Grobag, orla kiely, apple, panda, panda-monium

Grobag – a safer and more comfortable sleep

Grobag Sleep Bags

Pros

  • Safe
  • High quality
  • Great designs
  • Durable

Cons

  • Quality costs money
  • Don't come in adult sizes

Sometimes, a product just makes sense. A keen-eyed observer notices that something could be done in a better way, then they set out to make the product that we never knew we needed, until all of a sudden it’s there. Before you know it, you can’t imagine life without it.

That’s how I imagine the Grobag came about.

Not long after Hannah was born, we found ourselves at home and completely unprepared to cater for her sleeping needs. We had managed up until that point with the swaddling technique that the nurses at the hospital had taught us, but we found that Hannah quickly developed enough wriggle to force her way out. One she was no longer tightly wrapped, she was awake and crying. She was also in far greater danger, as she was now surrounded by loose fabric.

A knowledgeable friend of mine (a dad with a child a year older than Hannah) suggested we try sleep bags. We have never looked back!

The Grobag is now an invaluable part of Hannah’s sleep routine. I am confident that sleep bags have played a significant role (along with several other factors) in Hannah regularly sleeping through the night. They provide such a consistent level of comfort, no matter how she chooses to sleep.

Grobag, two Grobags, Groegg, Orla Kiely, apple, panda-monium
Quality products from the Gro Company
Peace of Mind

I can’t even imagine how blankets would work with a child like Hannah. She takes after her father in being, what I like to call, an ‘active sleeper’. By that I mean she has a tendency at certain points throughout the night to wriggle, squirm and change position. If we used blankets, I have no doubt that Hannah would wriggle them untucked pretty quickly, and, as research into the causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has found, loose bedding increases risk.

I’m looking at Hannah on the baby monitor as I write this, and I can see her, asleep and content, on her front with her bottom in the air. I had left her on her back, but it doesn’t matter, because the Grobag moves with her. With the Grobag, Hannah can squirm and move all she likes, she is still as safe and comfortable as the moment Emma put her down to sleep.

As the weather here in Australia becomes cooler, the ability of the Grobag to offer a consistent temperature is also attractive. With less secure options, a few wriggles could leave Hannah exposed to the cold air. This would no-doubt result in her complaining until a parent resolved the situation. With the Grobag, we have never had such a situation. The only times where Hannah has woken us with complaints about temperature have been when we have failed to accurately gauge the room temperature, and haven’t dressed her appropriately (this is where the Groegg can become very handy).

groegg, grobag
The Groegg can be a valuable companion to your Grobag
Quality

As the proud owner of a variety of Grobags (in various togs and sizes), I can confidently affirm that they are made to a high standard. One of our Grobags is a hand-me-down that had been through the rough-and-tumble of a couple of other babies prior to Hannah. Despite this, it shows very little sign of wear. The zippers are still smooth and feel solid, the stitching is all firm and the cotton outer and lining still soft and not pilled.

The brand new 2.5tog Grobags (perfect of the Australian winter), provided to us by The Gro Company, ooze quality straight out of the bag. There are no loose threads to be found, the zippers have the feel of those that plan to be around for the long haul and the poppers make a satisfying ‘click’ as they snap firmly in place.

The outer cotton fabric on each Grobag has a slightly different feel, with the Orla Kiely Apple bag being smooth and slick, and the Panda-monium bag super soft and cuddly. The cotton inner for both of these Grobags is supremely soft and comfortable (I’ll admit it, I’m a bit jealous of Hannah when I put her in these).

Grobag, panda-monium
The poppers make a satisfying ‘click’

I will offer a word of caution about the Panda-Monium Grobag – it comes with an impossibly soft and pat-able front panel. Emma’s first reaction to finding this was to pat it for a full ten minutes. Hannah doesn’t seem to have discovered it yet, but I’m convinced that it’s only a matter of time before she does, at which point I’m quite sure she is going to refuse to ever leave the Grobag again (the kid loves to pat!). I am also vaguely concerned that Emma may spend her nights in Hannah’s room, patting her tummy.

Grobag, quality, stitching
The quality is evident in the detail on the Grobags
Cost

I’m not going to beat about the bush here, at first glance, Grobags seem expensive. Those of you who know me may, therefore, find it odd that I am so enthusiastic about this product (if you don’t know me, ‘frugal’ is an apt one-word description).

The reason I love Grobags is because they represent value. I have made mistakes in the past with buying the absolute cheapest products on the market, which then turn out to be absolute rubbish. The wisdom about spending money that I have gained with age, is that ‘value’ is always a combination of cost and quality.

