Best Baby Swaddles for 2021

What is Swaddling?

The best baby swaddle will help your baby feel safe, warm, and secure and therefore, they will be much more likely to sleep well. Swaddling is a practice that has been used for years to help babies sleep more soundly. Here we will review the best swaddles for 2021. 

The reason for swaddling your baby is that it helps reduce the startle (moro) reflex which is an involuntary response to being startled by anything from a sudden noise to no reason at all. The best swaddles wrap your baby securely from the neck down so that their arms and legs are tucked in tightly.  This imitates what it is like in the womb for the baby with little to no room to move around. As this is what your baby is used to, it helps them to feel more secure.

The startle reflex usually disappears by 3-6 months but it is important to note that once your baby starts rolling, they need to have their arms free in order to stay safe.

What types of Swaddles are there?

Like with most products, there are different types of swaddles available and you may find that some work for your baby better than others. There are two main types of swaddles.

  • Traditional blanket swaddles – These are simply large blankets or muslins that you can wrap your baby in using a swaddling technique. The advantage of this is that you can re-purpose this once you no longer need to swaddle your baby. Make sure your child is swaddled securely so they can’t roll, nor can the blanket become loose and create a suffocation risk.
  • Swaddling sacks – These are handy for parents who don’t feel confident with the swaddling technique, or who have a Houdini that can escape even the tightest swaddle. These types use velcro, snaps, and zippers to help secure your baby.

Here are our top picks  for best baby swaddles in 2021

Popular Choice – Halo Sleepsack Swaddle

This swaddle is a popular choice among new parents as it is so versatile. This 3 way swaddle can be used with arms in to prevent the startle reflex, hands out for self soothing, with one or two arms out for transitioning out of a swaddle.

The Halo Sleepsack is approved by the International Hip Dysplasia Institue as “hip healthy” as it is looser around the legs.

The Halo is an easy to use option for a swaddle with a an inverted zipper for easy diaper changes and adjustable fasteners for a snug fit.

One thing a few parents mention about this is that the velcro is rather loud which can wake a sleepy baby.

This easy to use swaddle is loved by parents for its simple design. A single zip up the front and you are all done, no wrapping extra layers or loud velcro. 

As many babies love to sleep with their arms up by their head rather than by their side or on their chest, this design is perfect. A lot of infants like to suck on their fist which they can do through the fabric and therefore offer themselves comfort while drifting off to sleep. 

The two way zipper allows for easy diaper changes and the design is approved by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute for healthy hips.

The Love to Dream swaddle is available with zippered wings for transitioning to hands out as it should be noted that once your baby starts to roll they need their hands free.

While this swaddle mostly receives praise from parents, some note that the neck hole is too small.

As this swaddle has no zips or velcro, it can be adjusted to the size of your baby easily. It is a pouch with long wings that you place your baby in and then wrap the wings around to suit your child. It can take some getting used to fitting it securely but once mastered, should be easy to use. You can wrap your baby with arms up or down.

It is 100% cotton so should feel soft and cosy next to your baby’s skin.

The main downside to this swaddle is that you need to remove the whole thing for night time diaper changes.


This swaddle is great if you want one that you can use as your baby grows. It grows into 3 multi-sized swaddle variations and then evolves into a large or extra large arms free bag. Therefore there is no need to buy new swaddles as your baby grows.

The great thing about this one is it was designed by a nursing team and encourages back sleeping. The stretchy but snug fit moves with the baby, recreating the feeling of the womb. It also simulates the feeling being held, touched and cuddled. This is sure to encourage restful sleeping for your baby.

The fabric promotes gentle air flow and it is hip and shoulder friendly. While some babies will love the stretchy fabric that allows them to move, it may not suit all babies.


As this swaddle comes in a pack of three, it makes it an affordable option. Having a spare or two can be a lifesaver if your baby is prone to reflux. Or any other multitude of reasons why you may suddenly need a spare during the night!

Parents love that it is easy to use, just pop baby in the pouch and fold over the arms. The downside of this it that you need to undo it for middle of the night diaper changes. It is also not able to grow with your baby, you will need to buy the next stage once your baby starts rolling.

