Some people may hear the word “sleeper” and have no idea what you are talking about. That’s why many times they get grouped into the same category as onesies. However, there is a difference between onesies and sleepers. Often this is most important in the context of infants.
What is the difference between a onesie and a sleeper? Onesies are outfits that are made simply for comfort, while sleepers are specifically designed to keep you warm during the night.
While adults can simply grab a blanket when they are cold, babies don’t have that luxury. That is why it’s important for parents to not only know the difference, but research which one is appropriate for their child.
The Difference Between a Onesie and a Sleeper
Not all onesies are pajamas, but certain onesies are pajamas. Adult onesies are usually always sleepwear, yes. However, onesies for kids can be either regular daytime wear or pajamas, depending on what the material the onesie is made of.
Onesies Vs Sleepers:
- Sleepers and onesies are both pajamas
- Sleepers are specifically to keep you warm (usually for babies)
- Onesies are commonly worn by adults as well as children
For example, if the onesie is of a fleece, or sometimes terry cloth variety, it is a pajama onesie made specifically for nighttime wear. This is because these kinds of fabric are very soft and warm, as they retain heat and moisture.
Normal, everyday onesies for kids are typically made with a cotton, polyester, bamboo, or other mixes of fabrics.
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.
Which One is Better: A Onesie or a Sleeper?
There is a debate on whether onesies are suitable for newborns to wear. This is only due to newborns still having not yet lost their umbilical cord stumps. Some parents worry that the onesie may irritate the umbilical cord, while others don’t experience any issues with their baby’s onesie bothering their umbilical cord.
Some pediatricians and doctors will advise parents against putting onesies on their newborn until after the stump falls off and heals, while other doctors and pediatricians will tell you that it doesn’t make a difference.
Yet, others still argue that onesies protect the umbilical cord from getting rubbed or snagged by things and can even stabilize the umbilical cord stump from moving around.
Steps in making the right decision for a onesie vs sleeper:
- Do your research
- Know your child
- Realize that it depends on their age, weight and sleeping habits
There is no real clear answer to this one. The best thing to do is try dressing your newborn in a onesie, watch their reaction to having the onesies put on, and watching the umbilical cord closely to see if the onesie does or does not aggravate it.
Onesies can be remarkably warm, and cozy given the right material. You should look for onesies that are made from fabrics like fleece, cotton, terry cloth, wool, silk, flannel, cashmere, and satin.
Fleece is perfect for winter nights, as it can insulate, keeping cold air away from the skin, yet it is surprisingly lightweight, meaning it won’t cause you to sweat and feel heavy.
Cotton is the preferred material for not only onesies, but all clothing, as it holds heat close to the body, but is at the same time, breathable, light, organic, and strong. Satin fabric is very warm, as it traps in heat and does not breathe very well at all, making it better for the winter.
Polyester is a warm material. It is not at all absorbent though, meaning you will sweat up a storm if you try to wear a polyester onesie in the summer. Flannel is a manufactured material that’s usually made from synthetic fibers and cotton blends. It is warm and somewhat breathable.
There is no reason a onesie should cause a sleeping hazard for a grown adult with no mental impairments. However, onesies that have a zipper down the front have been shown to pose a risk of suffocation to infants and small children when they are put to bed in them.
This happens when the child scooches up or down in their sleep, moving the front of the onesie upwards toward the face. possibly causing the zipper to asphyxiate the child if they are unable to unzip it by themselves. Also, buying onesies that are much too big for your infant or toddler can hold the same risk.
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.
Newborns have very immature nervous systems, lots of reflexive movements, and little control over their limbs. Swaddling keeps them nestled tightly while their nervous systems are developing and gives them the best chance of sailing smoothly in and out of stages of sleep.
Expect and encourage your baby to tumble around, sit up, stand up, and eventually walk around and explore their crib; it’s their domain and they should feel free to move unencumbered.
At first, babies can be disoriented by the free-range movement, but over time it does help them sleep. That’s because our babies are more likely to sleep through the night when they choose their own body position, and when they have the freedom to replicate that position easily every time they stir.
One of the most common missteps we see in sleep consultations is people overdressing their babies.
