Could Your Baby's Sleep Sack Be Keeping Them Awake At Night?
Have you ever seen your baby pulling on their sleep sack when they are trying to go to sleep or when they wake up in the middle of the night? When babies are sleeping in their cribs, they tend to take both hands and grab on tight to the material of the sleep-sack they are wearing. They try as hard as possible to pull the soft fabric close to their face. They want something to snuggle. They are seeking a Transitional Object - a lovely Lovey to love. Sleep-sacks were invented and designed to keep your baby warm and to ensure that the material keeping them warm at night would not go near or cover your baby's face as a loose blanket would. They are designed to keep your baby warm and safe. They are a great solution to the unsafe blanket issue. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a baby not be given a lovey in their crib until they are one year old. I agree one hundred percent. The safest sleep for your baby is with nothing in or on the crib. Boring is best for good baby-safe sleep. The challenge comes when your baby has the instinct to snuggle and find self-soothing tools. Since they cannot have a Lovey, babies get creative and look to make their own. They grab the front fabric of their sleep-sack and try to love it and snuggle it and make it their lovey.
They get attached to their sleep-sack as they would a lovey. It is very frustrating for a baby to become attached to something so close to them, but they cannot have it. Imagine loving someone that you could see but never reach! Your baby's efforts to love their sleep-sack can distract your baby from sleep and get them pretty worked up and upset, instead of using that energy for self-soothing. If you find that your baby is trying to make their sleep-sack their "Love Object," I advise taking a short break from the sleep-sack and using a warm-footed sleeper instead. There is no extra material on a footed pajama.
By making this switch, you eliminate the frustration and allow your baby to find other creative ways to self-soothe. The change can enable them to find other useful self-soothing tools such as their fingers or a super comfy sleeping position. Make sure both your sleep sack and your footed PJ is not too warm. You do not want your baby to overheat. The AAP recommends a room temperature of 69-71 degrees at night.
Remember, making a change from a sleep-sack to a footed PJ does not have to be a long-term change. It will just give your baby space to avoid prolonged heartbreaking unrequited sleep-sack wanna-be a lovey love.