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What’s the number one topic for parents of a newborn baby? It’s got to be sleep – and how to get more of it! It can be difficult to know which baby sleep products can help you and your baby get the most comfortable sleep possible. Keira O’Mara from Mama Designs talks us through some of the options.

“I am often asked about what sleep products parents should use for their babies so I thought that I would share. I’ll explore the difference between cellular blankets, baby sleeping bags and swaddles and when you might use each one.

Baby sleep products can be very confusing for first time parents. There are so many different products on the market. You might have heard that baby sleeping bags are a must have, a cellular blanket is the safest, a swaddle is ideal for a newborn but you may not know the difference and when you might choose one over the other.

Here are some facts about each and advice as to when you might use each one.

Swaddles or swaddle muslins

Newborns love being swaddled. Swaddling mimics the feeling of being in the womb.  It makes them feel like they are being held and it stops their arms from jerking (sometimes called their startle reflex), which can wake them up.  Babies are typically swaddled for a few months following birth (or until they start to show signs of being able to roll over).  You can buy special zippered swaddles or you can use a large muslin to swaddle your baby. At Mama Designs we prefer a large muslin as they have lots of other uses and you will use for years, as opposed to a specialist swaddle that has a much shorter life span.

You can swaddle your baby easily following these steps… be sure to practice safe swaddling. Your baby should not be too tightly bound around their hip and knee area, allowing for movement here.


Other times you might use a large muslin / swaddle muslin
–          As a light sheet or blanket in the warmer months
–          For a comforter for an older baby
–          as a burp cloth
–          on holiday
–          as a changing mat

Cellular Blankets

Cellular Blankets are the safest type of baby blankets. They have been around for hundreds of years and are used in hospitals and recommended by midwives and healthcare professionals.

The clever cell-like structure in these blankets allows the air to flow, which means that even if your baby got the blanket over their face, they would be able to breathe.

Another benefit of the structure of these cotton blankets is that can work to keep babies cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Mama Designs cellular blankets are 100% cotton and made in the UK.  Our cellular blankets come in pram or crib size (70cm x 90cm) and in cot size 120x 100cm.

So when would you use a cellular blanket?

These are very popular as newborn blankets to be packed in a hospital or birth bag and lots of parents buy them when they are pregnant for this reason.

The pram or crib sized can also be used out and about in the pram or car seat and for travelling home from hospital.

They can be used at home for daytime naps on older babies (once they are passed the swaddling stage).

They can be used to swaddle your baby in the colder months (the larger cot sized is great for this).

They can be used for cuddles with your baby, to cover you both during feeds or any other time you might use a blanket. We often find our customers use the larger cot sized blankets on their children for years, having become their favourite blanket, they have them on their bed as an extra layer or for sofa snuggles! We love seeing these pics and hearing these stories!

Baby Sleeping Bags

Baby sleeping bags are extremely popular and are used by the majority of parents in the UK. They are sometimes referred to as grobags / grow bags or baby sleep sacks. These are all the same thing.  They can be used from birth (as long as your baby is over the weight mentioned on the bag and their head cannot fit through the fastened neckhole). For our Babasacs it is 7lb 8oz. This will be different for every brand, so please do check. This is extremely important. If your baby is over this weight, yes you can use a baby sleep bag or sack. However you might find that the startle reflex (moro reflex) causes your baby to wake. A lot of parents, myself included will swaddle for a few months and then move to a sleeping bag when baby is ready for more room.

Sleeping bags come in different tog ratings for different seasons or temperatures. Babasac is multi tog, so you can use it all year round by removing the extra layer. You should change the layers of your babies clothing depending on the temperature of the room or nursery. All of this information is on our packaging and also on the Babasac listing.

Baby sleeping bags are safe because there is no danger of the baby getting loose covers over their face. Your baby will stay at the same temperature overnight. They won’t get tangled in the cot bars which could cause them to hurt themselves or wake.

Some parents use their Babasacs or sleep bags for naps and night time, others only use them for night time as your house may be warmer during the day. One solution is to use it without the extra layers during the day and add them in at night. Or use a cellular blanket for naps and a sleeping bag at night. Babies can use a sleeping bag up to the age of 3 or when they transition to a bed.

That is a bit of a whistlestop tour but hopefully it helps you to understand the differences between cellular blankets, swaddles and baby sleeping bags.”

Find lots of options at www.mamadesigns.co.uk together with a beautifully curated range of gifts and essentials for babies and families.

Refer to the Lullaby Trust guidelines when making decisions about sleep, and don’t forget to ask your Health Visitor if you have any concerns.