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SLEEPING

Baby sleeping bags

Baby sleeping bags are used in France for babies from birth, though UK manufacturers tend to recommend from four months upwards. After the age of four months or so your baby is more likely to be forming a pattern of waking and sleeping, going longer between feeds. The cosiness of a baby sleeping bag can help reinforce this pattern, and give your baby the security he or she needs to sleep.

What do you need to know about baby sleeping bags?

• Babies wake up for a variety of reasons - hunger, pain, needing a cuddle - but often because they are cold. During sleep their temperature drops, and if they then kick off their covers they wake up, bringing disturbed nights for the entire household. A baby sleeping bag can avoid this problem, keeping your baby warm without the need for extra bedding which can be kicked off. Because your baby can also kick her legs within the sleeping bag it doesn't feel constricting.

• Choose your baby's sleeping bag according to season so that he or she stays comfortably warm and does not overheat. Bags are given a TOG rating according to the warmth they provide. In Winter a first-size baby sleeping bag should not be more than 4 TOG - 2.2 TOG is the average (this compares with an adult winter duvet which rates 13 TOG). In summer you'll need a sleeping bag with a lower TOG rating; baby sleeping bags go down to a minimum of 0.5 TOG (the equivalent of two sheets). When using a new bag, check your baby to ensure that the design and weight are not leading to overheating and make sure that the room in which your baby sleeps is not too warm - the ideal room temperature for a baby is 18 degrees C (65 degrees F).

• Look for a sleeping bag with deep sleeve holes, so that the air has room to circulate without your baby overheating. Underneath the sleeping bag your baby can wear a cotton sleepsuit or pyjamas, or just a vest or T-shirt in summer.

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