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Stupid question alert - what do babies sleep in?

(32 Posts)
benne81 Fri 08-Jul-11 12:27:59

I'm a first timer and obviously don't seem to have a clue about babies at all. I'm getting very confused on even the very basic details like what do they sleep in!! I have seen the sleeping bag things - do you put them in them from birth with a sleep suit on? is that enough or do they need extra blankets? I have also seen swaddling blankets and cellular blankets and I'm really confused! Please will someone just explain to me what I need to buy and at what age its best to use what - any advice would be much appreciated.

benne81 Fri 08-Jul-11 12:28:47

ps baby is due end of September

BlueChampagne Fri 08-Jul-11 13:06:39

Are you booked in for an ante-natal course - either NHS or NCT? You should get plenty of information there on the options. But basically, either:

sleeping bag + sleepsuit (vary according to temperature)
sleepsuit + sheet + blanket(s) (depending on temperature).

You might find a nursery thermometer useful in the early days.

kiteflying Fri 08-Jul-11 13:26:05

I found a bundler (looks like a nightie with elasticated bottom) was best because it made middle of the night nappy changes a breeze. Sleepsuits are fiddly for the sleepdeprived!
I was wary of sleeping bags in the early days, when they can't regulate their temperature - preferred to keep the room a good baby temperature (see BlueChampagne's rec for a room thermometer) and have bubs under simple cellular blankets - but sleeping bags are invaluable as it sneaks towards winter, as babies do kick away the blanket, and if you are not co-sleeping they can wake up cold, or the blanket end up over their face etc.
My baby was born end August, so a September baby would prob be ready for a sleeping bag about the time winter kicks in?
I think people use those swaddlers for babies that wake themselves with movement, and feel safer "enclosed" but I thought they were not recommended for overnight? Maybe a question for your AN classes.

benne81 Fri 08-Jul-11 13:27:42

Thanks - I'm booked in for NHS antenatal classes and I've got an afternoon on parenting - don't know how they are going to fit it all into one afternoon! Thanks for your help - its all so confusing! How many of each things would you recommend I buy for a new baby?

Badgerwife Fri 08-Jul-11 13:35:21

I feel I should respond lest you feel like we're all ignoring you! I'm due any minute but it's my first so I'm probably not the most knowledgeable on MN by a very long shot but I've bought some things.

The advice I've been given is that baby should always have an extra layer on than you at any time so a vest and a babygro on top as minimum at any given time including sleep time.

Then it depends on the temperature of the room what you put on top.

The two main options that I can see are cellular blankets or sleep bags. Swaddling is a bit old fashioned and restrict baby's arms movements which is no longer recommended.

Cellular blankets are, as far as I can tell, just blankets for babies (I don't know what the cellular bit means), so you would put that over the baby up to under its arms.

I've decided to go with sleep bags because they're practical and easy to use size-wise (0-3, 3-6 months etc so there's space for baby to grow into them). A lot of people have said that after a while, when you put baby in its sleeping bag, it knows immediately that it's sleep time and finds it comforting. The good thing with sleep bags is also that you don't need a blanket or anything else on top, you just buy a range of bags with different togs i.e. 1 tog if really hot, 2.5 togs average and 3 togs for winter.

I bought different ones and some came with a room thermometer that tells you which tog to use.

I found this website really helpful about the various options (under product advice on the left)

I hope this helps!

kiteflying Fri 08-Jul-11 13:35:39

You don't know how big your baby will be until arrival so not too many of anything in "first size" but maybe take someone shopping with you that can do a fly around in the first weeks to restock sleepsuits and prettiness at the right size? So they know what you like and don't like.
There is an essentials list somewhere on mumsnet - or your class might have a what to pack list for you? It is worth hitting the shops without spending anything on the first foray. It is very easy to be talked into things by a salesgirl if you don't have your essentials list with you! (so glad I did not buy a nappy bin, for eg). It is a lovely nesting feeling to fondle sweet little baby clothes.
See if you can find the mumsnet thread "what are you glad you did not buy..." It might be a bit old now.

kiteflying Fri 08-Jul-11 13:41:20

Just read Badgerwife's lovely response and thought I would add that cellular blankets are just open weave cotton blankets. mamas and papas make some beautiful long lasting ones (expensive but mine are still going strong and soft).
My DD hated sleeping bags - my friends' boys adored them and like Badger said, always associated them with being cosy for sleep. I had stocked up on different sizes and ended by only really using them on cold nights because she so hated not being able to kick them off.
Sometimes your baby will dictate what they want once you learn to read their cues.

