Blanket Sleepers for Babies

Keep your little one warm—and safe—at bedtime

Baby in Blanket Sleeper
Getty Images / Compassionate Eye Foundation / Siri Stafford

A baby blanket sleeper is a one-piece outfit that helps keep baby warm and comfortable during the night. These toasty pajamas can help you avoid putting baby to bed with a blanket, which is not a safe sleeping practice. Infant sleepers made of thinner material may also be called stretch-suits, one-piece pajamas, or footie pajamas, while thicker versions are generally called blanket sleepers.

Typically, babies need about one additional layer of clothing beyond what an adult would wear in the same temperature. Separate blankets and bedding are not recommended for babies because of the risk of suffocation and entanglement, but babies still need to be protected from chilly night air.

That's where the blanket sleeper comes in handy. These garments usually have long sleeves and long legs to keep babies cozy. Often, sleepers even cover a baby's feet, and many feature snaps or zippers at the legs to make diaper changes easier.

Sleepers come in a variety of materials, from airy cotton to thick fleece, which means there is a blanket sleeper for any season.

Choosing the Best Blanket Sleeper

When choosing a sleeper for your baby, make sure it can accommodate night-time diaper changes. Choose a blanket sleeper that opens fully at the bottom so that you don't need to fight with it to take off a soiled diaper. Baby and child pajamas are supposed to be tight-fitting or made of flame-retardant fabric to meet federal safety standards. If the blanket sleeper is of the tight-fitting style, take an extra minute to evaluate the diaper-change access.

Zippers that start at the neckline and extend down one leg may wake your baby when you unzip them and cooler air hits your baby's skin. You'll also have to pull your baby's other leg out of the unzipped side of the sleeper. Versions that zip or snap around the inside of baby's legs and up to the diaper area may be easier for stealthy night-time diaper changing.

Make sure the sleeper's fabric is easy to wash and dry. Quick clean-up and non-fussy washing instructions are essential. If the sleeper is intended to be worn alone, check to see if there are any exposed zippers or snaps that might feel rough against baby's skin, and see if the fabric is soft on the inside as well.

Remember that your baby only needs to be a little warmer than you do at night. Babies don't need three layers of thick fleece to be comfortable when sleeping.

Overly heavy blanket sleepers could overheat your baby, which isn't safe, healthy, or pleasant.

An Alternative: Wearable Blankets

A different style of blanket sleeper is the sleep sack or sleep bag. These sleepers also take the place of a separate blanket for your baby, but they are used over the top of regular lightweight pajamas. They can also be worn over non-pajama comfy clothes, such as a one-piece bodysuit or a baby T-shirt.

The bottom of the sleep sack doesn't have separate leg compartments but instead is like an enclosed skirt. Sleep sacks that open at the bottom are handy for diaper changes.

This style is also known as a wearable blanket. Some wearable blankets are also designed to swaddle your baby. One of the most popular wearable blankets is the Halo SleepSack.

Sleepers for Older Babies

Sleepers are a good choice for older babies and toddlers, too, especially those who move around a lot and kick off their sheets or covers. For toddlers who are walking, the wearable blanket style can be problematic, though there are some models that allow feet to poke out. If the sleeper has enclosed feet, be sure there's non-slip coating on them to reduce the risk of falling.

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