You will experience a huge transition when you bring your baby home from the hospital – but if you think about it, it’s nothing compared to the transition your baby is going through.
To go from a warm, cozy environment in the womb to the harsh, stimulating outside world is shocking to say the least.
A swaddle blanket can make the transition easier for your baby, which will in turn make things easier for you, too. Use a swaddle blanket to help soothe and comfort your little one and keep them cozy when they’re brand-new.
Here’s what you need to know to choose the right one.
|1. Kaydee Baby Organic||Organic|
|2. Miracle Blanket||Newborns|
|3. Summer Infant Wrap||Velcro|
|4. aden + anais Muslin||Muslin Blankets|
|5. SwaddleMe Original||Girls|
|6. SwaddleDesigns Blanket||Boys|
|7. Seben Baby Swaddle||Summer|
|8. SwaddleMe Pod||Preemies|
|9. SwaddleMe WrapSack||Older Babies|
|10. Halo MicroFleece SleepSack||Winter|
- What Is A Swaddle Blanket?
- Why Do I Need a Swaddle Blanket?
- What Are My Swaddle Blanket Options?
- What Do I Need to Know About Fabrics?
- How Do I Swaddle My Baby?
- Are There Any Safety Considerations I Should Be Aware Of?
- What Should I Look for in a Swaddle Blanket?
- The Best Swaddle Blankets of 2018
- My Favorite Is …
What Is A Swaddle Blanket?
A swaddle blanket is a large blanket that can be used to tightly wrap a baby in a way that mimics the womb and helps them to feel safe and secure.
Because the process of learning how to swaddle can be daunting, there are also products on the market that offer the security of an old-fashioned swaddle with the convenience of modern design.
There are now some swaddle blankets that include velcro, elastic, and even zippers in order to easily achieve the benefits of a swaddle.
Why Do I Need a Swaddle Blanket?
A swaddle blanket is invaluable to a new mom in helping to keep her baby soothed, comfortable, and sleeping. It does this in the following ways:
- Provides warmth: In the womb, babies are accustomed to a constant, warm body temperature. Outside of the womb, they need to be covered up in order to maintain the appropriate temperature. A swaddle blanket can help offer the extra layer of warmth that they need.
- Offers safety: It is not safe for babies to have loose bedding in their crib prior to the age of one due to an increased risk of suffocation (source). Because of this, babies cannot be covered with loose blankets. Swaddle blankets provide a safe alternative to keep your little one warm and covered at night, giving you peace of mind.
- Prevents the startle reflex: Up until about four months of age, babies have a “startle reflex” – officially known as the “moro reflex” (source). Babies will appear “startled” and quickly lift their arms out to their sides. When this happens during sleep, it wakes them up and babies at this age are not yet able to self-soothe back to sleep. A tight swaddle keeps a baby’s arms securely pinned to their sides, preventing the startle reflex and subsequent waking.
- Soothes anxiety: In utero, babies were in a very tight, confined environment. While the very thought of being so confined may give adults claustrophobia, the fact is that babies find it very comfortable, safe, and soothing. A swaddle helps to mimic that restrictive environment and keep babies feeling safe and secure.
What Are My Swaddle Blanket Options?
There are many different options for swaddle blankets.
This is the original swaddle. It is simply a large blanket that is folded and then wrapped around a baby, keeping them tight, snug, and secure. A blanket that you’re using as a swaddle blanket should be square-shaped, a minimum of 45 inches on each side, and made from a non-elastic material.
Benefits of a Blanket:
- It is one-size-fits-all.
- Swaddling is a technique you can use with almost any blanket.
Drawbacks of a Blanket:
- You must have a large enough blanket.
- It can be difficult to learn.
- Other caregivers will have to learn the technique as well.
2. Swaddle Sacks
These are a combination of a sleep sack (a loose, wearable blanket that is safe for babies to wear to bed) and a traditional swaddle blanket. They take the guesswork out of swaddling by providing hook-and-loop (also known by the trademarked term “velcro”) or snap closures to keep the baby snug.
Benefits of a Swaddle Sack:
- They are easy to use.
