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11 Wonderful Ways to Swaddle Baby in Snuggly Warmth

Baby buntings, cocoons, sleep sacks: whatever they’re called, these sleep sack knitting patterns will keep babies warm

A short while ago, my younger daughter was a baby.

(Okay, it was in 2006. Why does it still feel like yesterday?)

When she was but a wee babe, I discovered that she absolutely loved to be swaddled. When she was cranky and fussy, and I knew she needed a nap, I found that the fastest way to calm her and get her to dreamland was to swaddle her — that is, wrap her tightly in a blanket.

This confused me because her older sibling never seemed to like it at all. (My first child was a very challenging baby, which is why it took me 6 years to gather the nerve to have another.)

But the science is on the side of my younger; young babies are often calmed by swaddling. The theory goes that the snuggly feeling of swaddling reminds of the snug fit of their mother’s womb.

When you think about it, this makes sense. Babies spend 9 months in close quarters, after all… and who wouldn’t be somewhat alarmed when moving from those close quarters to the loud, chaotic openness of planet Earth?

Science also tells us that swaddling offers a reduced risk of every new parent’s nightmare, SIDS. If you’ve been a new parent in the last 20 years or so, you’re well aware of the “Back to Sleep” campaign that reminds parents to place their babies to sleep on their backs.

Swaddling helps ensure that a baby placed on her back to sleep actually stays there.

Why We Love Sleep Sacks for Babies

I don’t actually know how long sleep sack knitting patterns have been around. But I can tell they’re more popular than ever!

Two huge benefits of sleep sack knitting patterns over patterns for baby blankets:

  • The aforementioned benefits of swaddling; baby sleep sacks offer both more comfort and more protection to infants than do baby blankets.
  • Uniqueness: Baby blankets are a frequent gift to newborns. But how many times do you see new babies gifted a sleep sack? Exactly!

Note: long, sleeveless sleep sacks should not be used for sleeping newborn or premature babies, as they can slip down into the sack and suffocate. In these instances, sleep sacks with sleeves should be used, if at all.

You’ll find two kinds of baby sleep sack knitting patterns: without sleeves and with sleeves. You’ll also find a bonus collection: sleep sacks with matching hats!

1. Sleep Sack Knitting Patterns for Babies: Look Ma, No Sleeves  

Peapod Cocoon, Hooded
Photo: Bev Qualheim

Newborn Peapod Cocoon

Peapod Cocoon, Plain
Photo: Bev Qualheim
  • What you’ll need to make it: 400 to 600 yards worsted weight yarn (depending on whether you make the hooded or plain version); US Size 15 circular needles, at least 24 inches (you’ll want at least 40 inches if you wish to use the Magic Loop method); US Size G crochet hook (hooded version only)
  • Why you’ll want to: This is a simple, straightforward pattern and a great pattern to try knitting in the round for the first time!

Work Sock Baby (Monkey) Snuggler

  • What you’ll need to make it: 290 to 328 yards bulky weight yarn; US Size 9 and 10 DPNs or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: This adorable pattern uses the red-white-gray color scheme of the popular sock monkey to create a precious sleep sack. Perfect for any “baby monkey”! 🐵
Owlie Sleep Sack
Owlie Sleep Sack
Photo: Javakittie on Ravelry

Owlie Sleep Sack

  • What you’ll need to make it: 150 to 200 yards worsted (or heavy worsted) weight yarn; US Size 7 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round); cable needle or spare DPN
  • Why you’ll want to: A sleep sack with adorable little owl designs at the top. Need I say more? 🦉

2. Sleeveless Sleep Sacks with Matching Hats

Swaddle Sac and Acorn Cap

  • What you’ll need to make it: About 170 yards worsted weight yarn for the sleep sack and about 120 yards bulky weight yarn for the acorn cap; US Size 7 DPNs or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: The sleep sack pattern couldn’t be simpler; the adorable acorn-shaped cap is irresistible!
Bernat Baby Cocoon
Bernat Knit Baby Cocoon
Photo: Yarnspirations

Bernat Knit Baby Cocoon

  • What you’ll need to make it: 400 yards bulky chenille yarn; US Size 10 needles
  • Why you’ll want to: This is the rare sleep sack knitting pattern that calls for flat knitting with a sewn seam. That goes for both cocoon and matching cap! Chenille yarn makes it heavenly soft to touch.
Red Heart Petite Pep Squad Cocoon
Red Heart Petite Pep Squad Cocoon
Photo: Yarnspirations

