Best Swaddle Blankets – 2018 Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
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All new parents have been there. You finally have your sweet, newborn baby to sleep. You set her down so you can have a few hours of sleep yourself, but just as you’re laying down, she wakes herself up. What is a sleep-deprived parent to do? Enter the swaddle.
Swaddling your baby simply means wrapping him or her snugly in a blanket—sort of like a burrito. There’s a reason why most hospitals swaddle newborns. Not only does it keep them warm, it calms them down by mimicking the snug feeling they had while in the womb. Swaddling is also a safe alternative to loose blankets, which the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not using until a baby is over 12 months old. Just remember to transition your baby out of a swaddle once he or she shows signs of rolling over.
It used to be that folding a blanket around your baby was the only option for swaddling, but there are now a variety of swaddle blankets for every preference. In this guide, we’ll review our top picks for the best swaddle blankets as well as outline considerations you’ll want to make when purchasing swaddles for your newborn.
The HALO Sleepsack Swaddle has been a favorite of parents for years because of its ease of use and versatility. Simply place your baby’s arms in the arm holes, zip up the body portion and wrap the swaddle wings, securing with velcro. Your baby will feel safe and secure while still being able to move his or her legs, which is important for hip development. The HALO also zips open from the bottom, so you won’t have to completely un-swaddle your baby for middle-of-the-night diaper changes.
The HALO is a swaddle that truly grows with your baby. When it’s time to transition out of the swaddle, simply wrap the swaddle wings around your baby’s body while leaving arms free. The swaddle essentially becomes a wearable blanket, allowing you to get more mileage out of it. The HALO also comes in cotton, muslin and micro-fleece, so it’s perfect for any season.
If the idea of swaddling your baby in a regular blanket sounds like complicated origami, then the SwaddleMe by Summer Infant is likely the swaddle for you. Its easy-to-use design means all you have to do is tuck your baby’s legs into the pouch and then wrap the velcro wings around your baby’s arms. The wings are highly adjustable, so you can get the perfect fit. The leg pouch is also loose enough for baby to spread his or her legs, which is recommended by pediatricians.
The SwaddleMe is made from breathable, 100 percent cotton, so you never need to worry about your baby overheating. If your baby was born during colder months, you can always add extra layers underneath. The swaddle also has a harness slit, meaning you can safely swaddle baby in a car seat or swing. It also comes in a three-pack, so you always have one on-hand if the others are in the laundry.
No matter how securely you wrap your swaddle, some babies can always find a way to escape (and therefore wake themselves up). That’s why many parents swear by the Miracle Blanket Swaddle, which they say lives up to its name. Instead of relying on velcro, the Miracle Blanket includes a pouch for your baby’s legs, wings to wrap the arms and long fabric tails that wrap around to secure everything in place. The result is a snug swaddle that even the most ingenious babies won’t break out of.
The Miracle Blanket is made from a breathable cotton knit that has just enough stretch to allow for a custom fit. No loud velcro also means you’ll have better luck changing your baby during the night without waking him or her up.
The Woombie could not be easier to use. All you do is zip your baby into it—no wrapping required! The makers highlight that this swaddle is ergonomic, allowing your baby to move freely while still feeling the gentle hug of the fabric. It does not have a tight fit like some other products, making it an especially great choice for babies who don’t like being swaddled.
The Woombie is made from cotton with a bit of spandex, giving it the right amount of stretch. A two-way zipper means middle-of-the-night diaper changes are a cinch. The “peanut” design allows room in the shoulders and hips while a narrow waist gently hugs the tummy region for a safe, snug feeling. Your baby can also bring his or her hands together for self-soothing.
Some parents prefer the versatility of a traditional swaddle blanket. Once you get the hang of the “burrito” wrap, a blanket allows for a fit that’s as tight or loose as baby prefers. The Kaydee Baby swaddle blankets are designed specifically for swaddling, with the necessary square shape. Unlike other swaddles, this one is multi-purpose and can be used long after your baby transitions from swaddling. It can double as a nursing cover, stroller shade or simply a regular blanket.
The Kaydee Baby swaddle blanket is made from 100 percent organic cotton muslin, so it’s great for eco-conscious parents. The soft material is perfect next to baby’s sensitive skin, and it actually gets softer the more it’s washed.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of swaddling, types of swaddles, what to look for when you’re purchasing one and how to use a swaddle blanket.
Why Your Baby Needs a Swaddle Blanket
Swaddles have many more uses than a regular blanket. While you could survive the newborn phase without one, you likely won’t want to, especially after trying one. Below is a list of benefits associated with swaddle blankets:
Provides warmth: Babies—and newborns especially—are more sensitive to temperature changes than adults. Keeping them warm (but not too warm!) is key. Loose blankets, however, pose a safety risk to babies under 12 months as they can lead to suffocation and have been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Swaddle blankets provide a safe alternative because there is no loose fabric to worry about. Plus, your baby’s hands and feet are tucked inside, so you don’t have to worry about them getting cold. Most swaddle blankets are made from warm but breathable material, and you can layer clothes underneath depending on the temperature.
Offers safety: As mentioned above, swaddles are a safe alternative to loose blankets, but they also have other safety benefits. The safest sleeping position for babies is on their backs, and swaddling helps keep babies in this position. Swaddling also prevents babies from scratching their faces while they sleep. Of course, once babies can roll over, they should transition to a regular wearable blanket so their arms are free.
Prevents startle reflex: Have you ever seen a baby sleeping soundly suddenly twitch himself awake? That’s the Moro, or startle, reflex at play. The startle reflex is a normal reflex that babies have from birth to about 3 to 4 months. Essentially, it’s a response to a feeling of loss of control during which a baby will fling his or her arms out and back in again. Needless to say, babies often wake themselves up doing it. A swaddle keeps limbs securely against the baby’s body and prevents them from startling themselves awake. Swaddling will help your baby—and you—get much-needed sleep.
Soothes anxiety: The first three months after a baby is born is often called the “fourth trimester” because it’s the time in which your baby adjusts to the world outside the womb. This is sometimes a stressful transition as your baby has been in the same safe, warm environment for nine months. Swaddling can help ease this transition because it recreates the cozy, snug feeling of the womb. The soft pressure of a swaddle is also similar to the sensation of being touched, which can make your baby feel safe. Swaddled babies tend to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Types of Swaddles
Blankets: Swaddling has been a practice for a long time—perhaps thousands of years—and the traditional method is to simply use a blanket. Blankets made specifically for swaddling are square-shaped and make the job easier. Nurses in the hospital usually swaddle newborns this way and will be more than happy to teach you how (plus we’ve included instructions below).
Swaddle sacks: A swaddle sack is designed to make swaddling easier and minimize folding and wrapping. There are a few different designs, but essentially, your baby’s legs go into a sack of fabric and long “wings”—with or without velcro—can be wrapped around your baby’s upper half. Swaddle sacks are also designed to allow babies to move their legs, which helps prevent hip problems.
Swaddle pods: A swaddle pod is perhaps the easiest swaddle to use because it doesn’t require any wrapping. You simply put your baby in and zip it up. Your baby’s limbs are all contained within the fabric, but he or she can typically move around more than in other types of swaddles. These can be a good option for babies who don’t like the feel of a tight swaddle but still need something to calm the startle reflex.
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.