As these swaddles are just a square of muslin, they can be used as swaddles or for many other purposes. As a blanket, burping cloth, nursing blanket, or playmat. This means that you will be able to use them long after your baby no longer needs swaddled.

This kind of swaddle is good for people who know how to swaddle using just a piece of fabric but may not be so good if you don’t have the art of swaddling down pat. If you have a particularly wriggly baby then it may not work for you as they are more likely to wriggle out. 

If you love Aden and Anais but find these too difficult to use, they also offer a wrap swaddle and a snug swaddle.

Why is Sleep Important for Babies Development?

We all know that babies sleep a lot but why is it so important for their development that they get enough sleep?

The transition out into the world is an exhausting and overwhelming one for babies. They are in a period of rapid growth and development, particularly their brains, and sleep is when most of this development occurs. Children’s bodies produce growth hormones when they are asleep and as anyone who has a newborn knows, they are growing rapidly at this stage of life. Your babies brain will double in size during the first year of their life and most of that growth will occur while they are asleep.

Why Sleep is Important for babies Development

Babies need 14-18 hours of sleep a day depending on their age.  As mentioned before, most of the babies brain development happens while they are asleep.  This is when the connections between the left and right hemispheres of their brains are being formed. Brain synapses are being formed during sleep, more than a million neural connections are formed per second during the first 3 years! Memories are formed and stored during sleep. It also helps boost immunity. Therefore sleep is so important for babies development.

About Sleep Cycles

Everyone cycles through different types of sleep during the night and also during naps. From about 6 months of age, a sleep cycle consists of REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM sleep.

In REM sleep your eyeballs flicker from side to side underneath your eyelids. This is also called dream sleep.

During Non REM sleep, you can either be in deep sleep or light sleep. 

The amount of REM sleep and Non REM sleep in a cycle changes through the night.

Read more about sleep cycles here.

How sleep cycles affect children’s sleep

Children have a lot of deep non-REM sleep in the first few hours after they fall asleep. That’s why children sleep so soundly in the first few hours after they’ve gone to bed and aren’t disturbed by anything.

Children have more REM sleep and light non-REM sleep in the second half of the night. Children wake more easily from these kinds of sleep, so they might wake up more during this time than at the beginning of the night.

In the early childhood years, sleep cycles get longer as children get older. In children aged three years, sleep cycles are about 60 minutes. By about five years, sleep cycles have matured to the adult length of about 90 minutes.

Sleep issues can arise when babies wake after a sleep cycle and are not able to settle straight into another.

How can I make sure my baby gets enough sleep?

If you’re worried your baby isn’t sleeping enough, don’t panic – they’re not in for a lifetime of developmental issues just because they’ve fought off a few naps or refuse bedtime.

It will take some time to figure out how your baby’s sleep cycle works. You can, however, start to instill some good sleep habits that will help them get enough rest from day one. Even though there might not be a set pattern or routine to your baby’s sleep immediately, you’ll probably notice the eat-sleep-play cycle. Try logging these activities to inform activity throughout the day.

You can also start with a pre-sleep routine. Once your baby’s sleep becomes less erratic and they have a more consistent bed time, this can become your bedtime routine.

If you are worried that your baby may not be getting enough sleep or isn’t sleeping all night, check out our article on how to help your baby to sleep all night.

How can I help my baby sleep through the night?

how do I get my baby to sleep through the night

As a mother of twins who took 3 years to start sleeping somewhat consistently through the night, I know the desperation parents feel when their baby does not sleep all night. I expected my twins to wake frequently as newborns, however I didn’t expect this to last for years! I needed to know how I could help my babies to sleep through the night! I learnt a lot in those 3 years.

For the first few months, a baby is considered to be sleeping through the night if they sleep for about 5-8 hours, not the 12 hours that most people think babies should sleep for. Sleeping is a skill that needs to be learned, like walking and talking. Most adults don’t sleep all night but the difference is that we have learnt to self-settle and go back to sleep without even realising we have woken.

Here are some tips to help your baby sleep through the night.

