There’s a saying when it comes to parenthood: The days are long and the years are short. However, there’s no mention of the nights; the nights can feel eternal. In those early months with baby, just when you think you have sleep all figured out…everything changes. And so, you must often change your approach.
Your baby is also physically growing so rapidly that a sleep sack can be the perfect size for your little one for a good stretch, but then a growth spurt happens and poof!—suddenly that cozy wearable blanket looks more like a straight jacket.
Our new baby boy was a better sleeper than our first child, so testing the various sleep sacks was working out nicely. However, in the beginning, when we were testing swaddles and landed on the Happiest Baby Sleepea Swaddle, we had a tough time testing the rest of them because of how well it worked.
We tested 10 of the most popular sleep sacks, and found that the Baby Merlin Magic Sleep Suit(available at Amazon for $39.95) is aptly named. It worked so well that it took us some time to move on to our next sleep sack…a couple of months actually. The one drawback to the magic suit is that you can’t keep a baby in it forever, so if you’re looking for longevity in a sleep sack, the Halo Sleep Sack (available at Amazon) is our Best Value pick.
Here are the best sleep sacks we tested, ranked in order:
This sleep sack, if you can even call it that, was not meant to be in our arsenal of test products. A friend gave it to me during the dreaded 4-month sleep regression, when nothing was working and our baby was up crying and nursing all night long. During those moments of desperation, we parents have been known to try absolutely anything, including straight up magic.
In our house, we lovingly referred to our suit as the marshmallow man suit. This sleep suit deems itself as the “best swaddle transition product on the market today,” which proved to be very accurate in our case. Its patented design helps transition babies from the swaddle by providing a cozy and secure sleep environment.
I would have moved on to the 6- to 9-month Magic Sleep Suit, but at our baby’s 6-month doctor’s appointment, I mentioned that he was sleeping in the suit and had been for close to six weeks. Our pediatrician recommended switching to a regular sleep sack. She was worried about the padded suit impeding his ability to roll over at night and thought it could lead to a developmental delay.
Once we took him out, he did start rolling onto his stomach to sleep and slept much better in general. And now that he’s 9 months, our baby sleeps primarily in his Halo Sleep Sack. I do recommend this product, but I would consult your pediatrician and know that this is a very short-term transition item, and not something they should spend several months sleeping in.
Great for transition from swaddle to sleep sack
Works like magic for many babies
Cotton version needs to hang dry after machine washing
Thumb sucking babies may find it hard to get their hands to their mouths to self soothe
After I was done with all of the official testing, this product has remained my go-to sleep sack, and I may just have my son sleeping in one of these until he goes to college… or at least until he can say the word “college.” The Halo Sleep sacks come in various colors, patterns, fabrics and runs from preemie sizes up to extra large, which can be used to keep your 2-year-old warm.
The material feels nice and breathable—but warm—and the shape of the swaddle allows for easy maneuvering for babies who like to sleep on their stomachs. My son also has no problem standing up in his swaddle, which he likes to do most mornings while yelling, “maaaaammaaaa!”
There are many different colors and patterns to choose from
Hi there! My name is Ilana Cohn and I am a writer and performer living in Los Angeles. I love reading about the latest baby gear and sharing my opinion, so I was excited to have the opportunity to review more products that have been helping me get baby number two into good sleep habits. While every baby is different, sleep is universally necessary and important, not only for physical growth and brain development, but also for our sanity, as parents. So anything that aides the process of sleep is golden in my book.
At around 3 months it was time to say goodbye to the swaddles that we had become pretty dependent on for getting our son to sleep. My little guy either outgrew, would break out of the bigger ones, or be so frustrated over being stuck in them, that we knew it was time to move to the sleep sack.
I tested the sleep sacks in the same manor that the swaddles were tested. Each sleep sack was tested through at least two sleeps and revisited a month later. Although we did have an almost two-month stretch when I would only sleep our baby in the Magic Merlin’s Sleep Suit—it was the only thing that was working, which is the main reason why it’s in our number one spot.
With all of the sleep sacks we looked at fabric properties and quality, ease of use, any special features, storage, fit, comfort, adjustability, ability to change a diaper, and overall experience.
What You Should Know About Sleep Sacks
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should not put an actual blanket in your baby’s crib until after 12 months. Luckily, there are plenty of wearable blanket options to keep our babies safe and cozy while they sleep. The main things to consider when selecting one of the many options available are: durability, comfort, warmth, and cost. If organic cotton is important to you, you could be looking at spending close to $100.
If you’re looking to have one sleep sack to get you from infancy all the way to toddlerhood, they do exist, but you may have to deal with resizing it, and your baby may not find the early stages of the swaddle/sleep sack combo as comfortable, since the fabric will need to be bunched.
Wearable blankets come in many different materials making it easy to select the appropriate sleep option for your baby in any climate.
Other Sleep Sacks We Tested
Aden + Anais Classic Muslin Sleeping Bag
These sleep sacks are soft, cozy and beautiful. Much like the Aden + Anais swaddle blankets, I am also a huge fan of these adorable, affordable sleeping bags. The muslin blanket material is so soft, lovely, and very conducive to sleep. In my experience these sleep sacks were made to last. I still have a couple of my daughter’s favorite ones from over six years ago, that my son is now happily using.
