Top 5 Baby Swaddles

Updated: Feb 24

You did it! You made it through nine months of pregnancy and labor and now you are home with your beautiful newborn. There's just one thing...he won't sleep! He will be fast asleep in your arms but when you try to lay him down to get some much needed rest for yourself he startles himself awake. The nurses showed you the swaddle technique in the hospital but you just can't seem to master it. The swaddle blanket moves up over your precious infant's face, he whips his arms out of it no matter how tight you try to make it, the blanket never stays in place and becomes a breathing hazard or he simply just doesn't seem to like being wrapped up! Many parents struggle with swaddling and revert to not using one at all or go in search of a premade swaddle blanket to make the process easier. But with so many choices on the market, how do you choose?! Today I'm going to give you a list of 5 tried and true swaddles that will allow you to swaddle quickly and effectively without the stress! From my own experience as a newborn care specialist and the recommendations of my clients and colleagues, here are my favorites!


Side note: I always recommend purchasing at least 2-3 of any swaddle you decide on. One for baby to wear and one for the wash. Babies are not known for keeping their clothing neat and clean! Make sure you are prepared for blowouts, spit-ups and baby drool.


*Click on any of the photos or links to purchase your favorite swaddle today!




Coming in at number 5: The Halo Sleepsack Swaddle


The Halo Sleepsack Swaddle is probably the most used premade swaddle in my experience, but there are a few drawbacks! The halo sleepsack allows you to place your child in the swaddle with their arms out and has a zipper from top to bottom to make sure baby stays inside. Then you utilize the velcro "wings" to wrap baby's arms in tight and snug. Halo also has great sleepsacks to use once baby has transitioned out of the swaddle entirely. The Halo Sleepsack Swaddle comes in newborn size for babies between 6-12 pounds and 19-23 inches long and in small size for babies between 13-18 pounds and 23-26 inches long.


Pros:

  • Easy to wrap baby in a tight swaddle

  • Ample room for healthy hip movement

  • Unzips at bottom for easy diaper changes without unswaddling

  • Easy to transition to one arm out or both arms out once baby is ready to transition out of swaddles

Cons:

  • Difficult to wrap an already sleeping baby without waking due to arm holes

  • Wings can move up towards face and over baby's mouth causing an unsafe sleep environment

  • Multiple layers of fabric can cause baby to overheat more easily

  • Releasing velcro wings can be loud and startle a sleeping infant

Tips for use:

  • Choose the cotton version! The fleece version looks warm, soft and cozy but I do not recommend it. It is too hot for safe sleep, the velcro breaks down more quickly and the wings do not stay in place well, creating an unsafe sleep environment. If you do choose a fleece Halo, place baby inside wearing only diaper and keep close watch of the positioning of the wings throughout naps and during the night.

  • Pull the back of the swaddle down when swaddling baby, so that the top of the wings falls below infant's shoulders. There should be 1/2 - 1 inch of shoulder showing above the wings once swaddle is complete. This will prevent the wings from moving up towards the face.

  • When washing the Halo swaddle, fasten the velcro and use a laundry bag if you have one. The velcro does break down with repeated washes.


Next up number 4:

Love to Dream

Swaddle UP


Unlike traditional swaddles that keep a baby's arms by their side or across their chest, the Swaddle UP is designed to replicate your baby's behavior in the womb, allowing the natural arms up position and movement of their hands to the mouth to truly self-soothe. The Swaddle UP is a great option to use if your baby fights every swaddle you have tried but is still too young to keep from startling awake from the MORO reflex. To use the Swaddle UP, place baby directly into swaddle and zip the two-way zipper. There are no wings or arm straps to hold baby's arms down, they have freedom of movement inside swaddle. The newborn size is made for infants and preemies 5-8.5 pounds, the small is made for infants 6.5-13 pounds and up to 22.8 inches and the medium is for infants 13-18.5 pounds.


