What to Look for in a Swaddle Blanket
Ease of use: Parents have widely different opinions on which swaddle blankets are the easiest to use. Some find swaddling with a regular blanket to be too complicated, while others appreciate the versatility (and have their method down to an art). Some prefer the ease of velcro, while others just want a single zipper. Your baby may break out of a traditional swaddle blanket ten times during the night, but a swaddle with velcro contains her. Or a swaddle pod may be easy to put on, but your baby still wakes himself up in one. What it comes down to is what works for you and your baby and, perhaps most importantly, what you’re able to handle at 2 a.m. Be prepared to try a few different options, and also keep in mind that the swaddle that works for your baby at two weeks and at two months might be different. You may also want to consider diaper changes. Some swaddles have to be completely removed while others have zippers at the bottom to make the process easier.
Size: Babies come in all shapes and sizes. Your baby will also grow considerably between birth and three months, which is when you should start to transition from the swaddle. It’s important to choose a swaddle that fits your baby well. One that’s too small may restrict your baby’s leg movements too much, and one that’s too big could slip up over your baby’s face. For a regular blanket, there are obviously no size concerns, but other types of swaddles come in multiple sizes. Check the maker’s size chart to make sure you’re choosing the right size for your baby. Size may also determine what brand of swaddle you choose as some brands have more sizing options than others.
Fabric: While you want your swaddle to keep your baby warm, you also want it to be breathable to help with temperature regulation. Look for swaddles made from natural fibers. Some brands offer a variety of fabrics for different seasons: regular cotton or muslin for warmer weather and fleece for winter. If it’s a concern for you, you can also find swaddles made from organic cotton.
How to Use Swaddle Blankets
- Lay the blanket in a diamond position and fold down the top corner about 4-6 inches.
- Place your baby on his or her back on top of the blanket so that shoulders line up with the top of the folded down edge.
- Pull one side over your baby, keeping his or her arm down to the side, and tuck it under your baby. Make sure to not pull the fabric tightly across your baby’s hips.
- Pull the bottom corner up and tuck it under the shoulder that is still uncovered.
- Pull the last side around and tuck it under your baby.
- If the swaddle has arm holes, place your baby’s arms through the arm holes.
- Place your baby’s legs in the sack portion of the swaddle.
- If the swaddle sack has a zipper, then zip it to the top.
- Wrap one arm wing around and tuck it under your baby.
- Wrap the second arm wing and either tuck it under your baby or attach with velcro.
- Place your baby in the pod and tuck limbs inside.
- Zip up the front of the pod.