  • Establish a good night time routine. Having a bedtime routine from early on can encourage your baby to settle to sleep more quickly. It should be simple and easy to follow and kept the same each night so that your baby comes to know what signals bedtime. A bath, milk and stories are common elements of a bedtime routine.
  • Encourage your baby to learn to self soothe. This means that they learn to soothe themselves and rely less on you to soothe them. This doesn’t mean you have to suddenly leave them alone to cry it out, it may mean trying to settle them with your voice rather than with a feed or leaving them for a short period of time before you rush in to calm them. Sometimes they are just crying in their sleep and rushing in to soothe them actually wakes them up.
  • Start reducing the night feeds. Once your baby is old enough and is a healthy weight, they should be able to go for longer without needing a feed. There are a few different methods you can try to reduce night feedings.
    – A dream feed where you wake your baby before you go to bed for a feed with the idea being that they will then have a longer stretch before waking again and therefore giving you a chance for a longer stretch of sleep.
    – Reducing the amount of milk offered is another option until they no longer bother to wake for the feed.
    – Offering water instead.
    – Trying to settle back to sleep without offering a feed for the first wake of the night.
  • Keep things calm. Staying calm yourself will help your baby to stay calm, therefore allowing them to settle more easily. Making the room dark, and at a comfortable temperature can help your baby to stay asleep longer. A red light can be used for a child who doesn’t like the dark or so you can see when you go in to settle your baby. Babies can be quite sensitive to household noises so using white noise can help to reduce background noise. Find a range of white noise machines here.
  • Follow a schedule. Sticking to a schedule will help to ensure that your baby is not getting too much sleep during the day. Too much day sleep will mean they won’t sleep for as long during the night. Putting your baby to bed at the same time and in the same place each night can also help.
  • Make sure bed time is age appropriate. Putting your baby to bed later in the hopes they will wake later in the morning doesn’t always work. If you have a schedule then sticking to an appropriate bedtime will help keep your bub on track. By 3 months you should be able to establish a healthy bedtime to accompany your schedule.
  • Be Patient. Don’t expect your baby to suddenly start sleeping through the night. Once you start implementing some strategies to help it may take some time to see results. Also once your baby’s sleep does improve there may be times when you suffer set backs. Sleep regressions or growth spurts may mean that your once good sleeper is now waking frequently. Stay consistent and it should pass. If you still find yourself asking “HOw can I help my baby sleep through the night?” then you may want to seek help in the form of medical advice or from a sleep consultant.


10 Evidence-based Baby Sleep Tips for 2021

10 Evidence based sleep tips for 2021

baby sleep tips

Are you struggling with your baby’s sleep? You are not alone, many new parents find baby sleep habits baffling and struggle to get enough sleep themselves. Whether you have a newborn or an older baby that struggles to settle, the result is the same – sleep deprived parents! Our evidence based sleep tips can help.

Learning about the science of baby sleep can help. Once you understand the how, why and when of baby sleep, it will be easier to decide on the best strategy for your family.

Consider these evidence based baby sleep tips

  1. Help program your newborn’s “internal clock” by exposing your baby to cues about the 24 hour day.

Everyone, including babies, have circadian rhythms, or biological processes that cycle about once every 24 hours.

While these rhythms are like an internal clock, they don’t arrive pre-programmed. When they are born, babies internal clocks are not synchronised with the external, 24 hour cycle of daylight and darkness. Their world has been the same day and night while in utero and it takes some time for babies to sync with the outside world.

Luckily we don’t have to wait passively for that to happen. Babies depend on us for help with this just like everything else.

Studies show that babies adapt quicker when parents provide them with the right environmental cues about the time of day. (Custodio et al 2007; Lohr et al 1999; Tsai et al 2012)

Expose your baby to natural light during the day and involve your baby in the stimulating hustle and bustle of your daytime activities. New babies don’t necessarily need to sleep in a dark room to begin with. When evening falls, limit your babies exposure to artificial lighting as light is a signal that tells the brain to delay the onset of sleepiness at night.

2. When you need artificial light at night, use bulbs that block blue wavelengths.

Eliminating all sources of electric and electronic light at night probably makes it easier to sleep but this is not always an option. Sometimes you will need light during the night for example to change a diaper or check on an unsettled baby.

