Swaddling is a trusted method of wrapping a newborn in a piece of blanket or cloth to resemble a mother’s womb. Also known as baby swaddles, this baby item provides the warmth and security that your infant needs to stay calm and to sleep soundly.
Getting to know your newborn takes time and patience. While you and your baby are still adjusting to your first days together, one of the most effective techniques in soothing your little one is swaddling. In this article, we prepared a guide on how to choose the right baby swaddle. We also asked board-certified pediatrician Dr. Joanna Pamela Cuayo-Estanislao for some of her comments and tips!
A swaddle keeps your baby warm at night and during nap time while you’re assured that it fits snugly without any loose ends. Swaddle blankets are also usually longer than regular baby blankets to ensure that there is enough fabric for the proper folds and tucks. They are also thinner and more breathable to avoid overheating. As a general rule, no loose fabric such as regular blankets must be placed near a newborn.
Babies do not have the motor skills yet to roll over and remove objects from their faces. Any soft object or loose bedding that is close to your sleeping baby creates a risk of difficulty in breathing and suffocation. Don’t worry if you’ve already purchased regular blankets for your baby. These loose cloth blankets are versatile enough and will have many uses once your baby turns one.
Swaddled infants have been found to arouse less and sleep longer. Swaddling has also been shown to be more effective than infant massage in soothing excessively crying infants. In premature babies, swaddling has been shown to improve neuromuscular development, lessen physiologic distress, and improve the infant's self-regulatory activity.
However, it's important to remember that swaddled babies must always be on their back (supine). Once the baby is able to roll to their belly, swaddling should be discontinued, as there is a risk of suffocation if a swaddled baby is in a prone position.
Here are some key points to consider:
For more detailed information, read through our buying guide below.
One of the main purposes of swaddling is to soothe a newborn during a startle reflex. It is a common instinctive movement among infants, which can disturb their sleeping patterns. Try to visualize whether your little one will sleep soundly in a swaddle blanket or a fitted swaddle. Of course, the comfortability of your baby is a top priority.
A traditional swaddling blanket, also known as a muslin blanket, is a thin piece of fabric that is large enough to wrap your baby up like a tiny burrito. These are more versatile because you can also use your swaddling blankets as a nursing cover, a burp cloth, a stroller cover, and a plain blanket.
Make sure to learn the proper way of folding a swaddle blanket around your newborn—just like in origami. If it comes too loose, it may cover your baby’s face and create a risk for suffocation. If it’s too tight, especially around the chest, your baby will have trouble breathing, or if it is too tight in the legs, there is a risk of developing hip dysplasia.
Blankets are great since they can be used in a variety of ways. However, using swaddles as a blanket does have a learning curve and would require parents to know how to swaddle their baby safely. It would be good to ask your nurse or doctor to teach you how to swaddle your infant before leaving the hospital.
Fitted baby swaddles offer more convenience because they are easier to put on. Fondly referred to as “cheater swaddles," these are ready-to-wear, so there's no need to master the correct folding or tucking method. The most common type of fitted swaddles are the winged swaddle and the zipper swaddle.
Winged swaddles are specially designed to appear as wings that can overlap to snugly wrap your baby. These wings are secured by Velcro. On the other hand, zipper swaddles are made of stretchy fabric that you can pull tightly around your baby as you zip it from top to bottom or vice versa. Both variants are recommended if your baby can easily undo the folds and “escape” from a swaddling blanket.
Fitted or cheater swaddles are a good and convenient option that leaves less room for errors in positioning. Since you take out the step of determining how tight the swaddle goes around the legs and hips, it can be the safer option for babies at risk of hip dysplasia. However, when choosing your fitted swaddle, ensure that you select the appropriate size for your infant.
Swaddle sacks, otherwise known as sleeping bags, are perfect for older babies who have outgrown their swaddle blankets and fitted swaddles—but are still too young to sleep with a regular flat sheet blanket.
