Swaddling is a trusted method of wrapping a newborn in a piece of blanket or cloth to resemble a mother’s womb. Also known as baby swaddles, this baby item provides the warmth and security that your infant needs to stay calm and to sleep soundly.
Getting to know your newborn takes time and patience. While you and your baby are still adjusting to your first days together, one of the most effective techniques in soothing your little one is swaddling. In this article, we prepared a guide on how to choose the right baby swaddle. We also asked board-certified pediatrician Dr. Joanna Pamela Cuayo-Estanislao for some of her comments and tips!
Dr. Joanna Pamela Cuayo-Estanislao is a pediatrician and child health specialist based in Metro Manila. Doc Joey is passionate about health education and empowering families to become informed advocates of their children's health and wellness. She uses social media to educate and raise awareness about important issues and topics in the field of pediatrics and child care.
Our recommendation articles are carefully researched and crafted by the mybest Philippines team of writers and editors. To stay true to our company’s mission and vision to help users’ selection process easier, we also collaborate with experts from various fields to ensure that our content stays factual and useful.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
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A swaddle keeps your baby warm at night and during nap time while you’re assured that it fits snugly without any loose ends. Swaddle blankets are also usually longer than regular baby blankets to ensure that there is enough fabric for the proper folds and tucks. They are also thinner and more breathable to avoid overheating. As a general rule, no loose fabric such as regular blankets must be placed near a newborn.
Babies do not have the motor skills yet to roll over and remove objects from their faces. Any soft object or loose bedding that is close to your sleeping baby creates a risk of difficulty in breathing and suffocation. Don’t worry if you’ve already purchased regular blankets for your baby. These loose cloth blankets are versatile enough and will have many uses once your baby turns one.
Swaddled infants have been found to arouse less and sleep longer. Swaddling has also been shown to be more effective than infant massage in soothing excessively crying infants. In premature babies, swaddling has been shown to improve neuromuscular development, lessen physiologic distress, and improve the infant's self-regulatory activity.
However, it's important to remember that swaddled babies must always be on their back (supine). Once the baby is able to roll to their belly, swaddling should be discontinued, as there is a risk of suffocation if a swaddled baby is in a prone position.
Here are some key points to consider:
For more detailed information, read through our buying guide below.
One of the main purposes of swaddling is to soothe a newborn during a startle reflex. It is a common instinctive movement among infants, which can disturb their sleeping patterns. Try to visualize whether your little one will sleep soundly in a swaddle blanket or a fitted swaddle. Of course, the comfortability of your baby is a top priority.
A traditional swaddling blanket, also known as a muslin blanket, is a thin piece of fabric that is large enough to wrap your baby up like a tiny burrito. These are more versatile because you can also use your swaddling blankets as a nursing cover, a burp cloth, a stroller cover, and a plain blanket.
Make sure to learn the proper way of folding a swaddle blanket around your newborn—just like in origami. If it comes too loose, it may cover your baby’s face and create a risk for suffocation. If it’s too tight, especially around the chest, your baby will have trouble breathing, or if it is too tight in the legs, there is a risk of developing hip dysplasia.
Blankets are great since they can be used in a variety of ways. However, using swaddles as a blanket does have a learning curve and would require parents to know how to swaddle their baby safely. It would be good to ask your nurse or doctor to teach you how to swaddle your infant before leaving the hospital.
Fitted baby swaddles offer more convenience because they are easier to put on. Fondly referred to as “cheater swaddles," these are ready-to-wear, so there's no need to master the correct folding or tucking method. The most common type of fitted swaddles are the winged swaddle and the zipper swaddle.
Winged swaddles are specially designed to appear as wings that can overlap to snugly wrap your baby. These wings are secured by Velcro. On the other hand, zipper swaddles are made of stretchy fabric that you can pull tightly around your baby as you zip it from top to bottom or vice versa. Both variants are recommended if your baby can easily undo the folds and “escape” from a swaddling blanket.
Fitted or cheater swaddles are a good and convenient option that leaves less room for errors in positioning. Since you take out the step of determining how tight the swaddle goes around the legs and hips, it can be the safer option for babies at risk of hip dysplasia. However, when choosing your fitted swaddle, ensure that you select the appropriate size for your infant.
Swaddle sacks, otherwise known as sleeping bags, are perfect for older babies who have outgrown their swaddle blankets and fitted swaddles—but are still too young to sleep with a regular flat sheet blanket.