Luckily all wavelengths don’t have the same effect on the inner clock. White light has a disruptive effect on sleep patterns and young children are particularly sensitive to this.

The blue part of the spectrum in white light is responsible for much of the problem so if we can block this part we should minimise the negative effects of light exposure at night.

A low watt amber bulb or a red night light can protect your baby from blue wavelengths but still provide enough light to carry out night time care.

3. Help your baby get settled: Make the hour before bedtime a time of security, happiness and emotional reassurance.

Nobody sleeps well when they are anxious or irritated and babies are no different. Ensure that your baby feels safe, secure, happy and loved in the lead up to bedtime. Consider a bedtime routine that may involve such things as a bath, massage, milk, story. Whatever you choose, consistency is the key.

If you detect negative emotions in your baby, counter them with soothing and reassurance. Observational studies suggest this makes a difference. Parents who respond soothingly to their children’s emotions report fewer infant sleep problems, regardless of a family’s sleep arrangements. Whether children share a bedroom with their parents or not, they sleep better when their parents are sensitive and responsive (Teti et al 2010; Jian and Teti 2016).

4. Learn the art of stress-busting – for you and your baby.

Soothing an irritable or distressed baby can be difficult. If you feel this is an issue for you, this Parenting Science article provides more information on what stresses out babies and tips for keeping babies clam and emotionally healthy.

Caring for a baby can be stressful and exhausting, particularly when you are sleep-deprived, had childbirth trauma or struggling with a baby that cries excessively.

If you are struggling with your emotional state get yourself checked for postpartum depression and make your psychological health a priority. Postpartum depression and stress are very common so there is need to suffer privately. Your health is a priority in order to be able to look after your baby.

5. If your baby doesn’t seem sleepy at bedtime, don’t try to force it.

Trying to get a baby who isn’t tired to sleep can be stressful and make you irritated which will then upset your baby and you will end up with a viscous cycle. You don’t want your baby to associate bedtime with conflict as this can be a difficult lesson to unlearn.

Instead you could try the technique known as “positive routines and faded bedtime” as described here.

6. Watch out for long, late afternoon naps, and try to lengthen the awake time before bed.

If your baby doesn’t feel sleepy until late at night, the first thing to check is that your baby isn’t being exposed to artificial lighting before bedtime.

The next step is to analyse the timings of your baby’s naps. Naps are great for babies, but like us, late naps can postpone the drowsiness they would feel at bedtime.

Then see if you can stretch out the awake period at the end of the day.

7. Be mindful of television and other electronic media.

Night time use of electronic screens can cause issues as they emit sleep busting artificial light. However, daytime electronic media use may be problematic as well.

One study showed that for every additional 2.5 minutes that babies watched, it took them an extra 5 minutes to fall asleep at night. (Chonchaiya et al 2017)

8. Not getting enough sleep yourself?

You could try a tactic called “dream feeding” which may give you the opportunity to sleep for longer intervals at night. For mere information, including baby sleep tips on implementing dream feeds, see this evidence based article.

9. Don’t intervene too soon!

It is normal for people of all ages to experience many partial awakenings at night. Sleeping through the night doesn’t mean your baby doesn’t wake up, rather they are falling back to sleep quietly without waking their parents.

Young infants sleep very restlessly and often vocalise or open their eyes. It is easy as a new parent to make the mistake of waking a sleeping infant or intervene too fast when a baby experiences momentary wakefulness. This can then interfere with the development of mature sleep patterns which stops babies from learning to self settle.

10. During the night, be calm and gentle but avoid conversation and eye contact.

Night time feedings are unavoidable for small babies but there are things you can do to make them less disruptive. Be gentle, reassuring and very very boring.

As you are the most fascinating thing in your baby’s life, this can be difficult. Even quiet talk and eye contact can be exciting for your baby.

Brain imaging research confirms that eye contact triggers busy activity in a baby’s brain, especially the part of the brain that processes social interactions. (Urakawa et al 2015)

So in addition to keeping things as dark as possible, try to avoid conversation and eye contact during the night.

If you are still having major issues with your baby’s sleep you can consult a doctor or paediatrician for help to rule out any medical issues. 

