Having a baby opens the floodgates for a multitude of changes and adjustments in your life. It can be tough to distinguish all the things your baby really “needs” from products that are simply marketing gimmicks. A swaddle is not exactly a new product, but recent innovations have made them even more popular among new mothers.
Babies spend 9 months in the womb, so leaving that space can be a big adjustment. This is where swaddling comes in! A swaddle is no ordinary blanket— it mimics the tight comfort baby felt before they were born. Swaddles can soothe the baby’s anxiety, keep them warmer than a looser blanket would, and prevent startling reflexes, which can disturb the baby’s sleep.
This guide will introduce you to some of the best swaddles as well as certain things you should expect from your swaddle.
Best Swaddle Blankets
|Miracle Blanket||100% cotton knit is breathable for warm climates||$29.95|
|The Original Woombie® Swaddle||Ergonomic design is hip-healthy and allows for hands-over-heart sleeping position||$27.99|
|Love to Dream Swaddle™ UP||Unique design allows baby to sleep with arms up||$29.95|
|Halo SleepSack® Swaddle||Adjustable swaddle allows baby to be in 3 different positions||$22.99|
|SwaddleMe Original Swaddle||Harness slit allows you to use swaddle in car seat or sleeper||$32.29|
|Happiest Baby Sleepea||Mesh fabric over the shoulders and legs prevents overheating||$23.95|
|The Ollie Swaddle||The patented moisture-wicking fabric prevents overheating||$59|
|ErgoBaby Swaddling Blankets||Removable leg pouch allows for easy diaper changes||$24|
|Aden & Anais Blankets||100% cotton muslin blanket is multipurpose||$16|
1. Miracle Blanket
The Miracle Blanket is made with breathable, stretchy cotton to give your baby room to move. Like all swaddles, it should only be used for face-up back sleeping.
The Miracle Baby Brand makes sleep sacks and sleep pods as well, but the Miracle Blanket is their top seller thanks to its convenient design. The Miracle Blanket uses a lateral belly wrap to apply gentle pressure to the baby’s abdomen, easing fussiness and lulling them to sleep.
You can buy the Miracle Blanket directly from their website or on Amazon. It comes with a 100% lifetime satisfaction guarantee and a return policy within 30 days of your purchase if you’re unsatisfied with it.
Miracle Blanket Highlights
- 100% cotton knit is stretchy and breathable, suitable for most climates.
- 30-day return policy and lifetime satisfaction guarantee.
- Lateral belly wrap soothes baby and helps them relax.
2. The Original Woombie®
The Woombie® has won over 20 awards for design and innovation thanks to its ergonomic “hip-healthy” design. The stretchy cotton-spandex keeps baby feeling secure while also giving it plenty of legroom, an essential for hip health.
The swaddle gently keeps the baby’s hands over their heart, a sleeping position that allows the baby to self-soothe more easily.
The two-way zipper on this swaddle prevents unraveling during the night and the narrowed waistline gently compresses the abdomen. The Woombie® is made of a cotton-spandex blend, making it super stretchy. You can get it on their website or at Amazon.
Original Woombie® Highlights
- Designed by a Certified Infant Care Specialist.
- 1-step swaddle is easy to use, stretchy, and breathable with a 2-way zipper for easy diaper changes.
- Narrowed waistline gently puts pressure on the abdomen, helping the baby to self-soothe.
3. Love to Dream Swaddle UP™ Original
The Love to Dream brand makes products to grow with your baby through all stages of swaddling, including a transition swaddle and sleep sack for toddlers.
The original Stage 1 swaddle for newborns uses a unique arms-up design, allowing your baby to sleep with their arms up, but still confined in the swaddle so they don’t scratch themselves or startle themselves awake.
It also comes with a two-way zipper so you can change your baby’s diaper easily without waking them up. You can buy the Love to Dream Swaddle UP™ directly from their website or on Amazon.
Love to Dream Swaddle UP™ Highlights
- The unique arms-up design allows for self-soothing.
- Made of 93% cotton and 7% elastane for ample stretching.
