The Miracle Blanket is an innovative take on the classic swaddle concept. It is a lightweight, 100% cotton fabric recommended for room temps from 67-72°F. Many parents love that it more closely resembles a classic swaddle but is much more manageable. When wrapping the baby, there is an extra flap that tucks around each arm to keep them snug and prevent them from breaking out of the swaddle. From there, you wrap the extra-long fabric around and around to keep it secure, no tucking or folding required. The bottom of the garments is sewn into a pocket for the legs that won't come undone. If you think your baby will be too warm with the extra coverage, you can remove their legs from the pocket. If mom and dad are having trouble getting the wrapping down just right, there is helpful information on how to use the Miracle Blanket on their website.
Like a traditional swaddle, you cannot change a baby's diaper without completely unwrapping the Miracle Blanket. Although it is simpler than a traditional swaddle, it is more involved than those with zipper closures. Due to the non-adjustable leg pocket at the bottom, extra-tall babies tend to grow out of the swaddle before the 14-week suggested age limit. Lastly, the arm flaps from each side end up under the baby's back, and if you're not careful when wrapping, all that extra fabric can get a bit lumpy under the baby's back. Some users complain about the material being too lightweight, but others see it as increased freedom when choosing how to dress the baby. It is easier to add more layers to keep a baby warm than to keep the baby from overheating in a heavyweight sleep swaddle. Overall, we are impressed with the Miracle Blanket and would happily recommend it to anyone. It may come in especially handy for those with little Houdini babies that seem to escape from every wrap.
The Woolino 4 Season Baby sleep sack is a high-quality wearable blanket of 100% Merino wool with an organic cotton exterior layer for durability. Thanks to wool's inherent properties, this sleep sack is naturally flame retardant and wicks moisture away from the baby to keep their temperature regulated. Woolino only makes their sleep sack in one size, and it will fit children from 2 months to 2 years. Underarm snaps help with adjustability to keep it snug around children of different ages. Additional snaps on both shoulders and a 2-way zipper give it the ability to be opened and laid flat, making it a breeze to put on, even if your baby is sound asleep. Many users appreciate that the zipper is on the side and stays out of the baby's face and out of chewing range. The Woolino 4 Season also has an opening on the front and back to allow for the crotch strap of a car seat or stroller to pass through, which can be super handy if you would like to transfer a sleeping baby from a crib to a car seat without redressing them.
While advertised as a year-round product, many find that the Woolino is too warm to use during the summer months. Because this is a one-size-fits-all product, many parents feel that there is too much fabric for younger infants and prefer to use it after the baby is a bit bigger. It is machine washable, but you must follow special washing instructions to keep the wool in tip-top condition throughout its use. Last, it is expensive, sporting the highest price tag in this review. However, many parents, including us, think it is worth the initial investment. Thanks to its high quality, and multi-age fit, you only have to purchase one sleep sack until the baby is ready to sleep with ordinary blankets, rather than create a collection of multiple sizes and weights. We believe that most families will be happy with the Woolino 4 Season Baby sleep sack.
The Burt's Bees Baby Beekeeper is a lightweight, 100% organic cotton wearable swaddle transition blanket available in various adorable patterns and is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified. The material's weight is similar to a thick t-shirt, so we recommend this sleep sack for warmer homes and nurseries. The zipper works in reverse and has a snap cover at the bottom to keep it tucked away and prevented it from catching on to things. The fabric is very soft, and it is easily machine washable, with no special instructions. This sleep sack is longer than others, allowing for lots of extra legroom and making it a good choice for longer babies or those who want to get the most use out of their baby clothes.
Although there are many things to like about this sleep sack, many users note that the fabric is much thinner than anticipated and doesn't provide adequate warmth in colder homes or climates. The Baby Beekeeper also lacks the convenient shoulder snaps that some other sacks have and may not be as easy to put on the baby. While the quality of the fabric itself is excellent, there is an occasional complaint about the quality of assembly. Many find loose threads and seams that come undone after a few washes, implying that there may be poor quality-control on the manufacturer's end. Because of the extra length, smaller babies may swim in the excess fabric, so be sure to take a look at Burt's Bees size guide to achieve a proper fit. Aside from this, we think that Burt's Bees makes an excellent organic sleep sack that your baby will be happy in and will inspire confidence in parents.