thesurgeonsmate Fri 08-Jul-11 13:43:57

They don't sleep in the bags from birth, can't remember why, probably head to small to guarantee won't slip through hole. When they get to bags after a couple of months, the idea is no extra blanket, you can put them in the bag in nothing, vest, or babygro depending on how warm you feel it is. The bags come with instructions on all of this, and they also come in different togs. Since the baby needs more than one in case it poos or voms in the night and they also go through different sizes, sleeping bags are a major investment, but you'll be picking them up as you go along, since you'll want to get right sizes for summer/winter as your baby grows. So that's really easy....

Before bags, you might be swaddling, if you have swaddly baby. You'd probably have it in a vest or vest and sleepsuit and then swaddle it. You could well feel this is cosy enough. If not, you'll pin it to the moses basket/cradle/cot with a cellular blanket, with the baby's feet at the foot of the bed and being careful to tuck it all in securely, so as to prevent baby-under-the-covers dangers. If not swaddled, you'll probably have it in a vest/babygro combo or just a babygro, and be pinning it to bed using blanket as above.

Swaddling does not invovle a special blanket necessarily but you do get a very neat parcel indeed with something like the gro swaddling blanket. Pricey, though. I never used a more casual swaddle, but I think you can do it in a large muslin or a soft blanket. My baby didn't want to be swaddled long, and I kind of regretted the expense of the special swaddles, although as I say their tight and tidy result cannot be denied.

Simple, no? It will all seem quite obvious once you get started. I'd buy some cellular blankets and something rough and ready to try swaddling with as a start, someone else will know what, and get some Gro swaddles if the baby likes it. Then sleeping bags later.

I just need someone to tell me now when we move on to downies and pillows?

MovingAndScared Fri 08-Jul-11 13:49:09

both my boys love sleeping bags -the ones I had were from 7lb and they went in them about 2 week or so -
they are pretty pricey new - but wash really well and I bought quite a few 2nd hand either from ebay or NCT nearly new sales -which are a brilliant place for buying all kinds baby essentials there are bound to be some in your area - you don' t need to be a member

bettieblue Fri 08-Jul-11 13:58:59


I intially swaddled my DS as they did this with him at the hospital in a blanket. Lots of people receommend swaddling to help new borns sleep as they feel secure. A cellular blanket is a blanket with holes in it. I kept him swaddled for about 3 weeks but as he got more alert and active he would wriggle and completely come undone. I bought a swaddling pod from Mothercare which he hated. I quickly learnt he likes waving his arms around! I now put him in sleeping bag (also know as Gro bags- Gro bags is a brand of sleeping bag- ) which as badgerwife explained comes in different togs. They are good because they won't kick them off like blankets and they are roomy enough for them to kick about in if they want to. You need to check though because some bags you need baby to be a certain weight before you can use them. Gro bags they need to be 8lb- don't just buy a 0-3 mth bag and assume a new born can use it, check the label for the minimum weight. Mothercare do one you can use from 5lb.

I also found ' Your baby- Week by Week' by Simone Cave and Caroline Fertleman good as it gives a week by week guide after baby is born and its got a really useful temp chart that tells you what clothing baby should wear and how may layers of blankets etc. I think a room thermometer is a must. Baby will also tell you, a couple of times recently in the hot weather ive picked up DS and hes been damp so ive put him in a vest instead of a baby gro.

kiteflying Fri 08-Jul-11 14:04:03

Oh yes, fab book. I lived by that book.

Boosaphena Fri 08-Jul-11 14:09:09

I swaddled my first as she found it v reassuring then she moved into sleeping bags around 7 weeks(?) she was tiny so this was a good way of keeping her warm. My 2nd didn't like swaddling so we used tucked in sheet and blanket then he had a sleeping bag and co slept on top of our covers. I would say at least 4 of each ad poo/wee/vomit goes a long way and you really won't be arsed with washing!