A swaddle sack serves as a wearable blanket with armholes. It helps babies to transition from their infant swaddles to a more free-flowing and less restrictive wrap. This has more legroom while still providing additional warmth and security to your little one.
Swaddle sacks are great for parents who don’t have the swaddling technique down pat or have trouble finding an adequately sized fitted swaddle for their baby. You just tuck your baby in and wrap the swaddle sack around them. Like with other types of swaddles, it's important to ensure that there isn't loose fabric, especially around your baby's face.
The ideal time to start swaddling is right after birth. That is why in the hospital, babies are covered or swaddled in a receiving blanket. A swaddle is basically your baby’s first bed. So, in choosing a baby swaddle, it is important to pick the right fabric – think of selecting the softest and most comfortable linen for your bed.
Muslin is the most common type of fabric used for baby swaddles. It is lightweight, very cool to the skin, and thin enough to avoid overheating. Stretch cotton is another popular choice among parents because it is very breathable; it is also the easiest fabric to wrap with and can be used all year round.
Meanwhile, when it comes to softness, bamboo is on top of the list. It is also antimicrobial and not abrasive to the skin. Bamboo is especially recommended for babies with sensitive skin and is prone to skin conditions such as eczema.
There's no best or recommended fabric for swaddles, but going for fabrics that are soft, breathable, and durable is always a good idea.
Be sure to check the TOG value as well. TOG or thermal overall grade is the unit of measurement to calculate the thermal insulation or how well the blanket keeps your baby warm.
To avoid overheating, choose a fabric with a TOG rating of 1.5 and below, such as cotton and muslin. Fabrics with higher TOG values like microfleece are more compatible with chilly seasons and climates.
In the tropical setting, a lower TOG value is better because we don't want our babies to overheat. The baby could be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and rapid breathing. If you notice any of these in your baby, unswaddle them right away.
Another important factor to consider is the size of the swaddle. Most brands will indicate the corresponding size based on your baby’s age, weight, and height. This will make it easy for you to decide which swaddle will fit your newborn perfectly.
Some swaddles are one-size-fits-all. This is recommended if you’re planning to swaddle for a short period only because babies size up very quickly. Your baby may outgrow the swaddle within weeks of using it.
The swaddle must fit your baby well enough that there isn't any loose fabric, especially around the head area. Loose fabric, including that from a swaddling blanket, can cover your baby's face and increase the risk of suffocation. The swaddle should also not be too tight to compress the baby's limbs too much, as this can be harmful to their development.
Some baby swaddles have extra features to make your newborn routine much easier. For example, look for quick-access areas for nappy changes. This will avoid the chore of unwrapping your baby when you need to change the diaper. More often than not, this disturbs their sleep in the middle of the night.
Other useful add-ons are adjustable armholes. Some babies do not enjoy being snugged completely. A good compromise is finding a baby swaddle with snaps in the armhole area. If your baby is old enough for the transition or “arms out” position—you can simply adjust the snaps instead of buying a new sleep sack.
When looking at adjustable features in a swaddle, always check to ensure they can be securely fastened. If your baby can wiggle their arms out of the swaddle, there's a risk for suffocation. It's always a good idea to try the swaddle before buying to make sure the swaddle is a good fit for your baby. And it's always a great idea (if not a must) to supervise your baby when they are swaddled, especially as they become more active/mobile.