The Love to Dream Swaddle UP is a stretchy zippered swaddle with a single layer of cotton and elastane blend fabric. It has a TOG rating of 1, which is ideal for room temperatures from 68°F to 75°F. It has some creative features that set it apart from the pack and earned it a top spot. Its unique shape allows the arms to be up above the head, which is a preferred position for some infants. However, they are still restrained enough to tone down their startle reflex. This feature is good for babies who are not happy with their arms tightly bound and prefer to self-soothe by sucking on their fist. The arms up position may also reduce the chances of a baby rolling over. The hourglass design gets more snug around the baby's belly, giving them that comforting swaddled feeling and helping them sleep better. The two-way zipper makes it very easy to put on and allows quick nighttime diaper changes without completely removing the garment. Perhaps the biggest draw is that there is no wrapping involved in this swaddle. It is uber-simplified and feels manageable to even the most bewildered of first-time parents and sleep-deprived zombies.
When washing the Swaddle UP, be sure to follow laundering instructions very carefully, as there have been reports of significant shrinkage, making the garment unusable. To keep it in top shape, be sure to wash on a gentle cycle and DO NOT DRY. To achieve a snug fit, be sure to follow the size chart exactly. For the 5lb-18.5lb weight range, there are three different sizes, and you need to get the one correctly fitted for the baby's safety. These sizing requirements mean that you will have to purchase a new garment every few weeks as the baby grows, and maybe even more if you want multiples or backups. Some parents complain that this product is a bit expensive for its limited lifespan. However, this swaddle can work wonders for the right infant, and if you are willing to go the extra mile to find what works best for your baby, this could be a perfect choice.
Aden + Anais makes various baby accessories, but they are perhaps best known for their Classic Swaddle, which is our favorite option for versatility. It is a roomy 47"x47" swaddle blanket from soft cotton muslin and comes in a large selection of cute prints and colors. Muslin is a very breathable fabric, but thanks to the multiple layers of fabric you will be wrapping around the baby, it will keep them fairly warm. The extra-large size makes it easier to swaddle with, and parents love how well these blankets wash, noting that they don't hold stains from spit-up or other spills and messes. Despite the delicate feeling of muslin, these swaddle blankets are meant to last. They can be used for a huge variety of purposes even after your baby has outgrown swaddling, including car seat/stroller cover, burp cloth, nursing cover, tummy time blanket, and changing table cover. Some users say that their kids become so attached to these blankets that they end up being more like a toy or stuffed animal lovie.
We love these blankets, but there are a few things to remember before purchasing. To use these blankets as a swaddle, you must trust your skill in this area as you do not want the wrap to come loose in the night, a potential problem that is not present when using zippered swaddles. Another common complaint is the price. At first blush, $35 may seem a bit steep for such a simple set of blankets; however, if you keep in mind their longevity and potential versatility, we think it is worth it, even for budget-minded parents. Based on our personal use and experience, we love the Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle. We would recommend it to anyone looking for a general use blanket in addition to a swaddle for a baby.
Read Review: Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle
For a swaddle you can use through multiple stages that develop with the baby, the HALO SleepSack Swaddle is what you need. The base layer is just like HALO's other classic sleep sacks, but it has two wings attached to the back that wrap around the baby's arms and secure with Velcro. This multifunctional sleep sack swaddle combo has three uses, both arms in for newborns, one arm out for transitioning from swaddling, and both arms out for use as a regular sleep sack after the baby can roll over. Some parents choose to remove the wings altogether when the baby no longer needs the extra security that the wrap can give so long as the baby is still in the proper height/weight range for that size. To ensure you have the appropriate size for your child, HALO offers a comprehensive size guide. Thanks to its layered design, it has a TOG rating of 1.5 and is best used with light clothing underneath or in cooler nurseries. The reverse zip allows you to change diapers without completely unwrapping the baby, and even if you do choose to unswaddle, it is so easy to use that it's not a big deal. When washing, close the Velcro wings to avoid snagging and keep the swaddle looking its best.