Drawbacks of a Swaddle Sack:
- The hook-and-loop closure can wear out.
- You will need to size up as the baby grows.
- The baby can become strong enough to escape the enclosure.
3. Stretchy Pods
Known by names such as the Woombie or SwaddlePod, these are made of stretchy, elastic fabric and zip up to enclose your baby and keep them swaddled. They have no arm or leg holes and are designed to mimic the enclosed, yet slightly flexible, environment of the womb.\
Benefits of a Pod:
- They are easy to use.
Drawbacks of a Pod:
- They are not as tight as a traditional swaddle.
- You will need to buy different sizes as your baby grows.
- Babies can get their arms out once they become strong enough.
What Do I Need to Know About Fabrics?
Nearly every swaddle product you find will be made of cotton. This is because cotton is ideal as it is soft, breathable, and not stretchy.
Cotton is a natural fiber that can go by many different names including:
When purchasing a blanket you intend to use as a swaddle, verify that it is in fact made of cotton to help ensure your baby does not overheat. Also test to see that it is not a stretchy fabric, as it’s not possible to achieve the tightness that is necessary for a swaddle to be effective.
How Do I Swaddle My Baby?
Swaddling with simply a square blanket can seem daunting in the beginning, but before you know it you’ll be burrito-wrapping your baby like a pro – even in the middle of the night.
Once you’re ready to tackle swaddling on your own, follow these steps to achieve a tight and effective swaddle.
- Spread the blanket flat on the floor in a diamond shape.
- Fold down the top corner toward the center of the blanket, leaving a triangle shape at the top.
- Place your baby on the blanket with their shoulders parallel to the folded top section.
- Take the right corner of the blanket and wrap it tightly around your baby’s torso. Gently roll your baby on their side as you continue wrapping the blanket around to their back. Gently return your baby to their back.
- Take the bottom corner and bring it up and over your baby’s shoulder. This does not need to be very tight; it is mainly to get the fabric out of the way.
- Take the left corner of the blanket and wrap it snugly around your baby’s torso in the other direction.
- The swaddle is not tied or fastened anywhere; the tight wrapping is what keeps it securely in place. If you’d like, you can tuck the loose end into the top of the swaddle to keep it out of the way.
When I was in the hospital and learning how to swaddle from the nurses, I was terrified of wrapping my baby too tight and causing potential injury. The nurses reassured me that it’s practically impossible to swaddle a baby too tightly, and that the more snug, the better.
It’s also important to note that most babies will fuss during and immediately after swaddling. This does not mean that they “don’t like it,” as many parents claim. After they are swaddled and soothed, the swaddle will help them to maintain that calm for a longer period than babies who are not.
Are There Any Safety Considerations I Should Be Aware Of?
It’s also important to note that the soothing benefits of tightly swaddling apply to the baby’s arms and torso only. A baby’s legs do not need to be bound – in fact, doing so can cause developmental damage to their hips (source). When swaddling, make sure your baby’s legs can still move freely to prevent hip dysplasia.
What Should I Look for in a Swaddle Blanket?
When shopping for a swaddle blanket, keep the following in mind:
- Ease of Use: If you are concerned about the potential complexity of a traditional swaddle, you may want to choose a swaddle sack or other type of swaddle product that requires no special wrapping ability. They are also easy to pass along to other caregivers if they are watching your child.
- Size: Choose a swaddle blanket that is appropriate for the size of your child. If you are planning to swaddle with a traditional blanket, choose one that is square and at least 45 inches on each side. If you are choosing another swaddle product, you’ll need to pay attention to the sizing as they are manufactured for specific ages, lengths, and sizes.
- Fabric: Choose a fabric that is breathable. Cotton is best. The weight of the fabric you choose will depend based upon the season, the temperature of your house, and how many layers you dress your baby in beneath their swaddle.
- Usability: If long-term use is important to you, stick with a traditional swaddle blanket. They don’t have snaps, velcro, zippers, or elastic that can wear out, they will hold up enough to pass down and use for future children, and as multi-functional blankets they can be used in a number of ways, as opposed to other swaddle products which have a single use and purpose.