A swaddle sack serves as a wearable blanket with armholes. It helps babies to transition from their infant swaddles to a more free-flowing and less restrictive wrap. This has more legroom while still providing additional warmth and security to your little one.
Swaddle sacks are great for parents who don’t have the swaddling technique down pat or have trouble finding an adequately sized fitted swaddle for their baby. You just tuck your baby in and wrap the swaddle sack around them. Like with other types of swaddles, it's important to ensure that there isn't loose fabric, especially around your baby's face.
The ideal time to start swaddling is right after birth. That is why in the hospital, babies are covered or swaddled in a receiving blanket. A swaddle is basically your baby’s first bed. So, in choosing a baby swaddle, it is important to pick the right fabric – think of selecting the softest and most comfortable linen for your bed.
Muslin is the most common type of fabric used for baby swaddles. It is lightweight, very cool to the skin, and thin enough to avoid overheating. Stretch cotton is another popular choice among parents because it is very breathable; it is also the easiest fabric to wrap with and can be used all year round.
Meanwhile, when it comes to softness, bamboo is on top of the list. It is also antimicrobial and not abrasive to the skin. Bamboo is especially recommended for babies with sensitive skin and is prone to skin conditions such as eczema.
There's no best or recommended fabric for swaddles, but going for fabrics that are soft, breathable, and durable is always a good idea.
Be sure to check the TOG value as well. TOG or thermal overall grade is the unit of measurement to calculate the thermal insulation or how well the blanket keeps your baby warm.
To avoid overheating, choose a fabric with a TOG rating of 1.5 and below, such as cotton and muslin. Fabrics with higher TOG values like microfleece are more compatible with chilly seasons and climates.
In the tropical setting, a lower TOG value is better because we don't want our babies to overheat. The baby could be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and rapid breathing. If you notice any of these in your baby, unswaddle them right away.
Another important factor to consider is the size of the swaddle. Most brands will indicate the corresponding size based on your baby’s age, weight, and height. This will make it easy for you to decide which swaddle will fit your newborn perfectly.
Some swaddles are one-size-fits-all. This is recommended if you’re planning to swaddle for a short period only because babies size up very quickly. Your baby may outgrow the swaddle within weeks of using it.
The swaddle must fit your baby well enough that there isn't any loose fabric, especially around the head area. Loose fabric, including that from a swaddling blanket, can cover your baby's face and increase the risk of suffocation. The swaddle should also not be too tight to compress the baby's limbs too much, as this can be harmful to their development.
Some baby swaddles have extra features to make your newborn routine much easier. For example, look for quick-access areas for nappy changes. This will avoid the chore of unwrapping your baby when you need to change the diaper. More often than not, this disturbs their sleep in the middle of the night.
Other useful add-ons are adjustable armholes. Some babies do not enjoy being snugged completely. A good compromise is finding a baby swaddle with snaps in the armhole area. If your baby is old enough for the transition or “arms out” position—you can simply adjust the snaps instead of buying a new sleep sack.
When looking at adjustable features in a swaddle, always check to ensure they can be securely fastened. If your baby can wiggle their arms out of the swaddle, there's a risk for suffocation. It's always a good idea to try the swaddle before buying to make sure the swaddle is a good fit for your baby. And it's always a great idea (if not a must) to supervise your baby when they are swaddled, especially as they become more active/mobile.
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This adjustable swaddle can be used in 3 ways to match your baby’s age, needs, and sleeping preference – arms-in for reducing the startle reflex for a newborn; hands-to-face for self-soothing; and 1-or-2-Arms-out for older babies who are ready to transition from swaddling to a less restrictive sleeping sack.
It has an inverted zipper, which unzips from the bottom so that diaper changing will be easier – you don’t need to remove the entire swaddle. It also has “wings” on the side that are fastened by Velcro for a more secure but comfortable snug. Its signature “Back is Best” embroidery serves as a great reminder for parents to always place the baby on their back for safety purposes.
This swaddle has a roomy sack design, so your baby has more legroom to ensure proper hip development. It is recognized as hip-healthy by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. It is machine-washable and made of 100% cotton. Moreover, your baby can wear this swaddle over regular sleepwear.
This award-winning swaddle allows your baby to sleep in a more natural position. Its trademark Arms Up feature is a patented wing design that lets your newborn self-soothe. It has a single layer of fabric and a 0.2 TOG rating – perfect for our warm weather and non-air-conditioned rooms.