Although there's a lot to love about this swaddle, we do have a few concerns. We find if you don't take care to wrap your baby correctly, they can slip down into the swaddle, and the fabric can get bunched up near the baby's chin, in which case the wrap should be undone and readjusted immediately. While the Velcro closure on the wings makes wrapping ridiculously easy, taking them apart can be loud and wake the baby. It also seems to wear out quickly, especially if you rely on only one or two alternating sleep sacks. Another frequent issue users have is with a faulty zipper, which seems to be the case with many HALO products put through heavy use. Despite these issues, we love the versatility of the SleepSack Swaddle, and when used correctly, we think it is the perfect transition product for older babies who are ready to move on to the next step but still need a little snuggling in their life. If you love HALO products and want to keep using them after your baby has outgrown swaddling, the HALO SleepSack is another nighttime product we recommend.
The Summer Infant SwaddleMe Pod is a basic zippered swaddle that is best for use in warmer nurseries or climates. It is also one of the lowest-priced swaddles in this review. The sizing of this swaddle makes it best for smaller babies or preemies. It has a single layer of fabric that is a blend of 93% cotton and 7% spandex that allows it to stretch and flex with your baby's movements. It can be used with baby's arms down but also allows them to shift as they sleep, making it the perfect choice for babies who don't need to be swaddled tightly but still would benefit from an additional layer of clothing at night. Parents love the two-way zipper that makes nighttime diaper changes easy and eliminates the need to thread the zipper with a fussy baby inside. Having just a single zipper makes it one of the easiest swaddles in the review, and the lack of loud Velcro means that baby won't wake up as easily if any readjustments or diaper changes are needed.
While the SwaddleMe Pod is an excellent choice for babies who do not need tight swaddling, some feel it is too stretchy to make any real difference in soothing. It will not keep the baby's arms in place, and as it is so thin, it will not add much warmth. The downside of the two-way zipper is that you end up with a pull tab up near the baby's face. There is a triangular flap of fabric meant to cover the zipper to prevent it from bothering the baby, but it is so small that it may not keep the zipper contained for long. Other complaints include the quality of the construction. Our product came with a few loose threads, and some users mention that they found holes along the seams after a few washes. For such a low-priced swaddle, this is not entirely surprising but still disappointing. However, because its usage range is short, we think it can be a practical choice for some parents. The SwaddleMe Pod keeps it simple and could be a perfect swaddle for parents on a budget but don't think they will be able to master swaddling properly with a regular blanket.
If your child is a bit older, and teetering on the edge of learning how to walk, then you might want to take a look at the HALO SleepSack Micro-Fleece Early Walker. It comes with all the benefits of your regular sleep sack but has leg holes at the bottom. This arrangement can be safer for older babies and toddlers as they may try to stand up and move around when getting ready for bed or waking. Having leg holes that free the feet reduces the chances of getting tripped up by the fabric and gives them a bit more freedom. When it is time for sleep, there is enough fabric that their feet can be pulled up inside the sack to keep toes warm (and perhaps prevent little ones from trying to climb out of the crib). It has a reverse zipper that makes nighttime diaper changes easy and a toddler's escape more difficult. The fabric is a mid-weight polyester microfleece with a TOG rating of 1 that should be worn over normal pajamas to keep kids toasty warm. Even though there is a lot of extra leg fabric, it does not bunch up around the face, thanks to the V-neck design and armholes that stay snug around the shoulders. This sleep sack is perfect for older kids who may not necessarily need a sleep sack but are active sleepers that cannot keep blankets on through the night. It can also become a part of bedtime routines and help little ones know when it is time for sleep.
While the Early Walker is an innovative sleep sack, there are a few downsides. It is one of the few wearable blankets in the review using synthetic material, and some parents notice a chemical smell that stuck around even after washing. Following proper washing recommendation of zipping it up and turning it inside out will reduce the chances of the fabric pilling. Still, after multiple trips through the wash, some parents have noticed unraveling seams and zippers that don't work as well as they used to. One of the most common complaints of this sleep sack is that it runs extremely large. However, most of the time, this is due to user misunderstanding. The sleep sack is supposed to be very baggy and blanket-like around the legs, but often parents are expecting something closer to footie pajamas; this is not the intended use for the sleep sack. When following the size guides, the sleep sack will seem very large, but this allows adequate room for leg freedom through the night. HALO is a long-time, trusted producer of sleep sacks, and we think that the Early Walker is the perfect product to fit that early toddlerhood transition period. This product has three sizes for children from 6 months to 2 years, but if your little one just can't let go of the idea of a nighttime sleep sack, HALO also offers another version with sizes for kids up to 5 years old.