Love to Dream
The Project Baby
Love to Dream
SwaddleMe Original Swaddle
Muslin Swaddle Blanket
Swaddle Up Transition Bag
Cocoon Swaddle Bag
Adjustable Swaddle That Can Be Used Three Ways
The Swaddle for a More Natural Arm Position
A No-Fuss Swaddle for All Sizes
The First and Original Pouch Swaddle That's Great for Parents Who Have Difficulty Swaddling
Great if You Want a Versatile and Multi-Use Swaddle
For Those Looking for the Best Transition Swaddle Sack
The Best Zipper Swaddle—Great for New Parents
Mommy and Baby Twinning Set if You Want to Match Outfits
The Legs Free Swaddle for Warm-Weather Days
The Classic White Swaddle Blanket for All Kinds of Weather
|Price Starts at||₱1,550||₱1,599||₱1,500||₱2,299.75||₱500||₱1,699||₱1,380||₱2,996||₱899.75||₱717|
|Type||Swaddle Sack With Velcro and Zipper||Zipper swaddle||Wrap swaddle||Winged Velcro swaddle||Swaddle blanket||Swaddle sack||Zipper swaddle||Swaddle blanket||Winged Velcro swaddle||Swaddle blanket|
|Fabric||100% USA Cotton (TOG 1.5)||97% Cotton and 3% Elastane (TOG 0.2)||100% Cotton||100% Cotton (TOG 0.5)||100% Cotton||93% Cotton and 3% Elastane (TOG 1.0)||95% Organic Cotton and 5% Elastane (TOG 0.2)||95% Bamboo and 5% Spandex||100% Cotton||100% Cotton|
|Size Options||Newborn and Small||Newborn (5-8.5lbs), Small (8-13lbs) and Medium (13-19lbs)||One size fits all||0-3 months (7-14lbs) and 4-6 months (14-20lbs)||110 x 110 cm||Medium (13-19lbs) and Large (19-24lbs)||0-3 months (3-7 kilos), 2-6 months (up to 8 kilos) and 3-12 months (up to 10 kilos)||100 x 100 cm||Small||110 x 110 cm|
|Extra Features||Unzips From the Bottom for Easy Nappy Changing||Twin zipper and a snug fit around the waist||Swaddles the arms separately||Harness slit for bouncers and swings||Variety of prints designed in Australia||Zip-off wings||Poppers (snaps) in the armholes for an arms free position||Matching newborn romper and mommy robe||Legs free design||Suitable for all kinds of weather|
The products we introduce below were carefully curated by the mybest team, from the best-sellers of E-commerce sites like Lazada, and using the points mentioned in our detailed and thoroughly researched buying guide.
Disclaimer: These products are recommendations made by our team at mybest Philippines. Our expert, Dr. Joey Cuayo-Estanislao, is not affiliated with, nor is she endorsing any of the brands we mention below.
**Prices may vary depending on the website and their campaign period**
|Type||Swaddle Sack With Velcro and Zipper|
|Fabric||100% USA Cotton (TOG 1.5)|
|Size Options||Newborn and Small|
|Extra Features||Unzips From the Bottom for Easy Nappy Changing|
|Fabric||97% Cotton and 3% Elastane (TOG 0.2)|
|Size Options||Newborn (5-8.5lbs), Small (8-13lbs) and Medium (13-19lbs)|
|Extra Features||Twin zipper and a snug fit around the waist|
|Size Options||One size fits all|
|Extra Features||Swaddles the arms separately|
|Type||Winged Velcro swaddle|
|Fabric||100% Cotton (TOG 0.5)|
|Size Options||0-3 months (7-14lbs) and 4-6 months (14-20lbs)|
|Extra Features||Harness slit for bouncers and swings|
|Size Options||110 x 110 cm|
|Extra Features||Variety of prints designed in Australia|
|Fabric||93% Cotton and 3% Elastane (TOG 1.0)|
|Size Options||Medium (13-19lbs) and Large (19-24lbs)|
|Extra Features||Zip-off wings|
|Fabric||95% Organic Cotton and 5% Elastane (TOG 0.2)|
|Size Options||0-3 months (3-7 kilos), 2-6 months (up to 8 kilos) and 3-12 months (up to 10 kilos)|
|Extra Features||Poppers (snaps) in the armholes for an arms free position|
|Fabric||95% Bamboo and 5% Spandex|
|Size Options||100 x 100 cm|
|Extra Features||Matching newborn romper and mommy robe|
|Type||Winged Velcro swaddle|
|Extra Features||Legs free design|
|Size Options||110 x 110 cm|
|Extra Features||Suitable for all kinds of weather|
In the YouTube video above by BabyCenter, you can learn 3 simple techniques in wrapping your newborn baby using a swaddle blanket.