- A two-way zipper makes diaper changes easy.
4. Halo® Sleepsack®
The Halo® Sleepsack® is one of the most popular swaddles on the market right now thanks to its 3-way adjustable features. It gives you the option to swaddle your baby arms-in, hands-to-face, or with one or both arms out. This design makes transitioning from swaddle to sleeping arms-out a breeze.
It has strong adjustable fasteners, keeping your baby safe and secure, and the zipper zips from the bottom, allowing for easy diaper changes. You can buy the Halo SleepSack® directly from their website or on Amazon.
Halo® Sleepsack® Highlights
- #1 choice of hospitals.
- Recognized as “hip-healthy” by the Hip Dysplasia Institute.
- 3-way swaddle allows you to adjust the baby’s sleeping position based on their age and preferences.
5. SwaddleMe Original Swaddle
SwaddleMe swaddles are made of 100% cotton and are made with soft fabric wings sewn to the sides, keeping the baby’s arms from flailing up when they feel distressed or startled.
This swaddle comes in a small/medium size for newborns (7-14 lbs) or a large size for 14-18 lbs. You can transition to their Love Sack model when the baby gets bigger and taller.
The SwaddleMe Original comes with loop and hook closures and a harness slit so you can use the swaddle in a car seat or other sleeper products. Remember: the baby should always be on their back if they’re in the swaddle.
You can purchase the SwaddleMe Original Swaddle on Amazon or directly from their website.
- Adjustable hook and loop closures allow you to wrap your baby’s arms securely.
- Harness slit allows you to use the swaddle in a car seat or sleeper.
- Soft fabric wings prevent the startle reflex from waking up the baby.
6. Happiest Baby Sleepea Swaddle
Happiest Baby markets their Sleepea swaddle as the “5-second Baby Swaddle” due to the double zipper. This acts as a sleeping bag, allowing you to easily zip your baby into the swaddle in one fluid motion.
The inner arm wrap with Velcro creates security and prevents your baby from escaping. To prevent the baby from overheating, Happiest Baby has added mesh to the shoulders and waist. The arm openings unsnap for babies that prefer having their arms out (this option is available only in the medium and large sizes).
You can buy the Sleepea Swaddle directly from their website or on Amazon.
Happiest Baby Highlights
- Designed by a pediatrician.
- Convenient double-zipper lets you swaddle your baby quickly change diapers with ease.
- Breathable mesh in the shoulders and legs prevents the risk of overheating.
7. The Ollie Swaddle
The Ollie Swaddle is one of the more expensive swaddles on our list, but it’s made with special attention to certain design features, making the cost worth it for some new parents.
The Ollie Swaddle is made with patented moisture-wicking threads to reduce overheating risk, and you don’t have to unswaddle the baby for diaper changes thanks to the opening at the bottom.
The Ollie is one-size for easy adjustments as baby grows, and it even fits preemies. You should wash your Ollie in a garment bag to protect it from snagging or deteriorating.
You can buy the Ollie Swaddle from their website or on Amazon.
The Ollie Swaddle Highlights
- Patented moisture-wicking fabric keeps baby cool. Mom or Dad, check out our article on finding the best blanket.
- Open at the bottom for easy diaper access.
- Velcro fastening lets you adjust swaddle tightness.
8. ErgoBaby Swaddling Blanket
ErgoBaby is known for their baby carriers, but they also make popular swaddling blankets. The ErgoBaby swaddle is made with 100%, ultra-soft cotton that won’t irritate the baby’s skin.
The design allows you to keep baby’s arms securely inside of the swaddle while also giving their legs plenty of room to wiggle around, decreasing the risk of any hip problems. The removable leg pouch allows for simple diaper changes and it’s machine-washable.
You can purchase the ErgoBaby Swaddling Blanket from their website or Amazon.
- Acknowledged as “hip-healthy” by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
- Removable leg pouch lets you change diapers easily.
- 100% soft cotton is hypoallergenic.