Boosaphena Fri 08-Jul-11 20:50:43

Incidentally if you go down the bag route I found some utter bargains in tkmaxx!

babyonbord Sat 09-Jul-11 09:36:41

I swaddled my first for the first month as he was early and was too small to fit into a sleeping bag and then used the mamas and papas snuggle me till he was old enough to go in the cot (i'm planning to do that this time round just waiting for them to deliver my new one) at which point i bought dreampods (can't remember how many i had tho i think 2 will be enough i'm sure i only had 2 with my first maybe i had 3, 2 gingerbread one and a hodge podge one i think god i really can't remember. When it was cold i just put a sleepsuit on with a cardigan to keep his arms warm otherwise i just used a sleepsuit.

mumblebum Sat 09-Jul-11 09:40:25

If you get a grobag they come (or certainly used to) with a thermometer that has a guide for what layers they would need to wear at different temperatures. That's a handy starting point. You'll get to know your own baby though. My first was always cold and ended up needing more than suggested and my second was hot and needed less.

It is all a bit daunting first time round but please don't worry, you'll quickly find your feet.

PhyllisDiller Sat 09-Jul-11 10:38:24

These are good when baby is a little bit bigger (you’ll know when, they just seem to grow a bit and fit them), one of these underneath. A room thermometer that you get free with the grow bag helps, it tells you what tog grow bag and which top they should have under the growbag. The grow bag ones were not the cheapest but they have lasted and are about to be used for DC3 (I managed to buy unisex ones).

Until then I used to wrap them loosely in a cellular blankets in the same way that they did in the hospital.

They are all different and some get hotter than others, mine hated being swaddled and got hot easily.

ckny1 Sat 09-Jul-11 12:26:31

We also swaddled our LO for the first few weeks and tucked a folded cellular blanket around him & under his moses basket mattress to keep him warm & cozy in March. No need to spend much on the swaddle cloth since you can find instructions online! Soon he made it clear that he didn't want to be tied down (!), so my SIL bought us 2 sleeping bags which can adjust with his size. One is a lighter tog than the other. Very expensive, but worth it since he can use them for a while. Our baby is like a menopausal woman with hot flashes, so we usually have him in a vest in his sleeping bag. Has slept for 8 hrs through the night since he was 2 months old, which I associate with the bag (or maybe it's just him)! Enjoy this time and what's to come! smile

fatandknackered Sat 09-Jul-11 15:20:19

I swaddled both of my 2 DS until about 10 weeks. when they could fight their way out. After that it was sleeping bags - DS1 was a winter baby, DS2 summer but I used the same bags to no ill-effect.

Have just read swaddling not recommended any more and am expecting DC3 - what is wrong with swaddling does anyone know?

Also in answer to the downy/pillow question I think it's not recommended before 12 months (tells you on Mothercare packaging I think). That's what I did with DSs but of course I swaddled so may not be a good example-setter!!!

bessie26 Sat 09-Jul-11 20:21:36

fatandknsckered where did you read that swaddling is no longer recommended?

I swaddled DD1 with a large muslin over the top of a short sleved body (oct baby) but DH never got the knack of it, so DD2 is in a woombie much much easier!!

jenrendo Sat 09-Jul-11 20:31:40

At our antenatals we were also told not to swaddle any more. It has gone out of fashion. We still did it when DS was tiny before he went into his sleeping bags, which he loves. Think the swaddling has something to do with hindering development of spacial awareness blah blah or something. you can see we took lots of notice...

PhyllisDiller Sat 09-Jul-11 21:50:37

Not so much an out of fashion thing, but the FSID web-site has a Q and A section, 7th question down explains about swaddling.

Not sure when it was updated but I think it may have changed in the last few years, I don't remember swaddling mentioned when DD was born.

mumblebum Sat 09-Jul-11 22:31:11

FSID on swaddling I never knew that. I've just bought a swaddle wrap for the new baby too!

Pussinglads Sat 09-Jul-11 23:02:38

Dd is 5months and we were told to swaddle (Nct course, nhs antenatal, hospital mws, HV).
She was 8lb9 at birth so moved into a grobag shortly after.

EDD24may Sun 10-Jul-11 04:43:50

Hi, re swaddling. My baby was swaddled by midwives in hospital but is not recommended as promotes deeper sleep and SIDS research showed more deaths in babies allowed to spend lots time in deep sleep hence advice on not swaddling/overheating etc. However like all. advice you have to go with flow as if baby won't sleep unless swaddled and on front/side then sleep deprivation forces you to go with it.evidence for putting on back to sleep is very good tho re SIDS so if you can do this is best for baby. Good luck! Enjoy nesting.I'd second nct sales.don't buy too does next day delivery.I bought stuff from hospital bed when i realised I needed it post em c section and it arrived next day. One thing I would recommend you get now is waterproof sheet for your case waters break but v useful for leaky boobs and baby's wee/vomit/poo explosions after birth! x

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