For me, the most important things to look at once your baby is swaddled is that they are:
One benefit of having the hands out position is that it allows them to self-soothe by having their hands close enough to touch their face. Be sure to use mittens, as a baby's nails can get quite long and be surprisingly sharp, so they can be prone to scratching themselves. However, when using the hands out position, do ensure that the swaddle is secure enough that they cannot squirm their arms out of the swaddle.
There are different ways to swaddle your baby, and, in general, ensuring a snug swaddle without going too tight (which can compress the chest and/or hurt the hips) is essential. Try and practice the different swaddling techniques to see which one works best for you and your baby.
If you still have questions on your mind regarding swaddling and the proper way to do it, let Doc Joey share some of her expertise as she answers some of the most asked questions on the web.
The risks of swaddling outweigh the benefits once a baby starts to show signs of trying to roll over. Even babies as young as eight weeks old can use their upper bodies and heads to shift their position and roll onto their stomachs even while snugly swaddled. If you notice your baby already attempting to roll about in their swaddle, it's time to retire the swaddle.
Yes, you read that's right! You need to stop swaddling once your baby is already learning to roll over, even if they can't quite do it yet. Swaddled infants who are lying prone (or belly down) are at twelve times the risk for sudden infant death syndrome and sudden unexpected infant death as an unswaddled infant in the same position.
When swaddling our little ones, it's important to check how they are positioned: they should always, always, always be supine or on their backs, and their bodies should not be bent or stretched unnaturally. A swaddle that is too tight can restrict breathing, but one that is too loose may unravel and put the baby at risk of asphyxiation.
Swaddling should be just snug enough around the chest (but loose enough to easily fit two or three fingers between your baby and the swaddle) and should have ample room at the hips and knees to avoid hip dysplasia.
In order for swaddling to allow healthy hip development, the legs should be able to bend up and out at the hips. This position allows for the natural development of the hip joints. The baby’s legs should not be tightly wrapped straight down and pressed together. Swaddling infants with the hips and knees in an extended position may increase the risk of hip dysplasia and dislocation.
It's important to clear your baby's sleeping space to ensure that there aren't other things around them that could cause suffocation. Their sleep environment should be a firm crib mattress that is free of loose bedding and soft objects, and they should not share a bed with anyone. Wedges, positioners, special mattresses, and specialized sleep surfaces have not been shown to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Your baby is also always safest in their own crib or bassinet, and not on your bed (swaddled or not). Be sure to regularly check that your baby is always lying on their back when sleeping. Once they start showing signs of trying to roll over to their side or their belly, it's time to graduate baby from swaddling.
Make sure that baby is not overheating. Sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and fast breathing are signs that the baby may be too hot, and they should be unswaddled. If this happens often, the fabric of your swaddle may be too thick/warm for your baby's environment, and you should consider more lightweight, breathable fabrics.
There is no recommendation on how often you should swaddle your baby. In general, you can swaddle your baby when they are going to sleep or being put down for a nap. You can also swaddle your baby when they are fussing, as being swaddled can help soothe your baby.
However, when they are awake, it's best to let them have free use of their limbs and body (with your close supervision always, of course!). Babies should also never be swaddled in the prone or belly-down position, as they could become at risk of suffocation.
New parents often learn how to swaddle their baby from the hospital staff before being discharged with their newborn. Swaddling is beneficial because a snuggly wrapped blanket can resemble a mother's womb and help soothe your baby. When done correctly and safely, Swaddling can be an effective technique to calm young infants and help promote sleep.
The fourth trimester or the first few months after giving birth is one of the most precious times between parents and their little one – babies do grow up so fast!
Enjoy this adjustment period by getting to know your baby and establishing routines that will work well for the whole family. Click the article links below to see our recommended products!
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, in collaboration with the expert featured in this article. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
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