9. Aden & Anais Classic Swaddle
Aden & Anais makes high-quality muslin swaddle blankets in a variety of patterns and colors. They sell their swaddle blankets in packs of 4, 3, 2, or singles, so you can mix and match.
The Aden & Anais swaddle is the only traditional swaddle blanket on our list— it does not come with leg or arm pouches, fastening straps or Velcro, or wings for the arms. This blanket relies on the user to swaddle the baby correctly, so it’s not recommended for beginners.
Because this is a classic swaddling blanket, it’s multi-functional— you can use it as a burp rag, a nursing cover, or stroller cover to name a few. You can purchase the Aden & Anais swaddle blanket from their website or on Amazon.
Aden & Anais Highlights
- Made with 100% cotton muslin, stretchy, soft fabric perfect for swaddling.
- The multipurpose blanket can be used as a nursing cover, burp rag, and more.
- Comes in variety packs so you can choose from different colors and patterns.
What is a Swaddle Blanket?
Swaddles are thin blankets used to wrap a baby tightly in a position that evokes the comfort of the womb. Swaddling has been around for hundreds of years— it can even be traced back to the paleolithic period! It rose in popularity in the early 1990s after research emerged showing babies should sleep on their backs to avoid SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Swaddles are typically used in the baby’s first three months but can be used beyond that to help with sleep training or just to ease the baby’s anxiety.
Swaddles can be as simple as a thin blanket, but these require a bit more skill to use since you have to do a lot of the wrapping and folding yourself. Some parents leave the hospital and forget how to do this amidst all the overwhelming things they have to do— and who can blame them?
Modern swaddles come with easy folds, velcro, zipper, or straps to make swaddling easy so you barely have to think about it. Swaddles should not be loose since that increases the risk for SIDS. Thankfully, modern-day swaddles come in a variety of sizes with customizable options to fit your baby perfectly, giving you one less thing to fret about.
Benefits of a Swaddle
A swaddle is an effective way to keep your baby sleeping safely on its back. It also prevents the baby from being startled easily and waking up constantly in the night, depriving it and its parents of much-needed sleep.
While one risk of swaddling is that the baby can get overheated, a thin, breathable swaddle can regulate a baby’s temperature in a way that keeps parents’ worries at bay. Newborns are especially vulnerable to temperature changes, so a swaddle is a great way to keep them warm without the risk of suffocation.
We mentioned before that a swaddle keeps a baby flat on its back (unless you’ve got a little Houdini on your hands). According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the back is the safest sleeping position for babies to prevent the risk of SIDS, which causes more infant deaths in the baby’s first year of life than anything else.
If you’re worried about the baby’s head flattening in this position, you can invest in a baby pillow specifically made to keep the head round.
Prevents Startle Reflex
Babies twitch a lot when they’re sleeping— after all, they’re not used to all the ambient sounds and noises in your home you’ve probably tuned out by now. As a result, they often startle themselves awake, disrupting their fragile sleep patterns and yours, too.
A swaddle keeps baby’s arms tightly placed at their sides, helping them feel safe and secure while avoiding that reflex to jumpstart themselves out of REM whenever they hear a sound. Most babies grow out of this reflex after 4-6 months.
The swaddle simulates the comfortable security of the womb. Some people call the first three months after the baby is born “the fourth trimester,” since it’s a time of considerable adjustment for both the parents and child.
Swaddles help ease fourth-trimester anxiety by using DPS, or deep pressure stimulation therapy, which involves applying gentle pressure to the body to release dopamine and serotonin. If mom or dad can’t snuggle the baby at all times of the day, a swaddle is a convenient and comfortable way to provide this relief.
The release of serotonin also stimulates sleep, so swaddles can even out the baby’s sleep cycle while also making it more tranquil.
Types of Swaddles
The original swaddle was just a thin blanket— in fact, “swaddle” used to simply refer to the action of wrapping your baby in a specific way. Now there are lots of different swaddle designs to suit your baby’s different needs.
Blankets: Blankets are the simplest form of swaddle— these are usually made with soft cotton muslin, a thinner fabric that lends itself well to stretching and wrapping. Using a blanket to swaddle your baby can take a bit more practice since there is no Velcro or zipper to keep your baby securely in the swaddle. You have to become very adept at folding tightly and correctly to ensure the swaddle is effective.
