Finding the perfect swaddle for your newborn will ensure a better night’s sleep for them – and you 🙂
Swaddles have been around for generations and for good reason! There are several different types to be aware of, however, while you’re out stocking your nursery. In this blog, we’ll discuss some swaddle basics, how-to’s and compare the different types of swaddles.
What is a swaddle?
A swaddle is basically fabric that you use to wrap your newborn baby with in order to limit free movement (mostly of the arms). It serves to mimic the womb, invoking a sense of calm in baby. It also helps reduce or prevent the “startle reflex” so that baby doesn’t wake themselves up during sleeping periods. A swaddle can be used at night, during naps, or anytime your baby is feeling agitated or needs to be consoled. Your child will outgrow their swaddle around 3-4 months, when they start to rollover. At this point, you can transition to a sleep sack – where arms are free but leg movement is still limited – to continue providing a safe (and longer!) sleeping experience.
When swaddling, it’s important to not wrap too tightly. Limiting natural movement of the hips/legs may increase your baby’s risk of developing hip dysplasia. Also, only one swaddle is necessary – use a thicker fabric in colder temperatures since doubling up may cause your baby to overheat. And lastly, never swaddle the face or head, and even though your baby might love being swaddled, make sure your child is getting plenty of time swaddle-free to help their little bodies develop.
What are the benefits of a swaddle?
A swaddle provides gentle binding to your newborn, which sounds crazy, but trust us – it will change your life. By mimicking the womb, your baby will be soothed and calmed. Benefits include:
- longer stretches of sleep
- less crying
- happier and calmer babies
- safer sleep by eliminating loose blankets
- may reduce risk of SIDS
- helps maintain “back is best” sleeping position
- promotes self-soothing
- prevents baby from scratching their faces
- reduces anxiety
Types of Swaddles
There are 3 major types of swaddles available.
Type 1: Traditional Blanket Swaddles
These swaddles are tried and true. Traditional blanket swaddles are large, soft, stretchy blankets or pieces of fabric that are used to wrap your newborn. They are not size specific so you don’t have to worry about baby outgrowing them. They come in a variety of fun prints and different fabrics, such as jersey, cotton, bamboo or muslin. A swaddled baby will feel secure and sleep better.
How to Swaddle a Newborn:
Fold your swaddle into a triangle and place baby in the center – with shoulders slightly below the folded edge.
Place your baby’s right arm (bent slightly) across their chest and wrap the right side of the swaddle across their body – tucking the edge under their body – leaving left arm free.
Bring up the bottom corner of the swaddle – tucking baby’s feet in – and tuck the “tail” in near their shoulder.
Place your baby’s left arm (bent slightly) across their chest and snugly pull the left side of the swaddle over their body – tucking it in under their back.
Type 2: Sleepsack Swaddles
Sleepsack swaddles provide the same comforting benefits as all swaddles but they are much more user friendly. You don’t need to worry about folding, wrapping or tucking a loose piece of fabric or blanket. I’ve come across many parents at Baby Logic that were overwhelmed with the thought of swaddling their baby in general, let alone with a blanket. These sacks make it easy, quick and super convenient. They typically feature zippers or velcro, but some – like the Miracle Blanket – are simply fabric that is sewn into a pouch and you wrap remaining fabric around baby. No need to reinvent the wheel! Another cool feature of the sleepsack swaddle is that many will have a two way zipper on the pouch for easy diaper changes at night.
There are many different types of sleepsack swaddles and I would highly recommend trying a few out to see which is best for your baby. The Embe swaddle offers the option to let the legs move freely. Some – like Nested Bean – are gently weighted across the chest and sides to mimic being held and boost sleep even more!
Type 3: Swaddle Pods
Swaddle pods are by far the easiest type of swaddle to use and are perfect for the itty bitty newborn stage. They are literally little “pods” or pouches that you put your newbie in and zip up to comfort your baby. As mentioned above, many different styles are available so trying several out to see which works best is highly recommended. And trust us, it will be worth it!
Some pods allow your baby to sleep with their hands up – yet contained – for those who want to raise the roof! Others – like Nested Bean – are gently weighted to increase comfort and further promote self soothing. If you are using the Nanit monitoring system, their new pod features a sensor-free breathing monitoring band that allows you to track your baby’s breathing pattern from an app on your phone for added peace of mind!
We LOVE chatting baby gear – here are a few other blog topics that may be helpful to you as your embrace your parenting journey!
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