There’s a misconception that warmer equals sleepier, but the opposite tends to be true: people of all ages sleep best when the room is cool, around 65-68 degrees. Imagine yourself in a very warm room with heavy layers on you neck-to-toe, it’s more stressful than anything.
How to Find the Best Onesie or Sleeper
Good beginner brands for Onesies:
Just in time for the chilly winter months, Zutano recently released a line of organic cotton pajamas. Choose from oh-so-soft and stretchy two pieces and one-piece zippered sleepers.
All picks are eco-friendly, GOTS certified 100% organic cotton without any lead, phthalates or flame-retardant chemicals. Available at zutano.com starting at $3.
New baby and children’s sleepwear brand Westyn Baby ($42 and up) uses super-soft fabrics in creamy pastel colors. What could be more soothing and gentler on baby’s delicate skin? The PJ materials are lightweight and breathable so your little one doesn’t overheat, and there are no irritating tags to deal with. These long-sleeve sets come in seven beautiful shades. And expect to see monogramming available soon.
Another new brand, Lark Adventurewear, mainly focuses on eco-friendly activewear for babies and toddlers, but also has a Zip Footie ($32) for sleeping and lounging around the house.
The company uses moisture-wicking technology to keep sweaty babies comfy and cool no matter what. The footie provides full coverage and is designed with grippy feet for when your little one starts walking.
The Bacon and Eggs onesie comes in two colors (petal and haze) and is made with a long-lasting viscose-spandex blend that allows for lots of tossing and turning in the crib, and then playing around the breakfast table the next morning.
Across the pond, Tilly and Jasper offers organic fair-trade cotton PJs in tons of cute patterns. The Bear Necessities PJs, for only $39.42, would look downright adorable on any little boy or girl.
With extra-long cuffs for long-lasting wear and a slim cut for safety, these PJs will last and last, so they’re the kind you can pass down to the next baby in your family or circle of friends.
Any parent knows why Hanna Andersson PJs are so popular: They’re comfortable and they last forever! This simple yet stylish Lilla Hanna Mix It Up Romper ($48) can be worn during the day but also transitions well to catching 40 winks. Made with pima cotton/poly double-knit.
The style also has raglan sleeves and easy snaps from the neck down to the feet. What’s more, these threads are free of harsh chemicals and come pre-washed, so you know they won’t shrink the first time they go for a spin in the wash.
Another modern classic at a great price, Burt’s Bees has a new watercolor chevron organic cotton sleeper, at $12.95, with contrast trim that’s almost too stylish to wear to sleep! It’s made with a slightly heavier-weight GOTS-certified 100% organic cotton than usual, and the extra thickness is perfect for the cold-weather months.
Expect a smart design with a protective zipper garage, interior zipper guard and re-enforced enamel snap, and convertible mitts to protect littlest ones against scratching themselves. The feet have no-slip grips because your tiny one will never want to take off this sleeper.
Quilted sleepers can be hard to come by, but Baby Deedee has them in a bevy of colors, for $30.50, with warm footies and zippers, with one in between the legs for easier diaper changes.
Soft cotton fabric means these are a safe, flame-retardant-free alternative to fleece PJs, and non-skid soles keep your cruiser safe during any pre- or post-sleep exploring.
Parents who appreciate Finn + Emma’s organic baby clothes and toys will love the brand’s new pajama line. The Fawn collection PJs ($34) are fully 100% G.O.T.S. certified organic cotton and feature a gray and dusty rose baby-deer print.
The two-piece sets are ethically made in India with non-toxic, eco-friendly inks and dyes. And big belly babies can rest easy thanks to a wide elastic waistband.
The Skylar Luna Footed Bodysuit($24) for babies up to nine months. With gender-neutral designs (think polar bears, balloons and snowmen) and custom woven, 100%-cotton fabric, this all-weather PJ has snaps, soft-soled feet, and long sleeves.
Plus, it meets all Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) children’s sleepwear guidelines.
If an edgier sleep style is more your thing, check out the Star Sleep Sack ($39) in black with gray stars or powder pink with black stars. It’s part of a larger collection featuring the brand’s signature star print, and is made with a wide neck opening and elastic bottom opening for comfort and quick diaper changes.
