When done right, swaddling not only makes infants feel calm and secure, it can also help them fall asleep. Sounds straightforward, simple, and kinda perfect, right, given you have the right swaddler?
Not so fast. Sometimes swaddling a baby is so challenging it seems like you need a masters degree in engineering and Christmas elf-level gift-wrapping skills to pull it off. But, it turns out, a lot has to do with the blanket.
The right swaddle blanket, a key part of every new parent’s gear arsenal, can keep baby snugly bundled, mimicking the comfort of a mother’s womb, at the same time as it eliminates the possibility of your little one unraveling and waking up chilly and angry. But you also want one that won’t cause your infant to overheat.
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Of course, there’s more to it than that. Fortunately, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers guidelines on how to make sure you’re swaddling safely. Swaddling typically begins right after babies are born. When swaddled, infants should be placed only on their backs. Make sure the blanket is snugly wrapped so it won’t come loose and possibly cover the baby’s face. Additionally, don’t leave any other blankets nearby in the crib, which could also pose a risk to your little one’s safety.
When do babies outgrow swaddling? That’s really up to your tot. Some enjoy that soothing, secure feeling for months, while others prefer to have their arms and legs free as they get bigger and learn to appreciate a good stretch. But your baby doesn’t have to quit swaddling cold turkey. Transition swaddle blankets ease your little one into the next stage.
We found the best swaddle blankets for newborns and beyond to ensure your baby stays comfy and cozy, which means you get to enjoy some rest as well.
While not exactly a swaddle, the sleep sack is its own magical sleep tool. It keeps your baby cozy and warm, and makes diaper changes failproof.
Pros: These versatile sleep sack gowns have elastic closures, long sleeves, and mitten cuffs to stop nighttime scratches. And of course, the all-important diaper change is vastly simplified.
Cons: These tend to run big.
The Woombie is meant for newborns, as they transition to being in the real world outside the womb. This swaddler confines arms, hugs the tummy and cocoons the infant to prevent him or her from startling themselves awake.
Pros: Hailed as a total self-soother, the Woombie has enough stretch so your baby is comfortable, but also keeps the infant contained in a position that prevents face-scratching and other startle reflexes. It’s great for newborns, but also comes in bigger sizes.
Cons: It’s too restricting for some babies, and can feel too tight in the neck area.
This whisper-soft set of two swaddle blanket are made from cotton muslin, measure 44 by 44 inches, and are perfect for wrapping up newborns.
Pros: If you’re a pro at swaddling, you’ll love these breathable muslin swaddle baby blankets. They do triple duty as stroller cover, a burp cloth, and even a nursing cover. You just wrap your baby up like that proverbial burrito.
Cons: It’s DIY, so if you don’t know what you’re doing, keep reading.
These adjustable infant wraps boast hook-and-loop closures for secure, easy, and safe swaddling. They’re made of 100 percent cotton and fit infants 0-3 months, who weigh between 7-14 pounds or measure up to 26 inches.
Pros: Even Houdini-style babies won’t be able to bust out of these swaddlers, parents agree. Infants who previously were awakened by the moro or startle reflex slept longer. They’re machine-washable, and the material is breathable.
Cons: These can run a bit small.
Made of 100 percent organic muslin cotton, these blankets are soft to the touch so they will not scratch your baby's skin. The material is lightweight so it won’t make baby too hot or your diaper bag too heavy. At 47 by 47 inches, the blanket offers ample room to swaddle your baby or cozy up underneath on a chilly stroller ride.
Pros: These swaddlers are so buttery soft and well made, that parents were impressed by the quality at such a reasonable price. They’re perfect for taller babies who are too long for other swaddle blankets.
Cons: This blanket is available in just three prints.
Billed as escape-proof, this swaddler features a patented ergonomic design with a healthy hip positioner, which helps keep baby's legs and hips in a position that allows for healthy hip development and gives your little one room to stretch or kick. Baby’s arms rest in a hands to heart position. A leg pouch lets you perform late-night diaper changes without disturbing baby or having to rewrap. The Ergobaby swaddler comes in one size for infants weighing 6–15 pounds who measure between 19-24 inches.
Pros: You can have baby swaddled in a few quick and easy steps and enjoy peace of mind knowing your little one will stay bundled while sleeping. Babies calm almost immediately in this 100 percent cotton wrap.
Cons: The velcro panel curled after washing, making it tough to fasten. The back has a thick seam that some babies may find uncomfortable.
This magic sleepsuit was invented by a mother of four and a pediatric physical therapist who wanted to create a way for babies to transition out of the traditional swaddle. This microfleece suit grants baby a bit more freedom while still benefiting from that cozy, secure feeling they love. It’s available in two sizes: 3-6 months (12-18 pounds) and 6-9 months (18-21 pounds).
Pros: Warm but still breathable, this suit works like magic, parents say, noting that babies fall asleep within minutes. This swaddle suit is warm and cozy.
Cons: If baby tends to be a warm sleeper, this suit may make them hot. Finding the right size is the key, parents found. Babies who self-soothe by sucking their thumbs struggled with getting their hands to their mouths.
This three-way swaddle can be adjusted to your baby's preferred sleep style for comfort, so baby can tuck arms in, keep hands at the face for self-soothing, or have one or both arms free. Amply-sized fasteners give you plenty of leeway to find the perfect fit. The roomy sack’s design is recognized by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute as hip-healthy.
Pros: The material is super-soft and lightweight but not flimsy. Parents consider it a great investment as their baby transitions and enjoys having a snug feeling around the chest and tummy but can still keep his or her arms free.
Cons: The sack is too roomy for long and lean babies. Others were able to break free after three months of age.
As Amazon's top seller, this swaddle’s patented design allows for self-soothing by letting babies’ arms remain free. It’s designed for babies 3-6 months of age, weighing in at 13-18.5 pounds.
Pros: Ensuring there’s nothing rough against baby’s skin, all seams are sewn on the outside and all zippers are protected. It’s ideal for babies who like to sleep with cactus arms.
Cons: Babies whose startle reflex works overtime woke themselves up easily in this swaddle. The arm area can be constricting for babies with long arms or those who wish to stretch.
The Nested Bean sleep sack is meant for babies 6-12 months old, and features a weighed pad on its chest to make your baby feel like their parents' palm is comforting them.
Pros: The Nested Bean swaddler is warm enough for winter but breathable enough for summer. It’s got the comforting pad on its chest, which in theory is similar to weighted blankets (which, it should be noted, have no proven therapeutic value). And it has a two-way zipper system that make diaper changes fast and easy.
Cons: The weighted pad doesn’t work for every baby, and in some cases, parents think it’s just a gimmick.
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