Comes in the most adorable patterns
Material feels so soft and luxurious
You can find them in most baby stores
Material may shrink a bit in the washer and dryer
Some users have had issues with the fabric ripping
This newer product was one of my favorites of the bunch. I liked the Nested Bean swaddle as well, but in my opinion, this classic sack really worked. I think the material and the cut of the actual sleeping bag makes it a great option to have on hand. They are designed really well, with just one button on each shoulder and a zipper that goes around the perimeter for easy diaper changing. Also the fabric is so soft and comfortable that it makes me wish they started making adult sleeping bags.
I’m not sure if the Nested Bean weighted pressure pads that claim to trigger the “cuddle effect” actually work, but even without the cute little weighted bean, I would want to use this sleep sack and my baby agreed. It was one of the ones that worked best for getting him to sleep without being rocked or nursed.
Material 100% breathable, extremely soft cotton
Two-way zipper makes nighttime diaper changes a breeze
This sleep sack had the same pros for me as the Nested Bean in that it is made with a really soft and comfy material, and has a similar snap on each shoulder. Unlike the Nested Bean, this has a zipper down the middle, so getting the sleep sack onto your baby is slightly easier, but diaper changing is maybe a bit harder. The zipper on this one does open from bottom to top though, which is helpful.
This lightweight cotton jersey feels breathable but still heavy enough to keep your baby warm through the night. I know that Baby Deedee also makes quilted, extra warm blankets, that I’m sure are lovely, but maybe just a bit too warm for our Los Angeles winters. But if you were in a colder climate, those would be worth checking out.
Oversized zipper is reversible and seems to be of really good quality
Jersey cotton material is breathable and extremely soft
Designs are simple and cute
May be too warm for some babies
Opening at the neck is a bit wide
If you have a smaller baby, these might be too roomy
This item definitely climbed up the charts with age. For me, as a swaddle, it missed the mark. It was just too bulky, but as it opened up, it became much more manageable. Also, when you stop having to get all the buttons closed right, and just have it fully open, it feels much simpler.
This one was always one of my favorite looking swaddles with its cute llama pattern, called “no drama llama.” The fabric has a nice feel as well. If you have an average length baby, you could use this swaddle until they hit a year. Our baby however, is hoping to be an NBA player and is currently off the charts in length, so we’ve sadly had to retire our llamas.
Ability to transition from the newborn stage to 9-12 months
Super cute patterns
Fabric is too bulky when they’re tiny
Area where their arms come through is on the smaller side
This quilted sleep blanket is probably the one closest to the Magic Merlin’s Suit, but for us it didn't work. Our baby did like this one, and I think it’s a good option for switching from a tight swaddle to a sleep sack situation, but the fit and cut of this one are both a bit strange. The arms are covered, but only partially, and it always felt weird to have long sleeves on underneath, but short sleeves would leave a good portion of the babies arms exposed.
I did like how slim the fit in the middle section was and, unlike the Merlin Suit, babies are able to freely move their legs around for healthy hip growth.
Quilted material is really nice
Bridges the gap nicely from swaddle to sleep sack
Plenty of room for babies to freely move their legs
Odd cut leaves their arms exposed and cold at night
Similar to the Baby Deedee Sleep Nest light, this sleep blanket also has the two shoulder snaps and large vertical zipper that goes down the middle. The Teddy we were testing is made with a fluffy faux fur that made it slightly too warm to be our go-to nighttime blanket. I did however, really love the feel of this blanket and thought if we were in a cooler climate this would have been a great option.
I was only able to have the baby sleep in it a couple of times, but he did seem pretty warm in it. I think my baby, like me, tends to run a bit on the hotter side.
For me, this fleece number worked great as a swaddle, especially when we took our baby up to Yosemite for a camping trip last summer when he was just 2 months old. It proved to be great, warm coverage in those 40-degree nights, but this particular model also totes itself as a “sleep sack” and for me, it misses the mark on that front. My baby did not like this as a transition option. I think overall it’s just too bulky to try and use as a sleep sack. The flaps work great to hold down baby’s arms, but when they were just around his mid section it just seemed like too much material.
Material is soft
Affordable cold weather option
Too bulky and not the right fit to use as a sleep sack
Velcro clasp is extremely loud when pulling apart
Tends to attach itself to other laundry in the washing machine
The Omni has an adjustable wrap and sleeves with mitten cuffs. The website description says, “The convertible design supports more sleep positions for baby's hands and arms, and provides parents with more options when preparing baby for safe sleep.” However, this one just didn’t work for us. It was cute and the material was nice, but I think maybe it was just shaped for a smaller baby. Really I’m not sure what the problem was, maybe the cut of the swaddle just didn’t work, but the reviews on Amazon are mostly positive, so this could work for your baby, even if it didn’t work for ours.
Material has nice feel
Velcro is very quiet
Sleeves seem to be too short
Overall length seems to be too short as well
Material, while soft, doesn’t seem to be as breathable
Ilana Cohn created the show Overdue for AwesomnessTV, where she worked as the showrunner and directed an episode of the series. Ilana also created the series 4th Period Lunch for Mondo Media, Jingle Hit Factory for Nickelodeon, Embarrassing Mom for Disney and the Delores DiGagorio Series for Fremantle Media, for which she won a Webbie Award. Acting wise, Ilana was recently on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, she's in the cult film Detention, and has done voices on Comedy Central's South Park. She is a mother of two and works in Los Angeles as a writer, director and stand-up comedian.
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