The Best Swaddle Blankets of 2018
Now that you know the benefits of swaddle blankets, the different kinds of blankets, the safety precautions and exactly what to look for —
Here are the reviews of our top 10 picks in 2018:
These soft, muslin blankets are made from 100% organic cotton – and certified so by the Global Organic Textile Standard. Because they are simple cotton, washing is a breeze – and they get even softer the more you wash.
They are a 47” x 47” square, so you’ll be able to wrap your baby at any size, eliminating the need to size up as they grow. They’ll also come in handy as a play blanket on the floor, lightweight warm blanket in the stroller, or simply as a snuggle blanket in your lap.
And since they come in pairs and packaged in a cute bag, they’d also make a great gift for any mama-to-be.
- They are a large size.
- The colors are gender neutral.
- They are multi-functional.
- They are organic.
- They do not fasten.
- There is only one color/design option.
This swaddle blanket doesn’t require you to learn any fancy folding methods, but guarantees you an escape-proof swaddle every time. It has additional arm flaps which prevent the baby from being able to maneuver their little arms up and out of the swaddle, Houdini-style.
There is a bit of a learning curve attached to this product since it’s not a “traditional” swaddle blanket and not quite as simple as velcro swaddles, but once you get the hang of it you will be able to tightly wrap your little burrito baby like a pro.
And since it’s one-size-fits-all and there are no velcro fasteners to wear out, you’ll only need to buy one and you’ll be able to pass it down to your next child, too.
- There are no parts to wear out.
- It is one size fits all.
- It is 100% cotton.
- This is a single use product; not usable as a blanket.
- It is complicated at first.
- Other caregivers may have trouble using it.
It doesn’t get much easier than these adjustable wraps. Simply insert your baby, fasten the velcro enclosure, and you’ve got an instant swaddle. That’s especially handy if you’re leaving your baby with caregivers that might not be very comfortable with a regular swaddle.
Because the velcro is adjustable, it leaves room for flexibility as your child grows. It also will allow you to access your baby’s diaper without unwrapping their arms, so you can easily change diapers in the middle of the night.
Finally, it has a harness slit which will allow you to safely secure your baby in their car seat, swing, or bouncer even while they’re swaddled.
- You can use it with your carseat.
- You can access the diaper without unwrapping.
- It is made of cotton.
- It is easy to use.
- It is not multifunctional.
- Velcro can snag other items in your laundry.
- The maximum size is 14 pounds.
This four-pack will make sure you always have a swaddle blanket on hand – no matter how behind you are on laundry.
The whimsical, cute designs will have your baby looking adorable whether it’s the middle of the night or they’re in the middle of a photo shoot. And since they’re multifunctional, you might not need any other blankets for your baby – period.
They are 100% cotton muslin and incredibly lightweight and breathable. This will help keep your baby warm and cozy without overheating. It also helps to keep your baby safe as plush, heavy bedding is not recommended. You can even use it as a car seat or stroller cover, or a nursing cover.
- They are lightweight.You get a 4-pack of blankets.
- You can use them as a nursing cover.
- They are cute.
- They are 44 inches (1 inch smaller than typically recommended).
- You (and other caregivers) must know how to swaddle properly.
Your little peanut couldn’t look any cuter than she will in these swaddles. Pretty in pink, the designs are adorable and girly and perfect for both slumber or photo opps. They are super easy to use as you simply wrap them up and secure them with velcro. And because the velcro is adjustable, they’ll work whether your baby is slender or a tank.
When you send your little one to the grandparents’ house, they shouldn’t have any trouble figuring out how to use these. They’re also 100% cotton, which is a breathable material that will stay soft on your baby’s skin and wash up easily in the washing machine without any extra effort.
- They are cotton.
- They are cute.
- They are easy to use.
- They can be used with carseats.
- The velcro can wear out.
- They are size-specific; you will need to buy a larger size as your baby grows.
This four-pack of blankets is a great value. They are made of 100% cotton in a lightweight, breathable muslin weave which will help to keep your baby comfortable while also keeping them safe and secure. They are also easy to wash and dry along with the piles of laundry you’re already doing.
