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After seeing ads for the Nested Bean Zen Sack and Zen Swaddle incessantly on Facebook, I was intrigued. I had been Googling sleep related questions, so it’s no surprise I was seeing this product everywhere online. The posts claimed to help your baby sleep better in just a few nights, and after more than three months of being woken up every 2-3 hours, I was willing to try anything. I purchased the Zen Sack sleeping sack for Addi around the time we wanted to start sleep training.
The Nested Bean Zen Sack is a sleeping sack for infants that is available in 13 designs. Sizes are available in three options: 3-6 months, 6-12 months, and 15-24 months. I have used sleeping sacks like the Halo and the Ergobaby and liked those, but this one claimed to be different thanks to its weighted pressure pad on the chest that is supposed to mimic a parent’s touch. If the baby is a tummy sleeper it can be worn backwards, too. Addi has been sleeping on her tummy, but I keep the pad on her chest and she doesn’t seem to be uncomfortable that way.
I purchased the Stardust Pink option in size 6-12 months. When I opened the package, I was impressed by the quality of the material. It looked like it would be perfect for the winter time to control Addi’s temperature. It has a two-way zipper on the side that goes around the bottom, which makes diaper changes or putting it on easy. The shoulder straps have two sets of snaps that make them adjustable.
Keep in mind this was before sleep training, but I did see an improvement in her sleep. On the first night she wore the Zen Sack she woke at 2 a.m. and then not until almost 6 a.m., which is about when she had been waking for the day. On the second night, she woke up twice. She woke up three times on the third night. On the fourth night she had a five-hour stretch, which was long for her at the time. On the fifth night she woke up three times.
We reached out to Nested Bean for their free sleep advice, which they say they offer, and they offered this suggestion: “To help her get used to falling asleep on her own, try gently rubbing/patting the weight of the sack, while she is in the crib (fully awake). This will help your baby associate the weight of the sack with you soothing her to sleep. Do this until she dozes off.” Another tip: “When she wakes throughout the night, try the gentle/patting again, until she falls asleep. Of course, if she is hungry or needs to be changed, you can take her out of the crib, but otherwise TRY to avoid taking her out! At 7 months, she is nearly ready to stay in the crib all night, and needs your help understanding that it’s okay to stay there. If you find that the gentle patting works to help her fall asleep, try to gradually decrease the amount of time you spend doing this, so she can eventually do without it!”
Soon after this, we began trying to let her fall asleep in her crib in conjunction with using the Zen Sack, and sometimes other sleeping sacks when it’s in the wash. Addi now wakes usually once a night (if she’s not sick or teething). She has had stretches as long as nine hours since then. Last night she slept nine and a half hours, fed and then slept another two hours. Her sleep stretches can be anywhere from 5-6 hours to about nine on a really good night.
My final thoughts:
I like the Zen Sack and think it’s well made based on my almost two months of use. It has held up well to many washes and it has a cute design. Despite some reviews saying babies have slept through the night in just a few nights I would not expect a miracle product (unless your baby is already a good sleeper). But when used in conjunction with teaching your baby healthy sleep habits, like implementing a routine, it can definitely help both baby and parents sleep better. I would definitely purchase another Zen Sack.
Update: For any future babies I would purchase the Zen swaddle to get a headstart on good sleeping habits that I’ve learned. I would then move on to the Zen Sack.