Hi friends. This is a blog post that I’ve been penning (in my mind!) for a while now. And I’m finally ready to share it!
Khadija (my 14 month old daughter) has accumulated a sleeping bag in every tog available, and not without reason; as you might know if you follow my blog, we are fortunate enough to divide our time between two sides of the world: London and Islamabad. So I have had to think about nightwear for an array of weather conditions!
As it is all relatively fresh in my head, I decided to write about the different togs available and my experiences with different brands, hoping it’ll be of use to new (or old!) parents that might be confused about what they need to buy. Because let’s face it… baby shopping can get confusing! It was certainly confusing for me and I turned to Google numerous times for assistance.
But first… some background:
Little bubs was born in the middle of an unexpected heat wave in the UK. For her first month on earth, I was told not to cover her with anything, which meant my eager hopes to swaddle her were put on hold.
Once the weather had normalised, it almost felt like it was too late to swaddle her. In fact, had my husband not persevered, I would definitely have given up on it. But she slept so well when swaddled and I was eternally grateful to him everytime I got through a solid chunk of sleep at night! We swaddled till she was about 5 months old, and then moved on to a sleeping bag when she started to roll over and wriggle enough to undo the swaddle!
Which, what, why…
The first sleeping bag I bought was similar to this one from Mothercare. I didn’t really put any thought into it and just walked in and bought the first one I saw! It turned out to be lovely and I can’t fault it, except for the fact that Khadija outgrew it SO fast (I bought a 0-6 months sized bag when she was already 5 months old, so in retrospect that was to be expected).
I then went for a sleeping bag from M&S (similar to this one) in size 6-18 months. It didn’t take long for me to be very disappointed with it; after it came out of the washing machine, it seemed that the outer and inner parts of the bag had separated. I kept pulling at it to “straighten” it all back into place, but to no avail.
Feeling annoyed, I eventually bought a Grobag. And then another… and then another!
Grobags were sort of the “original” sleeping bags, and a lot of times I’ve heard people refer to any sleeping bag as a “Grobag” as if that’s the actual name for them! The Gro Company works with The Lullaby Trust and has been making these for 9 years now.
What on earth is a “tog?”
Before we get into detailed reviews of the Grobags, I won’t judge you if you’re wondering what on earth a “tog” is! A tog is basically just a warmth rating. The higher the tog, the warmer the sleeping bag. As simple as that!
The 0.5 tog sleeping bag
A 0.5 tog rating means the bag is essentially just a single layer of cotton, and is therefore suited to temperatures between 24-27 degrees Celsius.
I used this a lot from April-July in Pakistan, when temperatures rarely came below 30 degrees Celsius. Thanks to a humongous air conditioner, our room temp would be a pleasant 26-27 degrees. That may still sound like a lot, but because it is artificial air, any cooler than that actually becomes uncomfortable and hurts my aging bones!
This bag was perfect for Khadija to sleep in during this time.
It is pretty much the safer equivalent of being covered with a light cotton sheet. I wasn’t 100% comfortable having her sleep without anything at all, because an air conditioned room can get chilly, so this was perfect.
Would I recommend this as an essential product if you live in the UK? Maybe not. Reason being, we don’t normally have air conditioning in our bedrooms here. If it got that hot, you could just not cover your baby with anything at all. However, one great thing to note is that you can get these in “travel” versions, which have a back “vent” allowing you to slip your stroller or car seat’s belts through. So if you felt like you need something for when you’re out and about, or if you’re going to visit a hot country on holiday, then definitely go for it!
Check out this picture from the Grobag website as an example of using them while travelling:
Check out the current range of 0.5 tog Grobags at the Grostore.
The 1.0 tog sleeping bag
This one is probably my favourite.
Like the 0.5 tog bag, the outer layer is cotton, but it has a sort of soft, fleecy inside making it a little sturdier than the 0.5. Its designed for temperatures between 21-23 degrees, which doesn’t make it useful for anytime other than summer in the UK. However, you can certainly layer up underneath it (see my comments under the 2.5 tog review for more details) and I used this one a lot for daytime naps too.
Its still “thin” enough to fold into my baby bag easily, and I actually prefer this as a “travel” sleeping bag over the 0.5 tog bag!
I also MUCH prefer the front-open style because my little Khadija moves a LOT! I can literally put this on her like a jacket while she’s moving. With the styles below, I have to lay her down to get them on and it can get ugly when she’s in a bad mood.
There’s definitely a bigger variety of 1.0 tog sleeping bags, compared to 0.5 You can see the full range at the Grostore.
The 2.5 tog sleeping bag
This is the most common tog rating you’ll find when looking at sleeping bags for babies, as it is designed for standard room temperatures of between 16-20 degrees (ie. “ideal” all-year-round room temperatures). So this makes a 2.5 tog sleeping bag an “essential.”
It would not be unwise to invest in two actually (I have recently found myself stuck when ours was in the dirty laundry pile that I forgot to do, and Khadija was ready to sleep! Luckily, it wasn’t too cold so I used her 1.0 tog bag, but layered her up with a vest under her sleepsuit).
I love the completely audacious, in-your-face colour of this Grobag:
My husband is the type of person that wants everything to be… plain! He’s a minimalist. Clothing should preferably be black or white. Or… black AND white. But let’s not get carried away! So you can’t blame me for buying a plush, velvety HOT PINK Grobag for our daughter with a giant giraffe on the front. It was like a mini rebellion!
The design on this is the same as our 3.5 tog sleeping bag, so read on below for more details.
The 3.5 tog sleeping bag
This one is designed for very cold weather (room temperatures of 12-15 degrees).
I haven’t had the chance to try this out with Khadija properly yet, as winter has not set in. In fact, this will be packed up and taken to Pakistan for the expected chill in Islamabad between December-February. One of the reasons our bedroom temperature goes down to 15 degrees (and sometimes lower) is because houses over there are designed for LONG summers with soaring temperatures; the downside of that is they don’t retain heat very well during the short, but chilly winters!
Upon first feel, the 3.5 tog bag does not seem drastically different to the 2.5 tog. There is certainly a difference in thickness, but not huge. However, it does feel more… snug!
This one only comes in a side-zip style, which for me personally is a slight downside. As I mentioned above, Khadija is a mover and shaker! Front-zip sleeping bags are easier for me to put on her, but this is very much a personal preference; my good friend Theo (mother of two beautiful girls) prefers side-zip styles. Nappy changes are also easier in this style, as the bag opens out flat (something to bear in mind for smaller babies).
Sleeping bags in this style come with shoulder and underarm poppers, like so:
These are for “smaller” babies, so the bag stays snug around their upper bodies, and can be left open if need be.
Over the past few years, winters have been getting noticeably colder (brrrr) so depending on how much you use your central heating (not everyone likes to leave it on all night), and how much heat your rooms retain in general, this might not be a wasted investment.
See the full range of 3.5 tog sleeping bags available at the Grostore here.
So tell me… how do you dress your baby for bed? What brands do you swear by, and which have you had any negative experiences with? Do you think I’ve missed anything out that would be useful to new parents? Leave me a comment below; I’d love to hear from you!
Please note: The Gro Company very kindly sent me the 3.5 tog Grobag to review. All of the other Grobags mentioned in this post were my own purchases. I did not receive any financial compensation from the Gro Company, and ALL opinions expressed are my own 🙂
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