Pros:

  • A great option for preemies who are too young to have arms swaddled down

  • Perfect choice for transitioning from a tighter swaddle to no swaddle if you are concerned about swaddling past 8 weeks of age

  • Allows freedom of movement while still muting the MORO reflex for infants who struggle consistently against a traditional swaddle

  • Lightweight fabric helps to keep baby cool to avoid overheating

  • Ample room for healthy hip movement

  • Two-way zipper allows for diaper changes without completely removing swaddle

Cons:

  • Many infants still startle in a swaddle without any arm straps or wings. While the Swaddle UP does mute movement, it is still likely your baby will startle awake occasionally using this swaddle in the first 8 weeks of life.

  • Neck opening is small, so sizing up may be needed if your baby has sweet chubby neck rolls

  • Sizing up reduces the effectiveness of the swaddle and can cause more wake-ups from startling

  • Many infants suck on their hands when they are not down in the swaddle. This can cause the wings to become wet, soggy and uncomfortable.

Tips for use:

  • Try a swaddle with arms down first and use the Swaddle UP to transition between 8-12 weeks of age. Use until baby can roll back to front.

  • Buy at least 3-4 Swaddle UPs. With other swaddles 2 may be enough (one to wear and one in the wash), but the swaddle up tends to get wet on the wings from hand sucking, so having an extra couple on hand is a good thing!

  • Size correctly - make sure your infant has enough room to kick their feet and move their hips side to side.


Waiting in the wings number 3:

Sleepea 5-Second Swaddle


Happiest Baby is well know for both the book, Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp and for the SNOO, a responsive bassinet that soothes fussy infants and assists with healthy sleep. The Sleepea swaddle is their answer to parents who loved the swaddle that came with their SNOO but no longer wanted to use the SNOO or couldn't afford the investment. The SNOO version of this swaddle has additional fabric on each side allowing it to attach directly to the bassinet. This Sleepea 5-Second Swaddle can be used on any sleep surface and has no extra uncomfortable fabric getting in the way. Inside the swaddle is a velcro strap that goes over arms to hold them tight and cozy and the outer swaddle zips around it from bottom to top. It's the perfect option if you have a Houdini on your hands! Small size is for infants 5-12 pounds, medium is for 12-18 pounds and large is for 18-26 pounds.


If you're interested in the SNOO, check it out on Amazon here!

If you're interested in the book, Happiest Baby on the Block, check it out on Amazon here!


Pros:

  • Inner arm strap keeps baby's arms in place and can be released or fastened around chest only to allow more movement without allowing baby to get hands out of outer swaddle

  • Mesh panels at shoulders and waist keep baby cool and prevent overheating

  • Zipper allows diaper changes without removing arm strap of swaddle

  • Easy to place sleeping baby inside

Cons:

  • Shoulders and neck tend to bunch up around a small newborn's face, activating rooting reflex during sleep

  • Tight around hips, still allows safe movement, but not as much freedom as other swaddle options

  • Zipper from bottom to top means you have to unzip entire sack to get to diaper, although arms will stay swaddled under the arm strap

Tips for use:

  • Make sure to place baby in sack with shoulders at very top to avoid fabric bunching

  • Place baby in just a onesie with bottom snaps for easier diaper access without removing arm straps

  • Place arm straps below shoulder level so they don't ride up under swaddle

  • Size correctly so that your swaddle does not restrict baby's leg and hip movement

  • When washing the Sleepea swaddle, fasten the velcro and use a laundry bag if you have one. The velcro does break down with repeated washes.



Runner up number 2: Miracle Blanket


It really is a miracle! This has been my go-to for many years. The only reason it didn't take first place is because there is a slight learning curve to using it correctly. The Miracle Blanket has what I like to call "batwings" on the inner portion of the swaddle that tuck over baby's arms then under baby's back, then one long swaddle wing around the outside, as well as a pouch for baby's legs and feet. When used correctly the Miracle Blanket is an amazing tool for those little Houdinis who like to break out of traditional velcro swaddles. And the greatest thing...One size fits all! This swaddle will take you from birth through the end of the swaddle era and can also be used when transitioning to an arms out swaddle.