The Ergobaby Swaddler is adorable, 100% cotton, and undeniably soft. The material has some stretch, making it suitable for babies who want some movement, and the neck hole is wider for babies who prefer that style. The manufacturer claims that this swaddle has an ergonomic design that keeps the baby's legs and hips in the proper ergonomic position, promoting healthy hip growth. The removable leg pouch makes diaper changes more accessible, and the swaddle's Velcro is quieter than some competing swaddles in our roundup.
Although we appreciate a Velcro system that doesn't wake sleeping babies, users mention that this hook-and-loop system lacks strength, particularly over time. Also, there's a learning curve when first swaddling your baby. In fact, this product comes with an instruction manual. However, with practice, you'll be a master in no time. If you seek a swaddle with an ergonomic design and handy leg pocket for diaper changes, this product is a contender.
This set of Comfy Cubs Swaddle Blankets comes with three swaddles, so you'll have one ready for sleep time with others on standby or in the wash. Using 100% cotton, these swaddles are soft and fit babies 0-3 months old. The swaddle's design features hook-and-loop tabs to ensure a snug fit, as well as a leg pocket. This set is sensible and straightforward without all the bells and whistles of the fancier competition.
When the swaddle is tight on top, it can be hard to slide babies' legs out of the pocket for diaper changes. Users mention that the leg pocket can be limiting as babies grow and it results in quickly outgrowing this option, so we think it is likely best for smaller babies. Also, the Velcro tabs don't always match up exactly. Despite these considerations, if you seek a set of newborn swaddles, this one might meet your needs, especially given the quantity versus cost.
Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit is a unique way to swaddle with a sleep sack. It is perfect for babies who are past swaddling blanket age but still need some help mellowing their startle reflex. There are two sizes offered, one to fit babies from 3-6 months and another to fit babies from 6-9 months. The free arms and open hands allow your baby to suck on their fists for self-soothing. The heaviness of the suit may feel comforting to a baby and help them get to sleep faster. It does not have an official TOG rating, but the suit is made from two outer layers of cotton with a polyfill layer in between, making it very warm and best used during winter months or in cool nurseries.
The open foot area on this suit can be a blessing and a curse. It is good because babies release most of their heat from their head and their feet, and in such a heavyweight sleepsuit, the baby could quickly overheat without these outlets. However, some parents notice that even when the baby seems extra-warm, their extremities are cold to the touch because they are exposed. This garment needs washing on a gentle cycle with cold water and air drying to avoid shrinkage. Baby Merlin's website recommends turning it inside out to quicken the drying process. However, many users still complain that it seems to take forever, and they still experience some shrinkage (although this is not the case with the Microfleece version). The front of the suit has two zippers that go from bottom to top. The arms and leg openings are also very snug, potentially creating an issue with getting your baby dressed for the night. It may not be suitable for babies who are extra chunky. Keeping these things in mind, the Magic Sleepsuit is a unique option for baby sleepwear that could be the perfect transition garment for your baby.
The Woombie Grow With Me Convertible Swaddle is versatile and offers longevity. Indeed, this swaddle does it all. It provides five stages of expansion from swaddle to wearable blanket, essentially fitting the needs of children ages 0-18 months. It features a 'Hands Over Heart' sleep position and an arm-free interior as a swaddle. When your child is ready for the sleep sack style, it can extend to accommodate a taller child. The Woombie has a narrow waistline, which gently compresses the tummy, giving additional comfort. We appreciate this product's two-way zipper, so late-night diaper changes are a breeze without Velcro waking your sleepy child.
Swaddles bear the brunt of spit-up and blowouts. As a result, swaddles designed for extended longevity will eventually show their age. The Woombie's plastic snaps in the armholes might not be the most comfortable once your child reaches the wearable blanket stage where arms are free, especially if they are not wearing a clothing layer underneath. If you can overlook these factors and appreciate a sleep sack that provides a longer lifespan, we think this option is a possible contender.
The Baby Deedee Sleep Nest Lite is a double-layered, thick jersey cotton sleep sack. It has a center zipper that closes from top to bottom, keeping the zipper out of the baby's face and allowing for easy diaper changes. The double-sided shoulder snaps allow you to lay the baby flat on the sack and button/zip them in without having to fit tiny arms through tiny holes. You must wash it inside out, but it holds up well to wear and washes without pilling. The Sleep Nest Lite comes in three sizes: Small (0-6 months), Medium (6-18 months), and Large (18-36 months), but we recommend you look at the Baby Deedee's size chart when ordering to ensure you have the right size for your baby. We like that Baby Deedee includes a TOG rating on all their sleep sacks, making it easier for you to dress your baby appropriately based on the temperature. The Sleep Nest Lite has a TOG rating of 0.6.
