It is hard for us to be completely objective when it comes to the criteria for choosing a good baby sleeping bag, because we obviously believe MooMoo sleeping bags are best! Here is a list of what we found important when shopping for baby sleeping bags.
1. Fabric composition
Pure cotton is best, and usually comes at a premium price. Often if a sleeping bag is cheaper, it is not 100% cotton. A polycotton or fleece sleeping bag is not as breathable and shouldn’t be used before a baby is at least 12 months old. If the garment is marketed as cotton, but it is not specified that it is 100%, in all likelihood it is a polyester blend. Particularly in summer, pure 100% cotton is best. For the depths of winter, however, a choice has to be made between either heating the baby’s room (which does bring with it safety concerns, not to mention the costs in terms of electricity consumption) OR using a sleeping bag with a filling like a duvet. These fillings are generally polyester for warmth. I prefer using a puffy winter sleeping bag rather than heating (and drying out) the room, but the choice is a personal one.
2. Country of origin
If you prefer to support local business- and local business is the only way we can hope to make a dent in our unemployment rates- take note of where the sleeping bag is made. It will probably say it is made in SA, if that is the case. If the country of origin is not mentioned, it is likely to be made in China.
3. Zip protector
If the sleeping bag uses a zip opening- which most do- check that there is a zip protector- you don’t want the zip to be at all uncomfortable for your baby.
Check the strength and practicality of the design. It is easiest if you are able to open the sleeping bag out flat in your little ones cot in preparation for naptime, and then just zip them in as you put them down. Struggling to put an almost asleep baby into a sleeping bag and waking them up in the process is no fun at all.
At night, laying the sleeping bag and nightclothes on the change mat in preparation for bathtime, makes that sometimes very unhappy transition from bath to bed-time routine, as quick as possible. Babies are often tired, and really impatient to get to the breast/bottle feed and bed part of the routine.
Then, it is useful if you are able to do night-time nappy changes without completely taking the sleeping bag off (especially in winter), so look out for that as a feature.
Also related to design, you need to decide if you are wanting a slit in the sleeping bag so that it can be used in a car seat. A word of caution here- just be sure you are going to use this feature regularly, as the hole can start gaping and be a bit chilly on cooler nights. The other thing to check is that it is still easy to get your baby out of his/her car seat quickly in an emergency situation.
5. Sleeves and hoods
Babies need to be cooler than adults at night. I am uncomfortable with regards to the safety of sleeping bags that have sleeves, as I think it is much easier for a baby to overheat in a sleeved sleeping bag. If you do opt for one, be very strict with only using the sleeves when the room temperature is very low- don’t use a subjective test, e.g. just because you are feeling a bit chilly.
Similarly, a little night-cap or hood on a babygrow or sleeping bag increases the risk of overheating dramatically, and should be avoided.