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.