With our first, we spent a lot of money and time trying to figure out what was the best swaddle for newborns.
I KNEW it was going to be a life-saver (although I had NO idea how much that was true).
But I was a little..intimidated.
Intimidated by the options and different swaddle techniques. Needless to say, I was even more intimidated after watching a couple of pro-nurses swaddle a baby with nothing but a receiving blanket.
Related: Essential To-Do’s After Baby is Born
I knew that I was definitely not going to be a YouTube-worthy swaddler (is that a thing?!) and I wanted to make it as easy as possible.
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Swaddle Fabric Types
Best Swaddles for Newborns
Kaydee Organic Swaddle
What to Look for in a Swaddle
Benefits of Swaddling
WHAT STYLES OF SWADDLES ARE THERE?
Luckily, we are seeing more sophisticated types of swaddles for newborns coming out (almost) yearly.
Swaddle manufacturers want to make it as EASY as possible for you (because then you will buy them!), so selecting swaddle type is somewhat down to preference.
A swaddle blanket (or receiving blanket) is the classic kind of swaddle (the one that requires skills to use!) They are usually a breathable piece of fabric in the shape of a rectangle.
They are typically cheaper and purchased as multiples. These are more versatile than other types of swaddles, as you can use it as a blanket, burp cloth, or stroller cover pretty easily.
A swaddle wrap is a little more intentional, and usually contains a zipper or hook and loop (like Velcro) attachment. These are usually LOTS easier to get the hang of, but they are not versatile.
WHAT MATERIALS ARE SWADDLES MADE OF?
Swaddles can be made out of numerous materials, and this is an important consideration when deciding which swaddle you want to buy.
Most swaddles advertise themselves as being “breathable”, but keep in mind that this does NOT mean your baby could not suffocate or become too hot with it on.
Related: Normal Newborn Breathing Patterns
Cotton is a popular choice for baby and children’s apparel. It’s soft, absorbent, and gentle on the skin. Organic cotton is preferable, as the cotton is grown without the use of chemicals and fertilizers.
Since babies have incredibly delicate skin, organic cotton is a great way to avoid them being triggered. Cotton is the most common fabric used in swaddles for newborns.
This is a common fiber used in swaddles and blankets. It’s very soft and durable, and is great for that sensitive baby skin.
It thermo-regulates, which means it is less likely to cause your baby to become too hot.
Polyester is a synthetic fiber. Most fibers (including more “natural” ones such as cotton and wool) will contain chemicals that are present when treating clothing.
Many baby blankets and other clothing items are made from polyester, so overall it is pretty safe. I know I have some crunchy mama friend’s who would disagree – and that’s okay!
Jersey Knit is another popular choice for baby and child items. It’s stretchy, breathable and durable. It’s usually made of wool, cotton, and synthetic fibers and is a common choice for those who want to DIY their swaddle.
BEST SWADDLE BLANKETS FOR NEWBORNS
The swaddle blankets I chose as the best swaddle blankets for newborns are MOSTLY ones I have either tried, or have a friend that tried.
Different things work for different people – and I know there are people out there who LOVE their SwaddleUP (not me!)
As long as you can figure out how to wrap a newborn baby for sleep – it doesn’t really matter what tool you use, right?
Related: Top Baby Products
Our Ollie was my very favorite swaddle. We got it as a gift for my first baby, and purchased a brand new one for our second.
We ended up trying six or seven different kinds of swaddle blankets before our Ollie, but Ollie was by far superior as a swaddle blanket for newborns.
Of course, the day after my second daughter was born she emitted black death poops all over the new swaddle. I panicked and ordered a new one right away – but ended up not needing it as my vigorous scrubbing provided good results.
Related: Strange Newborn Behaviors
The creator of the Ollie Swaddle is a social worker (which are superheros).
She had been caring for a foster baby (Oliver) who struggled with sleep and found that NONE of the swaddles on the market seemed to help alleviate Oliver’s distress.
They were too easy to wriggle out of, too hot, too short, too tall….basically something was wrong with ALL that she came across.
She wanted to create a swaddle that would meet ALL of Oliver’s needs, as she knew the benefits swaddling truly has – thus, the Ollie Swaddle came to fruition.
The Ollie swaddle is a very simple design, and basically the closest swaddle to a straight-jacket that I’ve seen.
It’s made from custom moisture-wicking material that helps reduce the chance for overheating. It’s very stretchy which allows for a snug (and safe) fit for your baby.
Let me just say that I have seen another blogger say that stretchy swaddles aren’t safe…maybe she hasn’t had a baby in a while because ALL swaddles are stretchy.
So don’t worry about that. Stretchy (to a point) is good.
Unlike other swaddles, these are a one-size-fits-all (so you only have to buy one!)
You can easily access the diaper area without removing it, which makes night-time changes much easier. This swaddle contains a very large strip of Velcro down the length of it.
…I do want to point out. Although the TON of Velcro makes it SUPER easy to secure, it’s also VERY loud to take off.