Why Won’t My Baby Sleep?

I can say from experience that having a baby or two that just won’t sleep is one of the most soul destroying experiences of a new baby. It leaves you drained and exhausted the next day and makes it that much harder to be the best parent you can.

Sleep. No one in your home is likely getting much of it, especially during the first few months. And even once your baby is sleeping through the night, she can still develop sleep problems.

That’s why it’s helpful to know why babies don’t sleep. Here are some of the most common reasons your baby might not be sleeping at each stage during the first year, and solutions to help your restless little one get her Zzzs.

Sleep Problems 0 – 1 Months

Resisting sleeping on their back

Most babies feel more secure when sleeping on their tummy but due to the high risk of SIDS, this is not recommended. The safest way for baby to sleep is on their back. f your baby just won’t settle down on her back, talk to your pediatrician, who may want to check for any possible physical explanations. Much more likely is that your baby just doesn’t feel as secure on her back. If that’s the case, there are a few tricks that you can try, including swaddling your baby and rocking her to sleep. Just skip the sleep positioner, and stick with a consistent routine. Eventually, your baby will get used to sleeping on her back.

Mixing up Day and Night

If your baby is sleeping all day and partying all night it is likely that they are mixing up day time and night time. Your newborn’s nocturnal ways should correct themselves as she adjusts to life on the outside, but there are a few things you can do to help your baby separate day and night, including limiting daytime naps to three hours, and making clear distinctions between day and night (like keeping baby’s room dark when she naps and avoiding turning on the TV during nighttime feedings).

Sleep Problems 2-3 Months

By this age your baby sleep patterns should be more predictable. They should be having 3-4 naps during the day with longer stretches overnight. It is still quite normal for babies to wake for feeds at this age.

Sleep Regression

Some babies seem to go through every regression possible and others aren’t affected at all by regressions. The most common sleep regressions are at 3-4 months, 8-10 months and 12 months.

Sleep regressions are usually caused by your baby learning new skills and wanting to practice them rather than sleeping. Even though it may be tough, stick with your bedtime routine, or start one if you haven’t already. Make sure that your baby is getting enough sleep during the day so that they aren’t over tired at bedtime. Sleep regressions are temporary so once your baby gets used to their new skill, sleep patterns should return to normal.

Interrupted Sleep Due to Night Feeding

Most babies, particularly breastfed babies, still need to feed once or twice a night at this age. Any more than that is probably more than they need. You can now start to reduce this number by increasing the size of the bedtime feed, ensuring they eat enough during the day and trying to stretch out the night time feedings.

Teething Pain

While some babies don’t start teething until after their first birthday, others will get their first tooth at 2-3 months. If they are showing signs of teething, drooling, biting, fussiness, then pain at night may be causing sleep issues.

Teething rings, soothing with pats or songs can help. It is best not to pick your baby up if not necessary, instead giving comfort in the cot and encouraging baby to settle back to sleep. Pain relief medicine is an option but not a long term solution.

Sleep Problems 4-5 Months

As babies get older, they tend to nap less. If your baby seems happy with her changing schedule and sleeps well at night, embrace this milestone and carry on. But if your little one is napping less but fussing more, or having trouble going to bed at night, she may be overtired and in need of some nap time encouragement.  

 Try an abbreviated bedtime routine before each nap (some quiet music, a massage, or some storytelling) and be patient — it may simply take her longer to settle into a routine, but she’ll get there.

Sleep Problems 6 Months+

Not Falling Asleep on Their Own

Being able to self settle is a skill that babies need to learn. Everyone wakes up multiple times a night but adults and older children have learnt how to fall back to sleep on their own and link sleep cycles. If your baby is rocked, patted or fed to sleep then when they wake during the night, they will need this process repeated to fall back to sleep.

You need to put baby to bed sleepy but not asleep in order to learn how to self settle. If you haven’t already, then now can be a good time to introduce a sleep aid such as a cuddly toy or comforter.

Waking Early

If your baby is waking up early and staying awake, there are a few tactics you can try.

 If your baby is at least 6 months old, you can try to get her to sleep in later by adjusting her nap schedule, experimenting with different bedtimes, and making her room more light- and sound-proof.

