In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

The Search for the Best Swaddle and Sleep Sack

Thursday November 29, 2018
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So you've gotten through the day, and now it's time to get baby ready for bed. To keep your baby safe, warm, and happy at night, it's best to have them bundled in a swaddle or wearable blanket. There are so many different brands and styles out there, so how do you know which is best for your baby? We've rounded up ten different nighttime wearables and researched the best uses for each. With options ranging from newborn all the way up to 4 years, for use in warm climates and cool winters, there is a wide variety of choices. Let us help you find the best sleep sack for your home and your baby.


1

Best Newborn Swaddle


Miracle Blanket


Editors' Choice Award

$32.95
at Amazon
See It

Material: 100% Cotton Knit | Age Range: 0-14 Weeks
Good for Houdini babies
Velcro/zipper free
Lightweight fabric allows freedom for room temp.
May take some practice
Lots of flaps can get lumpy under baby's back
Must unswaddle for diaper changes

The Miracle Blanket is an innovative take on the classic swaddle. It is a light-weight, 100% cotton fabric recommended for room temps from 67-72°F. Many parents love that it more closely resembles a classic swaddle, but is still much easier to use. 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 leg pocket at the bottom won't come undone, and baby's legs can be left out if you think they will be too warm with the extra covering. If mom and dad are having trouble getting the wrapping down just right, there are many helpful pages on how to use the Miracle Blanket on their website.

Unfortunately, you cannot change baby's diaper without completely unwrapping the swaddle, and 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 of the swaddle, tall babies tend to grow out of the swaddle before the 14 week recommended age limit. Lastly, the arm flaps from each side end up under baby's back, and if you're not careful when wrapping, all that extra fabric can get a bit lumpy under baby's back. Some users complain about the material being too lightweight, but others see it as increased freedom with how to dress the baby. It is easier to add more layers to keep baby warm than it is to keep baby from overheating in a heavyweight sleep swaddle. Overall, we are very impressed with this swaddle and would happily recommend it to anyone, but especially those with little Houdini babies that seem to escape from any wrap they are put in.

2

Perfect for Self-Soothing & Arms Up Sleepers


Love to Dream Swaddle UP


Editors' Choice Award

$28.99
(3% off)
at Amazon
See It

Material: Cotton | Age Range: 5-18.5 lbs
Allows for self-soothing
Two-way zipper
Good for baby's who can roll
Beware of shrinkage
Expensive for such a short usage range

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 earned this swaddle an Editors' Choice award. Its unique shape allows your baby's arms to be up above their head, but still restained enough to tone down their startle reflex. This feature is good for babies who are not happy with their arms restrained and prefer to self-soothe by sucking on their fist. The arms up position may also reduce the chances of baby rolling over. The hourglass design gets more snug around 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 also allows for quick nighttime diaper changes without completely undressing baby. 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 lost of first-time parents or sleep-deprived zombies.

When washing the Swaddle UP, be sure to follow washing instructions very carefully, as there have been reports of significant shrinkage, making the garment unusable. To keep it in tip-top shape, be sure to wash on a gentle cycle and DO NOT DRY. Due to swaddle functionality, you must be sure to follow the size charts exactly. For the 5-18.5 lb weight range, there are three different sizes, and you need to get the one correctly fitted for 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, then this could be a perfect choice.

3

Best Sleepsack


Woolino 4 Season Baby


Editors' Choice Award

$99.99
at Amazon
See It

Material: Merino Wool w/ Organic Cotton Shell | Age Range: 2-24 Months
High quality
Highly versatile
Self-regulating temperature
Expensive
One size

The Woolino 4 Season Baby sleep sack is a high-quality wearable blanket made from 100% merino wool with an organic cotton exterior layer for durability. Thanks to the inherent properties of wool, this sleep sack is naturally flame retardant and wicks moisture away from baby to keep their temperature regulated. Woolino only makes their sleep sack in one size, and it is made to 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 the baby is sound asleep. Many users appreciate that the zipper is on the side, and so stays out of 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 crib to car seat without redressing them completely.

While advertised as a year-round product, many find that the Woolino is too warm to use during 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. Lastly, it is expensive, with the highest price tag out of all the sleep sacks in this review. However, many parents, us included, 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.

4

Best Sack For Walkers


HALO SleepSack Micro-Fleece Early Walker


Editors' Choice Award

$21.99
(4% off)
at Amazon
See It

Material: Polyester Micro-fleece | Age Range: 6-24 Months
Safer for babies who can stand
Good for active sleepers
Can cover feet at night
The synthetic material may have a chemical smell
Poor quality

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 upon waking; having leg holes that free the feet reduces the chances of them 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 escape more difficult. The fabric is a mid-weight polyester microfleece with a TOG rating of 1 that is meant to be worn over normal pajamas to keep kids toasty warm. Even though there is a lot of extra fabric around the legs, 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 to it. It is one of the few wearable blankets in the review made from 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, but 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 is to allow 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 meant 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.