And it’ll feel like your little one is wearing a favorite t-shirt at night thanks to 100% cotton with a raw edge effect.
If you’re already a fan of Primary, you’ll love the brand’s new striped PJs for babies. The long-sleeve top and pant for $12 each come in six different color combos (including rainbow!) and are made with the softest 100% cotton you can imagine.
If your little one sizes out of the top or bottom first, simply buy a bigger half and keep the other for easy matching.
Or, choose from stripes or solids, snaps or zips, when it comes to the classic Footie for $18.
The Best Onesies and Sleepers (For Children and Adults)
While there has already been an extensive list of children’s onesies and sleepers, there is still a lot to cover surrounding onesies and sleepers for adults. After all, what is made in miniature size is typically made for adults too.
Good Pajama Brands For Adult Onesies:
- Forever Lazy
The best onesies for adults can come in all sorts of materials and it really is more of a personal preference as to which you should look for. If you are hoping for one to keep you extra warm in the winter months, you may like fleece or flannel.
On the other hand, you may prefer a onesie that does not get too hot. In this case, you would look for cotton or polyester. Many people prefer multiple onesies in different materials so they can wear the right one depending on the temperature and their mood.
Most onesies are machine washable, but some may require dry cleaning. Chances are, you would rather have an easy to clean onesie that is machine washable. So, check that feature before you make your purchase. Spending a little more on a nicely made, machine washable onesie can save you time and money in the long run.
People come in all shapes and sizes, so your onesie should too. As a one-piece outfit, a onesie has to fit just right to keep you comfortable. No one wants to have squished feet at the bottom of their onesie!
If you are very tall, or very short, you will want to make sure that your onesie has different sizes available so that you can find your perfect size. A “one size fits most” option probably will not work for you.
If you are very tall, you could also look for a onesie that has removable feet. That will give you a little extra length if needed.
Also, with various sizes you may be able to find a onesie for everyone in the family so you can all match!
The Lazy One adult onesie comes if various designs that are all festive for winter. While some are more appropriate for Christmas, others will be great to wear all winter long. They are made of 100% cotton so they will be light weight and prevent you from getting too warm.
This onesie comes in sizes extra small all the way to extra large so you could be sure to find your perfect fit. It also has a drop seat which much more than just convenient… each seat has a cute image with a funny little pun written on it.
These onesies are machine washable, so it will be simple for you to clean your pajamas after each wear. These will be the perfect way to snuggle up this winter.
The PajamaGram onesie is designed for comfort. It is made of 100% polyester chenille fleece, so you can enjoy a soft and warm onesie all evening long (and all day long if you want!). This onesie has grey snowflakes with red lining making it gender neutral and perfectly festive all winter long.
This onesie will keep you super warm as it has closed feet and the onesie even comes with a hood for extra warmth and comfort. If you love this onesie you do not have to worry about finding your size. It comes in extra small all the way to 3XL, so you will be able to easily order your perfect fit.
The onesie is machine washable, so you will not have to worry about it being a hassle to clean. This is a great way to stay warm all winter long.
This onesie comes in sizes XX small all the way to XX large, so you could be sure to find your perfect fit – or even every size for all your family members! You also have four different patterns to choose from. The patterns are not season specific, so you could wear your onesie all year long without feeling out of place.
The Forever Lazy onesie is made of polyester fleece. This means you can be snug and cozy in your soft and warm onesie whenever you put it on! It also has a hoodie for extra warmth.
This onesie is also convenient because it has extra deep pockets for you to stash you phone or other items you like to carry with you. It also has a rear drop seat and covered feet. This is a very warm and comfortable onesie that you can enjoy all year long.
If you are looking for an adult onesie that is more than just for bedtime, this one may be just what you need. This adult onesie comes in various colored unicorns to put a little fun into your onesie.
The onesie is made of cotton, so you will not overheat while wearing it during any season. It also has a hood to keep you warm. But, the hood also doubles as a unicorn head! This super cute onesie could serve as a costume and pajamas easily.
This unicorn adult onesie comes in sizes small through extra-large, so you should not have a problem finding one that fits your body type. It has open feet which means that it can easily be worn with shoes if you plan on going out in this as a costume.