The zipper is extra-large to make it easier to use in the dark, but some parents complain that it seems bulky and chunky on small babies. When washing this sleep sack, you will need to allow a longer dry time than you would for other clothing as the layered fabric stays damp longer. Luckily it can be machine dried, so you don't have to worry too much about this. Many users love shoulder snaps for how easy they are, but on the flip side, these same snaps also make it easy for older babies and toddlers to get out of the sack independently. Overall, we think this is an excellent mid-weight sleep sack suitable for spring-fall temperatures. If you like Baby Deedee but are looking to bundle up your baby for colder months, we recommend considering the Baby Deedee Sleep Nest.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our review team is well versed in best baby sleep practices, and each member has contributed hours of research and hands-on experience. The swaddle and sleep sack review is led by a board-certified pediatrician and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Juliet Spurrier, MD, who is also a mother of two. Dr. Spurrier applies her knowledge as a pediatrician to guide our selection process and research methods, focusing on the best safe sleep practices for babies. Conducting the research and testing portion of this review is Senior Review Editor Abriah Wofford. She has tested hundreds of baby products since joining the BabyGearLab team in 2015 and brings to the table experience as day time and nighttime nanny. Rounding out the review team is Senior Review Editor Wendy Schmitz, mother of two, who has been with BabyGearLab since 2014.
Each sack is tested side-by-side to determine the best option for each stage of life and lifestyle choice. We considered quality, design, comfort, and features when comparing products for this roundup. Two-month-old baby Annie helped us test our products for fit, comfort, and durability.
Some babies enjoy being swaddled for multiple reasons. A secure fit of a swaddle can mimic the feeling of a mother's womb, support self-soothing, and, overall, better sleep. Plus, babies experience the Moro reflex in the beginning weeks of life, which causes a baby to startle awake. Until this involuntary reflex disappears, being snug as a bug can help your baby fall back asleep when they do. As children get older and begin to outgrow swaddling, sleep sacks can become an integral part of a nap or bedtime routine, giving children a clear signal when it's sleepy time. Using a swaddle and sleep sack can significantly improve baby's chances of sleeping through the night and help keep them safe, things all parents want.
Swaddles and sleep sacks can be an invaluable addition to your bedtime routine. Most people are familiar with swaddling, even if it's just from the first few nights at the hospital when the nurse wrapped up the baby like a tiny burrito. But you still may be wondering what a sleep sack is. How is it different from a swaddle? When should you use one vs. the other? Let's clarify.
Traditionally, a swaddle is a large square blanket that you wrap in a way that keeps baby's arms tucked close to their body and can help to give them a womb-like feeling of warmth and security. This technique can help soothe and promote better sleep for the baby. Learning how to swaddle a newborn with just a square blanket is a skill that can take a lot of practice and be difficult to fully master, which is the reason many parents opt for a more modern take on the swaddle. Many of these newer adaptations come with zippers, Velcro, or presewn pockets that simplify the wrapping process and give more consistent results. Swaddles in this review include the Miracle Blanket, the Love to Dream Swaddle UP, and the Summer Infant SwaddleMe Pod. The Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle is the only truly traditional swaddle blanket.
A wearable blanket, or sleep sack, is another form of nighttime sleepwear intended for older babies and toddlers that have outgrown the swaddling stage. It is essentially a lightweight sleeping bag that the baby wears over pajamas. Usually, they have a vest-like upper that turns into a closed dress at the bottom, so the baby stays toasty warm and has no chance of kicking off the blankets. Examples of this include the Woolino 4 Season Baby, the Burt's Bees Baby Beekeeper, and the baby deedee Sleep Nest Lite.
Hybrid styles combine the secure feeling of a swaddle with the convenience of a sleep sack. They can come in various styles, from suits to zippered swaddles, and are often helpful during the transition from arms-in to arms-out. Examples of this include the HALO SleepSack Swaddle, Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit, and Love to Dream's Love to Dream Swaddle UP 50/50.