Red Heart Petite Pep Squad Cocoon

  • What you’ll need to make it: 488 yards worsted weight yarn (in 2 colors if you wish to do the stripes called for in the pattern); US Size 8 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: This adorable design is especially for anyone who wishes their baby to show the family’s team spirit. And even if the baby never quite understands the whole “team spirit” thing, s/he’ll look awfully cute!
Red Heart Comfy Cocoon & Cap
Red Heart Comfy Cocoon & Cap
Photo: Yarnspirations

Red Heart Comfy Cocoon & Cap

  • What you’ll need to make it: 364 yards worsted weight yarn; US Size 8 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: This knitting pattern is very similar in design to the Petite Pep Squad cocoon; the only difference is that this pattern is intended to be knitted in one color. It’s perfect for a snuggly baby!

3. Sleep Sacks with Sleeves  

sleeper sack knitting pattern
Toasty Sleeper
Photo: Laura Savastinuk

Toasty Sleeper

  • What you’ll need to make it: 300 yards worsted or heavy worsted weight yarn; US Size 7 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round).
  • Why you’ll want to: This is probably the simplest sleeved pattern of the bunch. No drawstrings, no buttons, just ease and simplicity. This sweet little pattern is a nice, quick knit, especially wonderful for a baby gift.

Mrs Brak’s Drawstring Bottom Baby Kimono with Raglan Shaping

Drawstring baby cocoon
Mrs. Brak’s Drawstring Bottom
Baby Kimono with Raglan Shaping
Photo: LuckyViolet on Ravelry
  • What you’ll need to make it: 490 yards DK weight yarn; US Size 6 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round); US Size 4 DPNs or US Size E crochet hook or ready-made 30 to 36-inch narrow drawstring cord; buttons and/or snaps; sewing thread for buttons and/or snaps; stitch markers and stitch holders (or scrap yarn)
  • Why you’ll want to: Here’s a cute nightgown/sleepsack with a button front and a drawstring at the bottom. (Ignore the link at the bottom of the Ravelry page. The website is no longer up, but the “download from Ravelry” links work.) This involves a great deal of finishing touches required (the buttons and/or snaps, the drawstring bottom), but what an outstanding and adorable result!
Hazelnut - DROPS Design
Hazelnut
Photo: DROPS Design

Hazelnut

  • What you’ll need to make it: 550 to 850 yards super bulky weight yarn; US Size 11 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round); 5 to 6 buttons
  • Why you’ll want to: This adorable sleep sack has a hood, a button top, and a closed bottom. There’s even an option to create holes for car seat belt buckles.
Comfy Angel's Nest - baby cocoon knitting pattern
Comfy Angel’s Nest
Photo: Audrey Paquin

Comfy Angel’s Nest

  • What you’ll need to make it: 355 to 430 yards worsted weight yarn; US Size 8 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round, though you will want at least 2 DPNs to create an I-cord); 6 buttons
  • Why you’ll want to: This pattern is probably the most complex of the group, but oh, the beauty! It is completely buttoned down to the bottom, and it has a drawstring as well. (Again, ignore the link at the bottom of the Ravelry page. It does not work, but the “download from Ravelry” links do.)

So choose one of these sleep sack knitting patterns and produce the perfect baby gift. Baby’s parents will thank you when their infant sleeps like an angel in a sleep sack!

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4 Comments

  1. They look adorable, but how practical are they, really? If the baby needs a diaper change, the mother has to take the baby completely out of the sack. Shouldn’t they have a flap on the bottom that can be unbuttoned so the baby can be changed without taking the sack off?

    That’s why baby clothing has snaps for the crotch and legs – for easier diaper changing.

    1. Not all of them are completely closed at the bottom. Several have drawstrings, or are actually completely open at the bottom.

    2. Our charity has made thousands of these baby cocoons and the nurses at the hospital have shown us that when you take a fussy baby and put them in a baby cocoon, they are either asleep or quietly content in under 60 seconds. It’s amazing. The cocoons are made so that the babies feel ‘cocooned’ like they are back in the womb and it is very comforting to them. I have used these cocoons on my children and grandchildren and can tell you they are indispensable. They are quick and easy to take off the babies and super simple and easy to put back on. No struggling with receiving blankets or having toes and feet sticking out. Knit or crochet them like a hat, but long, with a curved end. https://tinyurl.com/3vzdcak5