Sleep Problems at Any Age

Disruptions in Routine

Things will come up that interfere with routine such as illness, holidays or mom returning to work.  Do what you can to soothe your baby through these transitions and return to your normal routine as soon as possible.

If you have tried everything under the sun to improve your childs sleep and they are still having frequent night wakings, it may be worth taking them to a doctor to be checked for any underlying health conditions that may be affecting their sleep. Sleep Apnea, constipation, low iron, reflux and allergies can all affect sleep.

Try one of our great sleep aids found on Best Sleep Aids here

How to Create a Good Night Time Routine

night time routine

Recent studies have shown that children sleep better if they have a regular good night time routine, which is best implemented when a baby is 6 to 8 weeks old.

The study conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine tested over 10,000 mothers from 14 countries. The age ranged from infants, to toddlers and children up to the age of 6. It was discovered that the children who had a consistent bedroom routine slept better than those who did not. They also didn’t wake up as much during the  night and slept for longer.

Getting your child into a sleep routine can seem like a difficult task, and isn’t always easy, but establishing a soothing and predictable pattern will help your child settle down much easier at bedtime. It will also help him to develope good sleep patterns as he gets older.

A good night time routine can have quite a few activities. The key is that you do similar activities in roughly the same way each night, starting around 20 minutes before your child’s bedtime.

Most bedtime routines include pre-bed tasks like having a bath and brushing teeth, as well as quiet, enjoyable activities like reading a book or listening to a story. The aim is to keep the atmosphere calm and positive, using positive attention and praise.

Where to Start?

Choose a bedtime, this is often between 7 and 8pm but can be earlier if you prefer. If  you’re dealing with settling problems, it’s best to start with the bedtime that’s closest to when your child naturally falls asleep. This increases the chance that the bedtime routine will become strongly linked to sleep time for your child. For example, if you find that your child finally falls asleep around 9 pm, start with this as a temporary bedtime.

About a week after you introduce the positive bedtime routine, you can start gradually making your child’s bedtime earlier.

This involves making bedtime about 15 minutes earlier every couple of days. You do this until you reach the ideal bedtime for your child.

Create a Restful Bedroom

Creating a sleep-friendly environment is a vital part of establishing a routine, so make sure the bedroom is set up to encourage snoozing. The room temperature shouldn’t be too hot or too cold, around 16-20°C. It should be quiet, too. If it’s a room that’s prone to noise from outside, or the rest of the house, try using a white noise machine.

Room darkening shades are also good, especially for daytime naps. The aim is to indicate it’s sleep time, so a dim light can help while getting ready for bed. When your baby nears bedtime his body will produce melatonin, the sleep hormone. A dim light helps encourage this and can ease him into bedtime slowly.

Simple Is Best

Start your good night time routine simply and build it up over time. A nice way to signal that it’s night-time and to start the bedtime routine is a bath. Afterwards, take your baby into the room where he sleeps, which should be warm, dimly lit and calm.  Then you might like to give him a massage, sing a lullaby, dress him for bed, and either swaddle him if he is under 3 months old or put him in a sleeping bag if he’s older, before you start feeding him.

Adding a book as the final stage of the routine from an early age has lots of advantages. Reading makes for great bonding time for mum and dad, and it’s part of the routine that can be developed as your baby gets older, so start with a simple age-appropriate book.  It also stops your baby developing an association with feeding and falling straight to sleep. You want to avoid this as much as possible, as a baby who needs certain conditions to fall asleep will need the same conditions to get back to sleep when he wakes during the night.

When your baby is around 6 weeks old, master the ‘drowsy drop-off’ by putting your baby down sleepy, but not asleep, so he gets used to settling in his cot. If you want to use a self-soothing technique, like the ‘cry it out’ method at about 5 to 6 months, then this can be incorporated into the bedtime routine after you have put your baby down for the night.

Cement the Routine

As your baby gets older your routine may change slightly, you may spend more time reading books or longer in the bath playing, but your routine should still retain the same elements so that it stays predictable.

A white noise machine can signal that it is time to go sleep. Find one here.