- Ease of use
- One size fits all
- Moisture-wick material
- Easy to access diaper area
- Loud Velcro
WHAT OTHER PARENTS THINK OF THE OLLIE SWADDLE
Overall, this product is pretty loved by parents who try it. Most parents agree that it’s a fantastic (maybe almost magical?) swaddle that is superior to other options.
It is EXPENSIVE – which is a pretty big hang up for some parents. Many of the reviews that were less than five stars were concerned with the price point, not necessarily the product. ***CHECK THE OLLIE WEBSITE BELOW – AS IT MAY BE CHEAPER THAN AMAZON.
This swaddle was created by Doctor Harvey Karp, who is passionate about baby sleep and designed every detail of this lovely Sleepea.
Looking at it – this swaddle is somewhat of a hybrid between a sleep sack and a swaddle blanket. The sack has an inner band so that you can gently pin your baby’s arms against their body, then zip up the sleep sack.
In order to help prevent overheating, they added an open-weave mesh panel at the shoulders and the knees.
You’ll also get extra room in the hip area, which is cool feature since swaddling CAN increase the risk of hip dysplasia and dislocation.
This swaddle has been coined the five-second swaddle, as it’s incredibly easy to put on (get it – five seconds?)
- Ease of use
- Mesh panels
- Quiet Velcro
- Dual zipper
- Weak Velcro
- Runs short
WHAT OTHER PARENTS THINK OF THE SLEEPEA SWADDLE
Overall, most parents are happy with this product. It’s easy to use, and many parents claim that it worked better than other options they have tried.
SWADDLEME ORIGINAL SWADDLE
This swaddle is very accessible, and I have seen them in the grocery stores near my house. It’s one of the most popular swaddle blankets for newborns – and maybe ease of access has something to do with that.
They have a large selection of cute designs, which is somewhat unique. Velcro straps are used to secure the “wings” that keep your baby’s arms inside the swaddle.
Our baby wiggled out of these pretty easily, but we included it on this list of best swaddles for newborns as many parents have had good luck with it.
- Many colors/designs
- Loud Velcro
- Baby can remove arms fairly easy
WHAT OTHER PARENTS THINK OF THE SWADDLEME SWADDLE BLANKET
Most parents have a good experience with the SwaddleMe swaddle for newborns. They love the ease of use, affordability, and cute designs.
LOVE TO DREAM SWADDLEUP
Unfortunately, I did not get to have one of these swaddles for my newborns, but I had a friend that LOVED it!
The creator of the SwaddleUP realized that her baby did NOT seem to appreciate having his arms bound to his sides during sleep (which most swaddles do), he preferred his hands by his face.
After doing some research and finding that this was a common problem, she created the Love to Dream SwaddleUP.
This swaddle allows babies to be swaddled with their arms up, which can aid in self-soothing during those late night wake-ups. The SwaddleUP comes in styles such as original, organic, lite, and warm.
This swaddle has also received recognition from the Hip Dysplasia Institute as a “hip healthy” product.
- Ease of use
- Allows for natural arm position
- Flexibility in style
- Dual zipper
- Wings prevent face scratching
- Does not work for all babies – some babies do better arms down
- Potential sizing issues
WHAT PARENTS SAY ABOUT THE SWADDLEUP SWADDLE
This is one of the most highly rated popular swaddles available on the market. It’s easy to use, unique in design, and cannot be broken out of.
HALO SLEEPSACK SWADDLE
We tried using one of these swaddles for our newborn baby, and honestly we didn’t have bad results. I
t was a bit more bulky and not as convenient as our Ollie, which is the only reason we didn’t use it very often.
HALO swaddles are used at many hospitals as their choice for safe sleep education, so it’s definitely a safe option.
This particular swaddle for newborns is versatile in use. It can be used to swaddle arms in, hands to face, or one/both arms out.
The sack design allows for kicking room, but it cannot be kicked off. You can unzip this product from the bottom in order to do diaper changes.
- Ease of use
- Aids in transition to wearable blanket
- Loud Velcro
- Complaints of riding up and covering face when too big
WHAT OTHER PARENTS THINK OF THE HALO SLEEPSACK SWADDLE
The HALO has better reviews than most of the other swaddles on this list. It’s highly endorsed and recommended from mom’s who are also nurses. This is based on the ease of use and effectiveness of the swaddle.
Be wary. The parents that did not like this product found it dangerous. Some parents walked into their sleeping baby’s room to find their mouth covered by this bunched up swaddle.
The Woombie swaddle for newborns is another baby swaddle product that is increasing in popularity.
It only requires one step – which may make it one of the easiest swaddles to work with.
The creator of Woombie found that she was unable to find a swaddle that did a few things – kept baby from scratching their face, prevented startle reflex, and didn’t ride up potentially over her baby’s face.
So, she made one!
The Woombie gently cocoons your baby’s arms and promotes self-soothing by allowing space for your baby to hold or touch his hands in the swaddle.
There is mild compression on your baby that is supposed to help mimic the sensation of touch. It is stretchy, snug, lightweight, and breathable.