5

Best Swaddle for Preemies & Small Full-Terms


Summer Infant SwaddleMe Pod


Best Value Award

$9.50 each (in 2-pack)
(27% off)
at Amazon
See It

Material: Cotton/Spandex Blend | Age Range: 0-2 Months
Two-way zipper
Allows more wiggle room/freedom
Affordable
Low quality
The zipper is in baby's face

The Summer Infant SwaddleMe Pod is a basic zippered swaddle that is best for use in warmer nurseries or climates and is also the lowest priced swaddle in this review earning it our Best Value award. It has a single layer of fabric made from a blend of 93% cotton and 7% spandex that allows it to stretch and flex with 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 has the added benefit of eliminating 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 be woken as easily if any readjustments or diaper changes are needed.

The SwaddleMe Pod is an excellent choice for babies who do not need tight swaddling, but some parents find that it is too stretchy to make any real difference in soothing. It will not keep baby's arms in place and as it is so thin, will not add much additional warmth. The downside of the two-way zipper is that you end up with a pull tab up near baby's face. There is a triangular flap of fabric meant to cover the zipper to prevent it from bothering baby, but it is so small that it may not be able to 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 just a few washes. For such a low priced swaddle, this is not entirely surprising, but still disappointing. However, because it's usage range is so short, we think it is a useful choice for some parents. The SwaddleMe Pod keeps it simple and could be a perfect swaddle for parents who are on a budget but don't think they will be able to master swaddling properly with a regular blanket.

6

Best Transitional Swaddle


HALO SleepSack Swaddle


Best Value Award

$15.99
(30% off)
at Amazon
See It

Material: 100% Cotton | Age Range: 0-6 Months
Easy to use
Can change diapers without undoing swaddle
Multi-functional
Loud Velcro wrap
Baby doesn't stay put
Faulty zipper

For a swaddle that can be used through multiple stages and 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 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 baby can roll over. Some parents choose to completely remove the wings 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 has a comprehensive size guide on their website. 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 baby and even if you do choose to unswaddle, it is so easy to use that it's not a big deal. When washing, the Velcro wings must be closed 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 complaints. 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 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 are relying 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.

7

Best Value Organic Sleep Sack


Burt's Bees Baby Beekeeper


Best Value Award

$22.99
at Amazon
See It

Material: Organic Cotton | Age Range: 0-18 Months
Soft fabric
Extra length is good for long babies
Snap cover at the bottom of the zipper
Very thin/lightweight
Mixed reviews on quality

The Burt's Bees Baby Beekeeper is a lightweight cotton wearable blanket available in various adorable patterns, is 100% organic, and is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified. The weight of the material 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 from catching on 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 for 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 so may not be as easy to put on the baby. While the quality of the fabric itself is excellent, there is an occasional complaint with 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 extra 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 a great organic sleep sack that your baby will be happy in and parents can feel good about.

8

Most Versatile Swaddle


Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle


Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle
Top Pick Award

$34.95
at Amazon
See It

Material: 100% Cotton Muslin | Age Range: 0-??
High quality
Washes well
Highly versatile
Expensive
Requires good swaddling skills

Aden + Anais makes a variety of baby accessories, but they are perhaps best known for their Classic Swaddle which is our Top Pick for Versatility. It is a roomy 47"x47" swaddle blanket made 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 and can be used for a huge variety of purposes even after 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 used similarly to a toy or stuffed animal.

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 the budget-minded parents. Based on our personal use and experience, we love the Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle and would recommend it to anyone looking for a general use blanket in addition to a swaddle for baby.

Read Review: Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle

9

Innovative Transitional Sleep Suit


Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit


Top Pick Award

$39.95
at Amazon
See It

Material: Cotton outer w/ Polyfill inner | Age Range: 3-9 Months
Allows self-soothing
May help baby stay on their back
Good winter weight
Long dry time
Hard to put on and take off
Not meant for chunky babies

Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit is a one of a kind alternative to a sleep sack. It is perfect for babies who are past swaddling 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 heavy weight 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 layer of polyfill 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 easily overheat without these outlets. However, some parents have noticed 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, but 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 double zippered opening on the front has zippers that only work one direction, and the arm and leg openings are very snug, making it difficult to get baby dressed for the night, and 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.

10

Top Pick: Favorite Lightweight Sleep Sack


baby deedee Sleep Nest Lite


Top Pick Award

$34.00
List Price
See It

Material: Jersey Cotton | Age Range: 0-36 Months
Double shoulder snaps
Extra large zipper
High-quality materials
Extra long dry time
Snaps make it easy for toddlers to escape
Bulky zipper may interfere with sleep

The Baby Deedee Sleep Nest Lite is a double layered sleep sack made from thick jersey cotton. It has a center zipper that closes from top to bottom, keeping the zipper out of baby's face and allowing for easy diaper changes. The double-sided shoulder snaps allow you to lay baby flat on the sack and button/zip them in without having to fit tiny arms through tiny holes. It must be turned inside out when put through the wash, 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 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 more 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 the 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 on their own. Overall we think this is a great 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 taking a look at the Baby Deedee Sleep Nest.

Zippered swaddles like the Summer Infant SwaddleMe Pod are simple to use.
Zippered swaddles like the Summer Infant SwaddleMe Pod are simple to use.

