cruel reality of our babies is that they grow so fast, am I right? We might want them to stay little forever, but eventually they need to transition to the next stage.
Once your toddler has outgrown the use of sleep sacks, it’s time to transition to bedding. This transition might come naturally as you start the transition to a toddler bed from the crib.
My recommendation is to pair them together. When you transition to a toddler bed, you can introduce a pillow and blanket to your toddler and easily drop sleep sacks.
Make your toddler part of the transition! Take them to the store and let them pick out new bedding or a special throw.
You can also practice a couple nights before the big blanket transition by keeping your toddler in their sleep sack and using a light sheet to tuck them in. That way, they get used to the feel of being tucked in before you remove the sleep sack from the equation.
Once you’re ready to officially use the blanket at bed time, make sure you’ve dressed your little one warm enough so that if the blanket were to slip off while they are asleep, they would still feel comfortable.
Ultimately, the decision of when to stop using a sleep sack will be different for every family. But rest assured that you don’t need to force the transition too early!
More Tips for Improving Toddler Sleep
Do you need more help getting your toddler to sleep better? Check out my Toddler Sleep Training Guide!
This downloadable resource will help you keep your toddler in their own bed and resting well through the night.
I go over the most effective sleep training techniques for the toddler age group, as well as tips and tricks for helping them through sleep transitions! Get it here.
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