Pros:

  • "Batwings" allow you to comfortably swaddle arms to baby's side using baby's own bodyweight to keep in place

  • No velcro means no loud unswaddling in the middle of the night

  • Long swaddle wing allows you to wrap baby tightly at the arms while leaving freedom of movement to the legs and hips. Baby stays snug in place using their own bodyweight to keep the swaddle secure

  • Foot pouch allows easy access to diaper without completely unswaddling

  • One size fits from birth until baby is rolling and can no longer be swaddled

Cons:

  • There is a slight learning curve to getting the swaddle snug enough to keep baby secure without being too restrictive and making sure the top of the swaddle is snug while still allowing free leg and hip movement

  • Multiple layers of fabric can cause baby to overheat more easily

  • More difficult to wrap an already sleeping baby due to batwings

Tips for use:

  • Place batwings over the upper arm and smooth flat under body for optimal comfort. Don't pin arms under baby! Make sure baby's arms are comfortably at the sides of his body.

  • Wrap baby snugly at top and more loosely from the waist down.

  • Place baby in swaddle in only a diaper or very light onesie to avoid overheating

  • Make sure swaddle starts at or just below shoulder level to keep swaddle blanket below baby's face



Gold medal number 1: The Ollie Swaddle


To be perfectly honest, the Ollie Swaddle was a new one for me and I have used it less than the other swaddles, but from the first time I saw it I knew I had found something impressive and different! The swaddle was initially recommended to me by my dear friend La Terra of Darlin' Baby Co., who shared with me that "a big plus of the Ollie Swaddle is that it’s one of the easiest swaddles to teach grandparents and everyone can use it safely. Parents have said teenage siblings used it easily and grandparents feel proud when they can master swaddling."


The Ollie Swaddle solves many of the issues of its runners up, from overheating to ease of use to easy diaper changes. It is the only traditional velcro swaddle I have found that is One Size Fits All and can grow with baby until swaddles are no longer needed. There is little to no learning curve, and let me tell you, once you feel this fabric you will never want to go back! It is soft and stretchy while still providing a snug fit to prevent your little mover from escaping. This swaddle is the clear winner!


Bonus: The story behind the Ollie Swaddle will touch your heart. It was originally designed as a therapeutic neuro-developmental swaddle to support an infant in foster care who was struggling with traditional swaddles that didn't provide enough pressure on his body as he went through drug withdrawals. To learn more about Ollie and the story behind the Ollie swaddle, visit the official page here!


Pros:

  • Lightweight, moisture-wicking material is the perfect solution to avoid overheating while still remaining soft and comfortable

  • Stretchy fabric provides the perfect amount of free movement while still applying pressure and holding baby's arms in place to avoid startling awake, not to mention being gloriously soft to the touch

  • With no extra wings, batwings or armstraps, this swaddle is simple and intuitive to use and works seamlessly in the middle of the night when you are half asleep

  • One Size Fits All, the Ollie Swaddle utilizes a simple yet effective tie at the bottom to bunch up excess fabric and allows the swaddle to grow with your baby

  • The tie at the bottom allows you to easily release baby's legs for quick diaper changes without undoing the entire swaddle

  • The Ollie design allows you to swaddle down below the face to prevent bunching up and creating an unsafe sleep environment

  • When you order the Ollie you get a laundry bag for free so your swaddle and velcro will have a long life!

Cons:

  • This swaddle still uses loud velcro straps, so if you absolutely have to unswaddle during the night it can wake baby

  • Once you purchase and start utilizing the Ollie swaddle you may regret all the previous swaddles you've invested in!

Tips for use:

  • Swaddle just under baby's shoulders to avoid bunching up and creating an unsafe sleep environment.

  • When tying the excess fabric at the bottom of the swaddle make sure to allow enough free fabric for ample movement of the legs and hips.

  • Wash in provided laundry bag with velcro fastened to prevent the velcro breaking down.

  • When baby is ready to transition out of the swaddle, use the Ollie to swaddle one arm or both arms out


Honorable Mentions:


These swaddles didn't quite make the cut, but if you are looking for something different than those mentioned above, these were the runners up. Click the links below to find them on Amazon!


Still struggling with your infant's sleep?

Contact Nanny Consults today for help!



*As an Amazon Associate I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. All reviews here are my own and I only recommend products I would purchase for myself or my family and friends.




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