Swaddling is good for babies only up to a certain point. After eight weeks, or when your baby starts to show signs of rolling over on their own, the swaddle should be retired and replaced with a suitable infant sleep sack.
Most swaddles and sleep sacks are very similar, and any of the selections in this review will get the job done. However, a few differential features might make one sleep sack or swaddle better suited for your baby or situation.
We think it is important to know what you're putting near baby's skin, especially when it's something they'll be spending 8+ hours of the day in. Our favorite swaddles and sleep sacks are made from natural materials such as cotton or wool and get bonus points in our book if they are organic, like the Burt's Bees Baby Beekeeper.
The different materials of the swaddles and sleep sacks will also provide different levels of warmth, and most manufacturers give a TOG rating for their products. A TOG is a unit of measurement commonly used in the textile industry to measure a product's warmth. Sleep sacks with a rating of .5 are relatively lightweight and best for babies who live in mild climates or sleep in warm nurseries. The highest recommended TOG for baby sleepwear is 4, but in most homes, a maximum rating of 2.5 should be sufficient. The Woolino 4 Season Baby is the only wearable blanket in this review with a wool lining. Wool is a temperature-regulating breathable fabric that helps to keep the baby's body temp stable, and therefore, does not have a fixed TOG rating. This property makes it ideal for use in a variety of temperatures.
All swaddles and sleep sacks should come with a temperature guide and recommendations on how to dress your baby. Typically this information can be either found on the company's website or provided within the product's instructions. How you dress your baby will depend on the garment's weight and the temperature of the nursery.
Ease of Use
Daily use means that the ease with which you can dress baby will be a big factor in choosing a nighttime wearable. Manufacturers often try to make this as simple as possible using zippers, snaps, and wraps in various combinations.
The difference in ease of use between swaddles can vary significantly due to the large variety of styles. Classic square swaddle blankets will take the most time to master but can be used longer and for more purposes. The Ergobaby Swaddler takes a little bit of time to get used to, but the learning curve is short. Using a zipper/wrap combo such as Halo's SleepSack Swaddle offers some of the same flexibility in usage but is much easier to use. Zippered styles, such as the Love to Dream Swaddle UP and the Summer Infant SwaddleMe Pod are by far the easiest as they are a one-stop-shop kind of deal. However, when using this type of swaddle, you must be sure to have exactly the right size, so there is not much room for growth. You will probably end up having to purchase many different sizes to accommodate a growing baby.
All the wearable blankets in this review have a zipper closure. Most have a reverse zipper that starts at the top and ends at the bottom. This feature allows you to partially open the zipper from the bottom to change a diaper without undressing your baby all the way. Some have two-way zippers that will enable you to choose to start the zipper from either the top or bottom. On the Woolino 4 Season Baby, the zipper is located on the side, which keeps it away from the baby's face and stomach for those (older) belly sleepers. Shoulder snaps come in handy when you are trying to dress a sleeping baby without waking them. You can lay baby flat on the garment and wrap, zip, and snap around them, rather than trying to force their arms through little armholes. Armpit snaps also allow one-size sleep sacks to grow with the baby, keeping the armholes snug but not too snug as they grow.
If ease of cleaning is higher up on your checklist, then you will want to pay close attention to washing instructions. These can vary from piece to piece and are usually material dependent, but most sleep sacks will stay in better condition if you zip them and turn them inside out before washing. Most wool or cotton sacks need to be washed on a delicate or cold cycle and must be air dried to avoid shrinking. If you want to throw the blanket in the wash with the rest of the clothes and not add special instructions to your list of a million other things to worry about, then products like the Burt's Bees Baby Beekeeper or the Miracle Blanket are excellent choices.
As is always the case when purchasing baby products, child safety comes first. In addition to finding the best product for your lifestyle, developing good habits, and following safe sleep practices is crucial to your baby's wellbeing.