It has a twin zipper design for quick diaper changes. It also offers a snug fit around the waist, giving warmth and comfort to your little one. It is certified hip-healthy, providing enough space for your baby’s hips and legs to bend without any loose layer to kick off during sleep.
This swaddle is available in 3 sizes – Newborn for 0-1 month, Small for 1-3 months, and Medium for 3-6 months. You can choose among a fun variety of colors and prints. It is machine-washable and tumble dryer friendly.
Love to Dream is well-known for its Newborn to Toddler 3 Stage Sleep System. It offers age-appropriate swaddles from birth up to 4 years. Its Swaddle Up model falls under the Stage 1 – Swaddling category, ideal from birth until the baby shows signs of trying to roll over.
This wrap swaddle comes in one size, made for babies 0-14 weeks old. Its patented design provides even pressure across your baby’s abdomen. It swaddles the arms separately to mimic the feeling inside the womb. This also prevents facial scratches and breaking out of the swaddle.
It wraps safely without hooks, Velcro, buttons, zippers, and snaps. However, you’ll need to learn the proper folding and tucking, similar to a loose swaddle blanket. The difference is that a miracle blanket has a designated pouch for the hips and legs, and pre-cut wings to wrap across the arms and the upper body.
It is also adjustable, allowing for multiple swaddling positions, including hand-to-heart, arms down, and both arms in and out. It also absorbs perspiration for more comfortability and is recommended for soothing colic.
SwaddleMe is the first and original baby swaddle with a pouch design. This is great for parents who have difficulty in swaddling their babies with muslin blankets. Its extra soft fabric wings are adjustable and fastened by hook and loop attachments with Velcro, providing a snugger fit.
Diaper changes are also easy because the pouch for the baby’s legs is quickly accessible without having to undo the Velcro wings in the upper body. The pouch also offers enough space for healthy hips and legs position.
This swaddle has a harness slit that is compatible with most restraints on swings, bouncers, and sleeper products. Your baby can sleep soundly on these baby gears while safely fastened in their swaddle.
This swaddle blanket is soft, thin and breathable, which is perfect for swaddling your little one - the traditional way. Just make sure to practice the proper folding method for secure and comfortable swaddling.
You can also place it on your stroller as a sunshade or to protect your newborn from insects. In addition, you can use it as a nursing cover, a burp cloth, and a soft picnic blanket when your baby is old enough to play in the garden or in the backyard. It is also suitable as a tummy mat and as a crib sheet to protect the mattress from vomit and dribble.
It comes in a variety of colors, prints, and patterns that are designed in Australia. These are ideal as gifts in baby showers, gender reveal parties, birthdays, and holidays. Both the parents and the baby will get a lot of use out of this swaddle blanket, even years after swaddling.
As soon as your baby shows signs of trying to roll over, that is the best time to transition into a swaddle sack. This Love to Dream transition bag provides the same secure and cozy feeling of being swaddled – giving your baby the gentlest way of “graduating” from his or her newborn swaddle.
It has patented zip-off wings to convert the swaddle into a snug “sleeveless” sleeping bag – so your baby can enjoy an arms free position. It also has a single layer of fabric that is ideal for warmer temperature. It has twin zippers for easy nappy changes and is certified hip-healthy, allowing enough flexion for the hips and legs.
This swaddle sack falls under Love to Dream's Stage 2 – Transitional category for babies who are more comfortable in a less restrictive swaddle.
Swaddle your baby without the complicated method of wrapping with this two-way zipper swaddle bag. This allows for faster swaddling prep time and nappy changes. Moreover, your baby will not wriggle out from this swaddle so easily but remains comfortable in its snug fit.
It also has press-stud poppers or snaps in the armholes to convert the swaddle into a sleeping bag, allowing an arms free position. Its bell-shaped bottom lets your baby’s hips and legs to flop outwards during sleeping time.
It is available in simple and happy prints – perfect for your little bundle of joy. It is made from organic cotton, a skin-friendly and breathable fabric that can prevent the accumulation of sweat. This fabric material has a 0.2 TOG rating, which is suitable for our warm weather. It is super stretchy, allowing room for growth spurts and full chest expansion.
This swaddle blanket is part of a charming set for both the mommy and baby. The lightweight swaddle blanket is breathable, double-layered, and is made from 95% bamboo. The baby will also get a footed romper with a built-in, fold-over sleeve and a head accessory with an adjustable topknot style – perfect for a newborn.