Swaddle suit: A swaddle suit looks a little bit confining, but don’t worry— it safely keeps your baby nestled within the suit, which has individual holes for the arms and legs (most swaddles don’t have individual holes for the limbs). Lots of parents use these if they live in colder climates or are worried about their baby staying warm. A swaddle suit is specifically designed for babies sleeping in a crib— not for co-sleeping.
Swaddle pods: Swaddle pods are similar to sleep sacks, but they are extremely low-maintenance. You simply place the baby inside of one and zip it up. Pods are usually made with spandex cotton, making them stretchy and comfortable for the baby.
Swaddle sacks: Swaddle sacks or sleep sacks come with a zippered front, like swaddle pods, but they also have “wings” sewn to the sides to keep the baby’s arms close. Swaddle sacks often include adjustable hooks and loops as well, allowing you to use them as baby grows.
Things to Look for in a Swaddle
Wrapping your baby in a swaddle comes with lots of benefits, but not all swaddles are created equal. To make certain your swaddle is the most effective it can be, look for these things:
Adequate leg space: The baby should have enough room in the swaddle for their legs, ensuring proper hip development. Swaddling the baby’s legs too tightly can increase the risk of hip dysplasia. When the baby was in the womb, their legs were in the fetal position, bent upwards. Straightening the baby’s legs too fast can loosen the joints and damage the soft cartilage of the socket.
Most swaddles are made with a roomier portion for the legs, but if you’re swaddling your baby using a simple swaddle blanket (one without wings, zippers, or Velcro), you’ll need to make sure you don’t swaddle improperly. The legs should be able to bend up and out at the hips when the baby is in the blanket.
Breathability: Your swaddle should be made with natural fibers to help with temperature regulation. You can change up the swaddle depending on the season, but most are made with cotton muslin for warm weather and fleece for winter.
Ease of use: If you’re a beginner, try a swaddle sleep sack or swaddle pod, since these take all the guesswork out of swaddling.
Lifespan: Like most things you buy for your baby, swaddles eventually become too small. If you want to use the swaddle for longer than a few months, consider one with adjustable components.
Potential Downsides to Using a Swaddle
You may be ready to dive into the world of swaddles, but keep a few things in mind before you do:
Learning curve: If you want to start with the basic swaddle blanket, there is a bit of a learning curve. However, you don’t need to give yourself more work— sleep sacks and pods make swaddling easy.
Risks of improper swaddling: If you swaddle your baby too loosely, you risk suffocation. And if you swaddle too tightly, especially in the leg area, the baby could develop hip dysplasia. This is why you should buy swaddles in the right size for your baby with plenty of legroom to spare.
Overheating: There is a slight risk baby can become overheated in a swaddle, but as long as you choose fabrics appropriate to the season and climate, this shouldn’t be an issue. If you are really worried about it, swaddle the baby in their diaper only or with their feet sticking out of the bottom.
Too much sleep: If you swaddle the baby outside of their normal sleep cycle, you can risk them sleeping too deeply for too long, which can lead to reduced milk supply.
When to Stop Swaddling
Your baby will signal you when they are ready to be released from the burrito stage. Babies outgrow the startle reflex (also known as the “Moro reflex”) somewhere between 4-6 months old, so in this sense, swaddling becomes unnecessary.
If your baby starts taking their arms out of the swaddle or if they are starting to roll over during tummy time, that means they’re ready to be done swaddling.
At this point, you can transition the baby to loose blankets, which the AAP does not recommend until the baby is over 12 months old.
Did You Find the Right Swaddle for Your Baby?
You’re probably reading this article as part of your late-night baby research (isn’t that what all pregnant women with insomnia do?). It’s overwhelming trying to find all the right products for your baby, but hopefully, after reading this, you’ve found a few good options for your needs.
Remember: the best swaddle will give your baby plenty of legroom, be easy to use, and keep the baby from startling easily.