- Ease of use
- Room for baby to move
- Many felt the neck area was too tight
- Baby may escape easily
WHAT PARENTS THINK OF THE WOOMBIE SWADDLE BLANKET
Most parents loved how their baby seemed to fit snugly without the swaddle being restricting. People also like the simplicity of use, which makes it a great option when you are on the go.
KAYDEE ORGANIC MUSLIN SWADDLE
This Kaydee Muslin swaddle is made from organic muslin cotton and comes prewashed.
These are strictly blankets – so no zippers or Velcro. While this may make them a little harder to get the hang of, they will also be longer-lasting.
These are extremely soft to the touch, and get softer every time you wash them. They come in beautiful designs that are gender-neutral.
They are bigger than most “receiving blankets” that are similar, coming in at 47×47 inches. That means they are fairly versatile, and can be used for much more than just a swaddle!
- Gender neutral style
WHAT PARENTS THINK OF THE KAYDEE MUSLIN SWADDLE BLANKET
This swaddle had the most positive ratings of any swaddle on that list. Although that is promising, it’s important to remember that you are literally ordering a fancy blanket.
Parents love that it stays soft and stylish (although some parents would like to see more variety). They love the quality and size of these swaddle blankets for newborns.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A SWADDLE?
I know there are a ridiculous amount of options available when it comes to newborn swaddles. Overall, there are a few things to keep in mind before making your selection.
Decide how much work you want to put into learning how to swaddle properly. I tried to learn how to swaddle with receiving blankets..but I just ended up getting frustrated with myself that it wasn’t working.
For our family, it made a lot of sense to go with a swaddle that was easier to use (which the Ollie was!)
Although there are some swaddles that are one size fits all, that is not the case for most swaddles. Check out the sizing guide – but also spend some time reading through reviews.
Often you will find common sizing issues talked about again and again. Sometimes things will run small. Or big. If you still aren’t sure, consider reaching out to the manufacturer and asking them.
Personally, I don’t pay a lot of attention to the types of fabric that my bedding/clothing are made of – but I probably should!
There is less of a risk that you will experience problems if you KNOW what you are purchasing is not going to cause a reaction in your baby.
There are some swaddles (especially ones with Velcro material!) that don’t hold up very well.
BENEFITS OF SWADDLING
Swaddling has numerous benefits. Although its main purpose is to aid in sleep, there are many different elements that go into that. I feel like it’s a good thing to have a basic understanding of the WHY we are doing the things we do as parents.
Provides comfort and security: Swaddling mimics your baby’s experience being in the womb. Warm, comfortable, and safe.
Prevents the startle reflex: Unfortunately, the startle reflex (moro reflex) is present in babies until they are around three or four months old.
It triggers involuntary movements that can startle your baby awake – making for poor sleep for your baby AND you.
Related: Baby Sleep Tips
Safe warmth: It’s not safe to have any kind of blankets, pillows, or crib bumpers in the crib with your baby. A tightly-wrapped swaddle is a great way to help keep your baby warm (but not too warm) throughout the night.
Swaddling leads to better and longer sleep. Babies are able to have longer periods of deeper REM sleep when swaddled.
Most babies DO enjoy being swaddled – although sometimes it takes a little time for them to get used to it.
My oldest would spend the first five minutes screaming when we swaddled her. I was determined to give it a real chance, so we continued to swaddle her since she eventually calmed down.
Related: Newborn Hacks
Within the first couple of weeks she had adjusted and sleep much more soundly for it. There were a couple of nights that we forgot to use it – and the difference was definitely noticeable!
Once your baby can roll, swaddling becomes unsafe. Dr. Moon (a pediatrician and SIDS researcher) recommends halting swaddling at eight weeks, as some babies do roll this early.
Our pediatrician told us we were okay to keep her swaddled until she was four months – as this is the average age MOST babies begin rolling.
Rolling increases the risk of suffocation (especially if you are swaddling arms-in).
Do not swaddle too loose or too tightly. Your swaddle should be loose enough that you can still slide your hand in between the swaddle and your baby’s chest, but not so loose that they can easily break out of the swaddle.
With that said, sometimes your baby will be able to break out of the swaddle, even if you have as tight as is safe (which is WHY it’s important to know what the best swaddle blanket for newborns is, but recognize each baby is an individual).
WRAPPING UP THE BEST SWADDLE BLANKETS FOR NEWBORNS
There are probably 100’s (maybe exaggerating?) of options when it comes to swaddle blankets – but there are probably only a handful that work well for your family.
Once you can establish what is important to you in a swaddle, you will have a much easier time narrowing it down to the final RIGHT decision.
Personally, I think everyone should have an Ollie. It was my favorite baby product we had for our kids – and it SHOCKS me to read reviews from people who aren’t particularly..partial to it.
Regardless, that certainly brings home the point that your selection is a personal choice, and I know that you will do the best for your family.
Now..I would love to hear from you! Which swaddle did you/do you plan to use for your baby? Do you have a secret dislike of Ollie Swaddles? Share your experience in the comment section below. 🙂