Grobags start at $59.95AUD (when not on sale) on the gro-store. When you begin to examine what you get, ‘value’ well-and-truly appears. You get a high-quality, supremely comfortable, excessively cute and safety oriented product, all of which work together to give your child the best possible chance of a good night’s sleep. It is also worth keeping in mind that the quality construction of Grobags means that they should still be in perfectly useable condition for the next child. The most expensive Grobag advertised on the Gro Store at the time of writing was $84.95 (more on that below).

Grobags
Value comes in the right balance of cost and quality
The Grobag Range

The Gro Company offers an extensive range of Grobags, to suit a variety of needs. At first glance, the sheer amount of choice can be a bit daunting. My advice is to head straight to the Grobag Size Guide, as this provides you with all the information you need to choose the appropriate bag for your child. Pay particular attention to the minimum weight and maximum length guides, as these are important for ensuring the safety of your baby. Consider also what tog will be most appropriate for your child (if you own Grobags in a range of togs, the Groegg can be a useful tool for quickly selecting the best one each night).

Grobag, two Grobags, Groegg, Orla Kiely, apple,
The Orla Kiely range offers some great designs

As mentioned above, Grobags range in price from $59.95 to $84.95. While all of the Grobags that I have seen are exceptionally cute, the Gro Company realises that some parents are willing to put a premium on the look of the product. To cater for this market, they collaborated with internationally renowned fashion designer Orla Kiely to design a range of prints. While not much of a fashionista myself, I was very impressed with the Orla Kiely Apple design that the Gro Company sent me for this review.

The bright colours really pop out and the slightly retro feel gives me a tinge of nostalgia. To put it simply, I get a feeling of happiness when I go into Hannah’s bedroom in the morning and see her in this. If you are willing to spend the little bit extra for a special look, check out the full Orla Kiely range.

Grobag, panda-monium, soft
The Panda-Monium Grobag design is whimsical and so, so soft

Of course, special Grobag designs aren’t just all about sleek fashion. The Gro Company appears to also understand the importance of whimsy in childhood. Within their range are some designs that elicit pure delight, and none do so better than the Panda-Monium Grobag.

Everything about this bag is delightful. It is wonderfully soft, inside and out. As mentioned before, it has the dangerously pat-able front panel. Close examination of the simple, but very cute panda face reveals high-quality stiching without a loose thread in sight, meaning that that adorable face should stand the test of time (and many, many wash cycles).

There are plenty of other wonderful designs. Enough, I’d imagine, to suit any décor needs (Check out these two sweet designs on our older sleep bags).

grobag, old designs
The great designs on two of my older Grobags

The final thing to consider with your Grobag purchase is the functionality. If you are planning on using the Grobag while your child is in a pram, car-seat, or any other place that requires a harness, the travel option would probably best for you (as seen on the Orla Kiely Apple design). This allows for the harness to slip in through a velcro slit in the back of the Grobag, and out through the clever zipper design at the front. While we haven’t tried this out yet, I can see it as having its place during a long car trip.

grobag, travel, harness, slit, velcro, orla kiely
This velcro flap allows the travel Grobags to be used with a 5-point harness

The design used on the Panda-Monium Grobag is all about ease and comfort. The use of poppers and a side zip enables the Grobag to open up entirely. Your baby can then be placed on top of the open Grobag, then quickly and easily zipped in place. The poppers secure over the shoulders to provide safe and secure neck and arm holes. It is a clever design and it makes that part of the bed time routine just that little bit easier.

The side zip on the Panda-Monium Grobag
Final Thoughts

Grobags are a vital part of our sleep routine with Hannah. Sleep bags are safer than other options, comfortable, durable and they present good value for money. I plan to keep Hannah in them for as long as she will fit.

A sensible plan is to buy two of the same tog and size. This is because it allows for quickly switching over after a vomit or nappy emergency (these things do happen with young children, after all). We have almost always purchased sleep bags in pairs. The quick-dry nature of the polyester filling in higher tog Grobags means you shouldn’t require more than two of each bag, as soiled Grobags can be washed and dried quickly.

 

The Gro Company sent me two Grobags (Orla Kiely Apple and Panda-Monium) and a Groegg for the purpose of review. While these products were provided for free, the comments within this post remain entirely my own reflections of my experience with these Gro products, as well as Gro products that I had purchased prior to any relationship with the Gro Company. This dad takes pride in providing honest and useful information to other parents.

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