Buying Advice


Babies like to be swaddled. The snug feeling it provides helps them self-soothe and may promote better sleep. They are less likely to startle themselves awake and are better able to fall back asleep when they do. As children get older and begin to outgrow swaddling, sleep sacks can become an integral part of a bedtime routine, giving kids a clear signal when it's sleepy time. Using a swaddle and then a sleep sack can greatly improve baby's chances of sleeping through the night and help keep them safe; things all parents want.

The Woolino 4 Season Baby fits babies from 2 months up to 2 years.
The Woolino 4 Season Baby fits babies from 2 months up to 2 years.

Wearable Blanket vs. Swaddle Blanket


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 is a sleep sack? How is it different from a swaddle? When should you use one vs. the other? Let's clarify.

A nice  tight swaddle can help comfort baby and keep them warm through the night.
Sleep sacks give baby more freedom of movement  but their startle reflex may kick in and surprise them every once in a while.

Swaddle Blanket


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 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.

Sleep Sack


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 baby wears over pajamas. Usually, they have a vest-like upper that turns into a closed dress at the bottom, so 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.

Transitional


Hybrid styles combine the secure feeling of a swaddle with the convenience of a sleep sack. They can come in a variety of 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 Swaddle UP 50/50.

When to Stop Swaddling
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.

Features to Look For


Most swaddles and sleep sacks are very similar, and any of the selections in this review will get the job done. However, there are a few differential features that might make one sleep sack or swaddle better suited for your baby or situation.

Lots of extra fabric on the Woolino leaves lots of room to grow.
Lots of extra fabric on the Woolino leaves lots of room to grow.

Fabric/Materials


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 Miracle Blanket is made from a stretchy cotton fabric.
The Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle is made from cotton muslin that has no stretch but washes well.
The very fine knit fabric on the Summer Infant SwaddleMe Pod is made from a cotton and spandex blend  giving it a lot of stretch.
The Woolino 4 Season Baby has an organic cotton outer with a wool lining. This gives it a heavier weight and greater capacity for warmth.

Different materials 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 the warmth of a product. A sleep sack with a rating of .5 is relatively lightweight and is 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 that has a wool lining. Wool is a temperature-regulating breathable fabric that helps to keep 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 sleep sacks and swaddle blankets should come with a temperature guide and provide advice on how to dress baby depending on the weight of the garment and the temperature of the nursery. These recommendations can usually be found on the website or with instructions included with purchase.

Thanks to the wrap around zipper and shoulder snap combo  the Woolino 4 Season Baby can be laid open flat.
Thanks to the wrap around zipper and shoulder snap combo, the Woolino 4 Season Baby can be laid open flat.

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 by 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. 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.

A high quality  easy to use zipper can make all the difference when dressing a squirmy baby for nighttime.
The armpit and shoulder snaps on the Woolino make it adjustable for babies of different sizes and also make putting the sleep sack on much easier.

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 allow 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 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 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 cool 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.

Parents love that the Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle is easy to wash and doesn't hold stains from spit-up and other messes.
Parents love that the Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle is easy to wash and doesn't hold stains from spit-up and other messes.

Saftey Considerations


As is always the case when purchasing baby products, baby's 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.
Charts like this can help you know how to properly dress baby during the night.
Charts like this can help you know how to properly dress baby during the night.
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 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 baby up because you are worried about them being cold at night, but if you put a baby in multiple layers, there can be such a thing as too warm. Both sleep sacks and swaddles are intended for use over pj's for added warmth, and many will come with instructions on how much clothing 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).

Knowing how to properly swaddle is essential when using a blanket like the Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle.
Knowing how to properly swaddle is essential when using a blanket like the Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle.

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 baby safe while using a swaddle. It is essential to know how to swaddle 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 must be kept loose to give the joints enough freedom to move up and out. Swaddling in this way helps ensure you avoid hip dysplasia, which is a general instability, or looseness, of the hip joint. For more in-depth information, check out our article 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. Baby may be able to roll themselves one way, but without access to their arms, 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 helpful during this stage. They can give a baby the secure comfort of being tightly wrapped without the risks involved in over-aged swaddling.

Back is best for nap time and nighttime.
Back is best for nap time and nighttime.

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 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 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 the basics. For additional tips and more in-depth explanations of safe sleep guidelines, take a look at our article How to Protect your Infant from SIDS and other Causes of Sleep-related Deaths.

The Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle can be used for much more than just wrapping baby.
The Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle can be used for much more than just wrapping baby.

Value


With prices ranging from $15 to $100, you've got to be asking yourself, what's the difference? Quality materials and construction are what sets products apart and enable them to endure years of use, possibly through multiple children. The design of swaddle products are 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 expensive but can be used long after 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 a long 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. 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 baby grows, and different weights to use during different seasons. 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.

Baby is snug and cozy in the Miracle Blanket swaddle.
Baby is snug and cozy in the Miracle Blanket swaddle.

Conclusion


Keeping baby safe and warm is the number one priority through the night, and a sleep sack or swaddle 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 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, so there is sure to be one that works for you and your baby.


Juliet Spurrier, MD & Abriah Wofford