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Everything You Ever Hoped to Know About Swaddle Blankets

everything you want to know about swaddling blankets

Talking about swaddling blankets is a lot like talking about cutting toenails. Neither is very likely to get you invited to the next cocktail party. But you can’t blog about how critical swaddling is without also talking about swaddling blankets. What are other people using? Which ones work best? Or don’t work at all?

So, I implemented a highly scientific study of the swaddling blanket market. This looked something like asking peeps on Facebook and on the Troublesome Tots G+ Community. Over 200 people chimed in. I’m pretty sure it qualifies as the most robust analysis of the swaddle blanket industry ever. Which makes me the world’s leading swaddle blanket analyst. Which is so stunningly uncool that we’ll simply agree never speak of it again. Moving on.

It seems that the type of attractive and smarter than average people who read my blog are using these products:

swaddle blanket market

Most Popular Swaddling Blankets

By a large margin, the two most popular swaddling blankets are the SwaddleMe and Halo Sleepsack (with velcro). Both of these have a sleeping bag pouch to keep legs warm and a velcro wrap to keep the arms down and minimize the startle reflex. Both provide idiot-proof velcro which is helpful for those of us who are baby-wrapping-challenged. This means they also both have the DISadvantage which is that some babies are strong enough to break free of the velcro.

Please note that while the sleeping bag idea is a great way to keep baby toes warm, there is no soothing benefit from having their legs IN the pouch. Swaddling is all about the arms and upper body. Occasionally somebody will tell me they’re weaning baby off the swaddle by starting with the legs. This is a lot like cutting down on your coffee consumption by not eating coffee ice cream.

Personally I like both the SwaddleMe and the Halo Sleepsack. They meet my key criteria in that they’re inexpensive (~$20 each), do the job, and are easy to use. That being said, the SwaddleMe is my FAVORITE choice for one simple reason. You can use it with baby’s legs IN or OUT of the pouch. Why would you care about this?

Because if your baby is sleeping in a Rock n Play, swing, car seat, etc. you’ll need access to your baby’s legs to safely strap him INTO those things. So the ability to leave the lower half of his body out of the swaddle will be key for you. As an added bonus the unused “leg pouch” will be between baby and the seat which gives you an extra layer of poop/leak protection. Surprisingly the SwaddleMe doesn’t include this in their marketing messages. Perhaps they should hire me for help with this.

For Swaddling Houdinis

For “break out of the velcro” babies the Miracle Blanket is a popular option. I’m also a big fan of these.

PROS: While no product is 100% break-out-proof, the Miracle Blanket comes darn close.

CONS: At $30 they’re almost 50% more expensive then their velcro brethren. Also the Miracle Blanket is more challenging to get on. Wrapping the baby up in what is effectively straight jacket is no small task. Failure to get it right will lead to more “baby popping out” problems.

Swaddle Sleeping Bags

swaddle pod swaddle blankets
The Woombie and SwaddlePod are both stretchy sleeping bags that make your baby look like a cute little sweet pea. I’ll be honest – the only difference between the Woombie and the SwaddlePod that I can discern is that the Woombie costs 2X as much.

PROS: There is no “strap” to break free of so babies are going to stay IN the stretchy sack…

CONS:
until they figure out how to work their hands up and out of the neck hole. Also they allow movement within the sack so the baby’s arms aren’t held down by the side which is generally the recommended position. Where most swaddle blankets listed here had a strong, consistent group of “fans”, feedback on the sleeping bag options (Woombie and SwaddlePod) was decidedly MIXED with 50% falling in the “love it!” camp and 50% suggesting that you should, “save your money for something more useful – which would be anything.”

Swaddle Strap

Sidenote: be careful about Googling any phrase which includes the word “strap” in it. There are things you can never un-see. *shudder*

Only a few peeps are using these but those that are absolutely ADORE them. Aptly named, it’s a strap with velcro.

PROS: I like the concept. If you aren’t using the leg pouch in the SaddleMe or Sleepsack anyway, these might be a good option for you. They are small and come in fashionable colors. I mention this in case baby sleep fashion is a key concern for you. (Is it?)

CONS: They’re a bit expensive ($28) and they don’t sell them on Amazon (aka where I buy everything other than food).

Swaddle Blanket Honorable Mention

Believe it or not some people use actual BLANKETS. If you’re looking for the best swaddle blanket you want an Aden + Anais muslin swaddling blanket (preferably the 47 X 47 inch jumbo size). A small but stalwart group of fans raved about these and I also can personally attest to their awesomeness. I wouldn’t normally go for a fancy swaddling blanket but these are well worth it. They’re giant and do a fantastic job of keeping baby from popping out. They’re durable, fold up small so that they can be easily carried in a diaper bag, and they look cool. Also they’re muslin which is amazing for it’s ability to keep baby warm in the winter and also cool in the summer.

Did I miss any swaddle blanket gems that I should know about? Good/bad swaddle blanket experiences you’ve had?

