- Swaddles help newborns feel calm and secure, but should be stopped when babies attempt to roll.
- Sleep sacks can be used from birth and until baby is older, keeping babies warm and replacing swaddles during the transition.
- Always follow safe sleep practices: place babies alone, on their backs, and in their cribs.

For newborns who are getting the hang of sleeping, swaddling or using a sleep sack or sleep suit can help baby feel calm and secure, which helps them fall asleep. While these can be helpful in the first few months after birth, it’s important to know when to stop swaddling, and how long you can use sleep sacks.

What is the difference between a swaddle and a sleep sack?

  • A swaddle blanket is a lightweight or thin blanket that is wrapped around baby while they sleep. Learn more about how to swaddle baby.
  • A sleep sack is a wearable blanket that zips up. Some have holes for arms. Some also look much more like a large footie pajamas— these are usually called sleep suits.
Example of a swaddleBaby in swaddle
Example of a sleep sack

Baby in sleep sack


The most important difference between a swaddle and a sleep sack is that baby will need to stop using a swaddle much sooner than a sleep sack. So while baby may use a swaddle in the early months, they will need to stop as they gain more motor skills (more on that below). A sleep sack, on the other hand, can be used for a longer period of time.

Why are these used?

These sleeping devices are meant to help baby feel calm and secure, which prepares them to sleep. Swaddles can also prevent the moro reflex from happening, which can startle baby awake.

When do you stop swaddling a baby?

When baby attempts to roll, swaddling should end. While rolling is a 4-6 month milestone, baby may attempt to roll as early as 2 months old.

Something important to repeat here: baby should stop swaddling when they attempt to roll over. This is before baby actually rolls.

What does it look like when baby attempts to roll over?

Baby will most likely try to roll from belly to back before they roll from back to belly. Look for the following signs that baby is going to start rolling over:

  • Baby is lifting their head while laying
  • Baby is reaching for toys while on tummy
  • Any sign that neck muscles are getting stronger

When should baby use a sleep sack?

Sleep sacks can be used from birth. They are also very helpful when baby is transitioning out of swaddling. It is strongly recommended that baby doesn’t use any blankets or loose bedding, so a sleep sack can keep baby warm at night while they get used to not using a swaddle.

There is no rule when baby should stop using a sleep sack, and there are some sized big enough for toddlers and children. But keep in mind how well the sleep sack is fitting your child— as they grow, there should still be room in the sleep sack to sleep comfortably.

A few other sleep safety tips from the AAP:

  • Baby should always sleep alone, with nothing else in their crib.
  • Baby should always be placed in their crib on their back
  • Baby should always sleep in their crib.
  • Weighted swaddles, weighted clothing and weighted objects are not recommended by the AAP.

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