Dressing Baby for Sleep
Babies are not very good at regulating their temperature; after all, their last nine months were spent in the womb where mom did all the work for them! Now that they are out in the cold, cold world, their body needs a little time before it develops enough to regulate their temperature without assistance. Especially in the first two months of life (but maybe even up to 10 months or a year), mom and dad can help by taking special care to dress a baby for the nursery temperature. The ideal room temperature for a newborn is somewhere between 68° F and 72° F, and it is easy to feel the need to bundle your baby up because you are worried about them being cold at night. Still, if you put a baby in multiple layers, there can be such a thing as too warm. Both sleep sacks and swaddles are for use over pj's for added warmth, and many will come with instructions on how much clothing the baby should be wearing underneath the garment, depending on the room temperature. A common rule of thumb is to dress your baby in one more layer than you need to feel comfortable. Take care not to overdress the baby, as overheating can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
How to Swaddle
While many parents and doctors swear by the benefits of tightly wrapping a baby, there are a few things to keep in mind to keep your baby safe while using a swaddle. It is essential to know how to swaddle the baby correctly. You must be sure to wrap the baby tightly enough up top that the blanket won't come loose in the middle of the night and become a safety hazard in the crib. On the other hand, the fabric around the hips and legs needs to be loose to give the joints enough freedom to move up and out. Swaddling this way helps ensure you avoid hip dysplasia, which is a general instability, or looseness, of the hip joint. Don't worry, we've got you covered on how to practice safe swaddling to protect baby's hips.
When to Stop Swaddling
As babies develop and start to grow stronger, swaddling can become dangerous. The baby may be able to roll themselves one way, but without access to their arms, they find themselves unable to roll back over. If they can break out of a swaddle wrap, this brings in the additional hazard of loose blankets in the crib, which is a big no-no. These situations are why it is imperative to know when to discontinue swaddling and switch to a suitably sized sleep sack instead. The general recommendation is to stop swaddling at eight weeks of age or when the baby shows signs of rolling over on their own or starts breaking out of the swaddle on their own. Continuing to swaddle after any of these occurrences may increase the risk of SIDS. Transitional swaddling products are especially beneficial during this stage. They can give a baby the secure comfort of being tightly wrapped without the risks involved in over-aged swaddling.
Safe Sleep Practices
General safe sleep practices should be kept in mind every night and nap time.
- You should always put your baby on their back to sleep. At an early age, swaddling can help keep infants in this position and lessen the likelihood of them rolling over accidentally; however, as soon as they show signs of turning over, the swaddle should be put away for good. Once a baby can go from back to tummy and tummy to back, usually around one year, they can sleep in any position they choose.
- Place baby on a firm mattress to sleep, free of loose blankets, pillows, or toys to help reduce suffocation hazards. Nothing should be in the crib or bassinet with the baby, and you should never let the baby sleep on a couch, armchair, or sofa.
- Room share, but do NOT bed share. Keeping baby in the same room, on a separate sleep surface, for the first 6-12 months helps you maintain a close eye on your baby and can be more convenient.
- Use a pacifier. Even though experts are not yet sure why it helps, using a paci can help reduce the risk of SIDS, even if it falls out after the baby has fallen asleep.
These are just basic safe sleep guidelines. There are many additional tips and more in-depth explanations out there of how to protect your infant from SIDS and other causes of sleep-related deaths.
Quality materials and construction can set products apart and enable them to endure years of use, possibly through multiple children. Swaddle products are designed for the first 2-3 months of a baby's life, so they are usually much less expensive. The Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle is a bit more costly but can be used long after a baby has outgrown swaddling. When it comes to sleep sacks, you have a product that your child may potentially use until their later toddler years. With that in mind, it may be a good idea to invest in a sleep sack that will fit your baby for an extended period and is durable enough to last. With products like the Woolino 4 Season Baby, your child can keep on using it from two months up to two years and during all seasons. The Woombie Grow With Me Convertible Swaddle also provides longevity, working for ages 0-18 months of age. When purchasing a less expensive sleep sack, you will likely have to buy multiples to use as backups when one is in the wash, as well as different sizes to use as your baby grows and varying weights to use during different seasons. If you're looking for a set of newborn swaddles, the Comfy Cubs Swaddle Blankets are worth consideration. After taking all this into account, you may end up spending just as much on multiple, less-expensive products as you would spend on one or two quality sleep sacks that you can use through multiple ages and seasons.
Keeping your baby safe and warm is the number one priority through the night, and swaddling is the number one solution. Swaddling can help calm your baby and keep them from waking as often in the night. Using a wearable blanket can keep loose blankets and pillows out of your baby's crib for longer for increased peace of mind. We did our homework on the products in this review and found that each one is best for a specific application. There is sure to be one in our lineup that fits the needs of you and your baby.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Abriah Wofford