{Photo Credit: Aaronandstacia and Dizzylizzy}
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129 Comments


  1. Hi, do you have any thoughts on the Ergobaby Swaddle?

  2. What would be your suggestion for a baby that seemingly isnt too keen on having his body swaddled… he fusses and moves around like hes trying to break free… 2 mo

    • I think most babies “fight” the swaddle even if the swaddle helps them fall asleep and stay asleep. I would definitely make sure his arms are flush to his body and the swaddle is tight enough. That may help. You’re welcome to experiment with “weaning” off the swaddle but I wouldn’t recommend it. 2 Month old baby will almost always do better with it than without. Good luck!

  3. Do you have any suggestions for when a baby starts rolling over? My 5 mo old is not ready to leave the swaddle but he rolls over onto his belly in it. Then wakes. I’ve tried no swaddling and he cries and cries. I’m not quite ready for CIO yet. He JUST turned 5 mo.

  4. Hi, just wanted to say: I gave birth to my second child 3 months ago. In the hospital I asked one of the midwifes tho show me how to swaddle him and she said no. It seems that in the UK swaddling is no longer recommended, as it can lead to overheating. Overheating is thought to be a risk factor of SUIDS. I have since asked both my community midwife and my health visitor about this and they both said the same thing.

    • Hey Esther,

      I don’t live in the UK but I’m pretty sure that “no swaddling” is not the accepted practice throughout the UK. Overheating is an issue, one that’s not related to swaddling (you can over-dress a baby who then gets overheated without swaddling). But swaddling has repeatedly been shown to be of benefit in reducing SIDS. So the key is to do so in a way that doesn’t overheat. Many people adore muslin swaddle blankets as they’re a fantastic option that doesn’t overheat.

      That being said if your local medical support team are all anti-swaddle I guess you’ll have to make your own decision about it. Some babies really struggle without swaddling but some are fine either way. So here’s hoping you have an easy baby who doesn’t care 🙂

      • Our hospital doesn’t recommend swaddling anymore either and the reason given to me was that it interferes with breastfeeding since the baby is sleeping too soundly/long (something to do with milk production). I’m in Canada 🙂

  5. Our daughter loved bamboo swaddle wrap we purchased on Amazon. It was extremely soft and well made. Its not super big (27″ x 27″) but was great for a small baby. She started to roll at 3 months so we no longer swaddle her but she still loves it as a blankie.

  6. Great article and reviews but please correct the part “Because if your baby is sleeping in a Rock n Play, swing, car seat, etc. you’ll need access to your baby’s legs to safely strap him INTO those things” as a baby should not have anything of extra bulk on him in a carseat. Even if you just mean to sleep while shopping, etc and not while IN the car, someone out there won’t know it’s unsafe and will do so. 🙂

  7. Amanda Chrzanowski

    Both of my kids loved being swaddled and to this day sit inside in the middle of summer and curl up in a blanket. I plan on swaddling my little one that is due at the end of the month and I got this adorable swaddling blanket at my shower a couple of my friends had this one and said it worked great. Thought I would share.

    http://www.superfuntimegifts.com/collections/frontpage/products/tortilla-baby-blanket

  8. SwaddleMes have a little horizontal slit in the back. That slit is for buckling up your baby while still keeping their legs in the pouch. It works with all the standard 5-point buckles seen in car seats, Fisher Price swings, etc. It’s a bit tricky to figure out at first (you need to buckle before closing the arm flaps) but once you do it works great!

  9. Awesome reviews Alexis. LOVE the Woombies, great design and functionality. Such fantastic sleep products out these days, don’t you think? Ness 🙂

  10. I need help. I love swaddling and so does my 4 month old daughter. The only way she will sleep for any reasonable amount of time is with the Adain&Anais muslin wrap and then the Ergo Pouch zipped bag ontop. She gets her arms out if it’s just the muslin and I think the pouch is too loose and she can get her hands up. She quiet warm with these two on even with not much on underneath. I don’t know what to do come very hot Aussie summer nights!

  11. I am sure that all of the options listed above are great. What worked for my son when he had a hard time sleeping was the Zipadee-Zip. I wish you the best if you are having swaddle transition issues!

  12. The Zipadee-Zip totally works! My would not sleep when he started busitng out of his swaddle. It was a nightmare to be able to put him to sleep. When we finally got a Zipadee-Zip, he was able to sleep for longer periods of time, would fall asleep faster and stay asleep as well. This is the product to buy!

  13. In my opinion there is nothing better than a classic square muslin swaddle. Especially during the hot summer nights. The best ones I’ve had so far were given to me at the baby shower party. They have no stamps or patterns, just plain classy swaddles and I love them. I later found them on Amazon and bought one more pack: http://www.amazon.com/Soft-Muslin-Swaddle-Blankets-Swaddling/dp/B0178AJEEW/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1448281472&sr=8-4&keywords=swaddle+blankets

  14. Do you swaddle for nap time or just at night? I’m having a hard time getting my 3 week old to nap and stay asleep more than 5 mins.

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