Sewn into the edge of each of these blankets are swaddling instructions, so you can get a perfect swaddle every time – and any caregivers get an instant tutorial. And since they’re 46 inches in length on each side, you’ll be able to swaddle nearly any baby.
- They are multi-functional.
- They have swaddle instructions included.
- They are 46” x 46”.
- They are lightweight.
- It is a four-pack.
- There is no fastener.
- The multiple tags can be irritating.
- Some reviewers complained of pilling.
The thin, non-elastic muslin of these blankets will keep your baby safe and snug in their swaddle without causing them to overheat. And since they are 47 inches on each side, you’ll be able to use it with both the teeniest and the largest of babies.
The whimsical design is cute for summer – but will still be appropriate for any season. It’s also gender neutral, which means you’ll get years of use out of it with any future children you may have.
They are also multifunctional, so you can use them for practically anything. Cover the carseat carrier while your baby’s sleeping in a restaurant, lay it on the ground at a park for playtime, or use it as a lightweight nursing cover if you want to be discreet.
- They are large.
- They are gender neutral.
- They can be used as nursing covers.
- They are lightweight.
- They are not organic.
- Caregivers will need to know how to swaddle.
The cotton-spandex combination mimics the slight elasticity your babe experienced in the womb, so they’ll be nice and comfy in the familiar environment. And since it’s appropriate for babies as small as five pounds, it’s perfect for the preemie you brought home from the hospital.
Its simple zippered design makes operation a breeze, and since the zipper operates from both ends you can even change your baby’s diaper without disturbing their cozy swaddle. This is perfect for middle-of-the-night diaper changes or cold environments, where unwrapping the baby can cause them to get chilled – and then cranky.
- It is good for preemies.
- It mimics the womb environment.
- Two-way zipper makes easy diaper changes.
- Strong babies are able to get their hands out.
- The maximum weight is 12 pounds.
This cotton transitional swaddle sack is perfect for older babies that have learned to roll over but still like the security of a swaddle. It is designed to be used with either arms in or arms out, so as your baby gains new skills and is able to roll on their own, you can still tightly wrap their torso while leaving their arms available to ensure their safety.
Used this way, it is more like a wearable blanket – which is appropriate for older babies since they should not have loose items in their crib until after they’ve turned one year. And since the WrapSack has a zipper in the bottom half, you’ll be able to change their diaper without having to unwrap their torso.
- It can be used with arms out.
- It still provides the tight comfort of a swaddle.
- It is a large size for older babies.
- You need to buy the proper size.
- The hook-and-loop closure can wear out.
This sleep sack is made of microfleece which is designed to keep your baby’s tootsies toasty throughout the cold winter months. The upper portion is a swaddle, while the bottom is a loose sack that allows your baby’s feet, legs, and hips to move freely for optimal development. It’s even endorsed by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
It is designed to be appropriate for transitioning your baby from their swaddle, so once they show signs of rolling over you can position their hands either to their face (for self-soothing), or with arms completely out so they have full control. This will allow your baby to stay warm – and their torso to feel slightly swaddled – while also keeping your baby safe.
- It is warm.
- It is transitional – can leave arms out as baby grows.
- It is “hip healthy.”
- It is easy to use.
- It is made of polyester.
- The maximum size is 18 pounds.
- The velcro enclosure can wear out.
My Favorite Is …
As much as a I love the Miracle Blanket and the SwaddleMe, my top pick remains the Kadee Baby Swaddle Blankets. While the easy-swaddle option is attractive, the reality is that swaddling really isn’t that hard. It may seem daunting at the beginning, but once you try it a few times you’ll go from novice to pro in an instant.
The Kadee Blankets are not only organic, but they can be used for multiple things, making them a super-practical option for new moms already overwhelmed with gear. Their size will make them useful for both preemies and larger babies, and the cotton construction is not only comfortable, but easily washable as well.
No doubt there are plenty of options on the market for every mom – whether you want the simplicity of a swaddle sack or the functional practicality of a traditional blanket. Either way, your baby will be comfy, cozy, and adorable all wrapped up like a little burrito. And once they’re happy and occupied, you’ll have some time to yourself…so you can finally drink your coffee or eat your lunch.