When I’m asked to review something that I can’t test with my own family, I turn to my Facebook page and offer my readers a guest review opportunity.
Guest reviewers can be moms, dads, grandparents or other caregivers. They receive the products for free and get to keep them in exchange for their honest reviews. Like my own reviews on Mommy Gearest, receiving a product does not automatically earn a positive review.
Elizabeth is a mom to twin nine-year-old girls, one five-year-old fairy princess, a three-year-old Batman, and now four-month-old iBaby. (I don’t have mad math skillz but that’s FIVE kids, yo!) Without her Super Husband who does everything, she swears she’d never be able to do all the crafting, baking and online shopping that she does. But, shhhh…don’t let him know she said so.
I’d like to point out that swaddling is recommended by some experts and not by others. As a parent, you need to do what makes you feel comfortable. Mommy Gearest always recommends consulting your trusted health-care provider(s).
Also important to note is that when Elizabeth wrote this review, she was unaware that Halo also offers the SleepSack Swaddle in a 3-6 months size.
When our twins were born nine years ago, I remember my husband and I swaddling them just like the nurses taught us, nice and snug, so that they would feel safe and get a good sleep. During a baby show when they were newborns, we were introduced to German sleep sacks and have never looked back. We recommend sleep sacks to all new parents – you’ll never lose sleep worrying about your baby not having covers on them, getting tangled up in them or having them over their faces – but even now with our fifth baby, we’re learning new things.
iBaby (our newest addition) is a HOT baby – she sweats a lot. Swaddling when she was first born caused her to sweat and become uncomfortable during longer sleeps. We started to leave the swaddle loose but then she’d wake up earlier than expected (OK, she wasn’t on a schedule but she had been sleeping at least four hours at night and we didn’t want to lose that!). That’s why I jumped at this opportunity to do a review of the Halo SleepSack Swaddle.
After having five children, you’d think that I’d have known more about all the different types of health concerns for babies and young children; but I missed something really important called infant hip dysplasia. This is when an infant’s hips (that are loose after birth) don’t tighten properly due to genetics, other health conditions and IMPROPER SWADDLING! I had no idea that improper swaddling had the potential to cause a condition that could also lead to other health concerns later in life. The Halo has taken the best parts of both swaddling and a sleep sack and created the Halo SleepSack Swaddle. It allows your baby to be swaddled in a way that keeps her arms wrapped up but allows her legs to move. iBaby really needed this sleep sack. She was regularly breaking out of her loose swaddle and sweating from the blanket wrapped around her during the hot weather.
The Halo SleepSack Swaddle comes in different fabrics, including 100 per cent cotton, 100 per cent organic cotton, chenille, micro fleece and velboa. Velboa? I’m a crafter/sewer and even I had to look that one up. It’s supposed to be like minky but has a longer pile, which makes it a bit rougher (apparently). Depending on how “hot” your baby is, I’d be careful with the fabric choice. Also take into consideration the time of year and what season you’re in. iBaby used a 100 per cent cotton Halo SleepSack Swaddle for this review. It’s soft and pink polka-dotted with a couple of tags that remind us that “back is best.” The pink scalloped edges of the wrap part are really cute, too!
On the inside of one of the swaddling “wings” (when you open up the entire sleep sack, the parts that wrap look like wings – perfect for your angel), there are instructions for correct infant swaddling. There’s also a disclaimer that lets you know when to stop swaddling (like when baby can break out of the swaddle or roll over).
iBaby slept well with her arms all swaddled up and I was pleased to see her moving her legs around. Apparently, she’s practising to be a soccer player in her sleep after cheering for the Canadian women’s soccer team! The hook and loop-type fasteners are strong enough to keep her arms from popping out yet they can easily be adjusted until you get just the right fit (which doesn’t take long after one or two tries).
If baby doesn’t need his arms wrapped up anymore or for shorter naps, the Halo SleepSack Swaddle can be used arms-out. This option is especially great for those babies who just need some extra warmth in the belly area during cooler months to prevent catching colds (based on cultural practices – a.k.a. my mother).
Considering the health benefit, the $30 price point is on par with many other sleep sacks (although I wish its use could be extended beyond three months old).
Oi. The first time we tried the Halo SleepSack Swaddle was after washing and drying it for the first time. Let me tell you, when this sleep sack comes out of the wash, be ready to take some time to untangle it and please try not to do it in the dark while holding the baby who you just finally got to sleep after she’d been fighting it for the last 30 minutes. It seems that the hook-and-loop fasteners will fasten themselves to the each other in whichever way they can while in the wash. Note: It does say on the inside tag to close the fasteners before washing. I’ll let iBaby’s dad know for next time.
iBaby still sweats.
The fasteners are also quite loud for being so close to baby’s face. The sound of the fastener being unfastened or even just being touched is new and surprising to a little baby, too. iBaby totally startled and woke up when I had to rearrange the swaddle part the first time I tried it. It also happened every other time we removed the wrap part, so if you’re hoping just to keep baby a little bit sleepy, but remove the sleep sack, be prepared for a very alert baby who will suddenly be hungry or want to stay up for hours.
The Halo SleepSack Swaddle (in the 0-3 month size we tried) was much shorter than I expected compared to other sleep sacks. iBaby, being closer to the three-month mark, was probably too big already for this sleep sack. She still needs the swaddling in the arms but her legs are long and I would prefer her to have more room. Nevertheless, the cotton is stretchy and still allows her to move around unrestricted. I can see why Halo may not make a swaddle sack for older/bigger babies but I think that by making the current size longer in length, longer babies or those who still need swaddling and haven’t learned to roll yet could get better and longer use of it.
Editor’s note: Please visit http://www.hipdysplasia.org/ to learn more about hip dysplasia. I’ve been writing about it since I started Mommy Gearest. Every time you carry your baby in a carrier like the Baby Bjorn or Snugli, which allow baby to face forward and hang by the crotch, you are putting baby’s hip alignment (not to mention spinal development) at risk. I personally swaddled both of my kids; in fact, I double-swaddled them. Had I known that this, too, contributes to the very real risk of hip dysplasia, I would have purchased a sleep sack like this instead. As Maya Angelou famously says via Oprah: “When you know better, you do better.”