This set also includes the brand's signature mommy robe made from a bamboo-spandex blend, fit for both pre- and post-partum. New moms can use this robe while breastfeeding and bonding with their newborn. It has deep side pockets and a matching hair scrunchie for a complete and cute look.
This swaddle is perfect for babies who don’t enjoy “full coverage” swaddles. It has a legs free design to keep your infant cool during warm-weather days. Also, it gives them more freedom to wiggle their legs, making it possible to swaddle safely while the baby rests or sleeps in a bouncer, rocker, or swing.
Of course, it still features the secure snug of the award-winning, original SwaddleMe. It also snaps open easily at the bottom for quicker nappy changes. It is made from 100% cotton and is available in adorable prints and pastel colors.
Every baby should have a plain white swaddle blanket as a nursery staple. While some moms would go for cute patterns and colors - a nice collection of white baby linen will be handy during the first few days of a newborn. It will be very easy to spot insects, dust, dirt, and other unwanted items near the baby.
Made from high-quality fabric, this swaddle blanket is tailor-made, delicate, and comfortable to wear. It is suitable for all kinds of weather with its breathable and soft material. It is machine washable and can be tumbled dry.
This swaddle blanket is also available in blue and pink – an ideal gift for gender reveal parties and baby showers. Like other swaddle blankets, your little one can still use this baby linen long after swaddling. It can serve as a nursing cover, stroller sunshade, and as a regular blanket when the baby has more hand control.
If you still have questions on your mind regarding swaddling and the proper way to do it, let Doc Joey share some of her expertise as she answers some of the most asked questions on the web.
The risks of swaddling outweigh the benefits once a baby starts to show signs of trying to roll over. Even babies as young as eight weeks old can use their upper bodies and heads to shift their position and roll onto their stomachs even while snugly swaddled. If you notice your baby already attempting to roll about in their swaddle, it's time to retire the swaddle.
Yes, you read that's right! You need to stop swaddling once your baby is already learning to roll over, even if they can't quite do it yet. Swaddled infants who are lying prone (or belly down) are at twelve times the risk for sudden infant death syndrome and sudden unexpected infant death as an unswaddled infant in the same position.
When swaddling our little ones, it's important to check how they are positioned: they should always, always, always be supine or on their backs, and their bodies should not be bent or stretched unnaturally. A swaddle that is too tight can restrict breathing, but one that is too loose may unravel and put the baby at risk of asphyxiation.
Swaddling should be just snug enough around the chest (but loose enough to easily fit two or three fingers between your baby and the swaddle) and should have ample room at the hips and knees to avoid hip dysplasia.
In order for swaddling to allow healthy hip development, the legs should be able to bend up and out at the hips. This position allows for the natural development of the hip joints. The baby’s legs should not be tightly wrapped straight down and pressed together. Swaddling infants with the hips and knees in an extended position may increase the risk of hip dysplasia and dislocation.
It's important to clear your baby's sleeping space to ensure that there aren't other things around them that could cause suffocation. Their sleep environment should be a firm crib mattress that is free of loose bedding and soft objects, and they should not share a bed with anyone. Wedges, positioners, special mattresses, and specialized sleep surfaces have not been shown to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Your baby is also always safest in their own crib or bassinet, and not on your bed (swaddled or not). Be sure to regularly check that your baby is always lying on their back when sleeping. Once they start showing signs of trying to roll over to their side or their belly, it's time to graduate baby from swaddling.
Make sure that baby is not overheating. Sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and fast breathing are signs that the baby may be too hot, and they should be unswaddled. If this happens often, the fabric of your swaddle may be too thick/warm for your baby's environment, and you should consider more lightweight, breathable fabrics.
There is no recommendation on how often you should swaddle your baby. In general, you can swaddle your baby when they are going to sleep or being put down for a nap. You can also swaddle your baby when they are fussing, as being swaddled can help soothe your baby.
However, when they are awake, it's best to let them have free use of their limbs and body (with your close supervision always, of course!). Babies should also never be swaddled in the prone or belly-down position, as they could become at risk of suffocation.
New parents often learn how to swaddle their baby from the hospital staff before being discharged with their newborn. Swaddling is beneficial because a snuggly wrapped blanket can resemble a mother's womb and help soothe your baby. When done correctly and safely, Swaddling can be an effective technique to calm young infants and help promote sleep.
The fourth trimester or the first few months after giving birth is one of the most precious times between parents and their little one – babies do grow up so fast!
Enjoy this adjustment period by getting to know your baby and establishing routines that will work well for the whole family. Click the article links below to see our recommended products!
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