As parents, we all have the same hope for our new baby as we venture home from the hospital; please, for the love of everything that is holy… let this one be a sleeper! Tucking a baby in with one of the many beautiful baby blankets you received as gifts from friends and family is a definite hazard, as it may cause suffocation and increase the risk of SIDS. Lucky for all of us, there are many safe options to keep our little ones warm and cozy as they drift off to sleep. Swaddles have been around for ages, but as time goes by and innovation increases, do we end up with a better product? Or are the old methods of finding a large blanket and wrapping your baby up like a delicious burrito just as good?
We spent the first three months—from the hospital to home—testing many different types of swaddles and blankets to find out what works best today. Many swaddles use Velcro to fasten, which is usually a great method—unless you have a light sleeper on your hands and are hoping to do a low key diaper change, then suddenly you realize that the peeling apart of fabric can sound like a bullhorn in the middle of a silent night. In our experience, the best swaddle was the most secure: Happiest Baby(available at Amazon for $25.95) makes a swaddle that is tight, easy to get on and off your baby, easy to change a diaper in, and just great all around. Several other swaddles like the SwaddleMe by Summer Infant (available at Amazon), Woombie (available at Amazon), and Nested Bean (available at Amazon) also proved to be pretty great, while others missed the mark.
Here are the best swaddles we tested ranked, in order.
Happiest Baby Sleepea Swaddle
Summer Infant 2-in-1 SwaddleMe
Woombie Original Air
Aden & Anais Blankets
Nested Bean Zen Swaddle Classic
Halo Micro-fleece SleepSack Swaddle
Love to Dream Swaddle Up Original
Miracle Blanket Swaddle
SwaddleDesigns Muslin Swaddle
Woombie Grow with Me
Halo Cotton SleepSack Swaddle
Halo SleepSack Swaddle with Teethers
Embé Two Way Swaddle
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Happiest Baby Sleepea 5-Second Baby Swaddle
SwaddleMe Natural Position 2-in-1 Swaddle with Easy Change
This 100% organic cotton swaddle boasts itself as the world’s first 5-second swaddle. With its double zipper that can open from top or bottom, inner arm wrap with extra-quiet Velcro, and breathable mesh at the shoulders and waist to reduce over heating, this swaddle was the number one winner for our summer baby. The Happiest Baby swaddle is made by the same people who have created the SNOO smart sleeper. And while I didn’t have the bassinet to test out, the swaddle itself was a definite game changer. With our little one having several dirty diapers in the night during those first few weeks home, this swaddle allowed for easy diaper checks and changes. Even though our son would scream as we secured his arms down, he would settle almost by the time the zipper was up.
Having signed up to test all of these swaddles on my newborn became a bit tricky after trying the Happiest Baby Sleepea. My three-week-old son slept so soundly in this swaddle that I was reluctant to switch it up. Once you find the magic combination—which for us was the Happiest Baby Swaddle and the DockATot co-sleeper—it’s hard to press on and continue to test. Some of the swaddles that followed this winner may have been fine if I hadn’t experienced the ease of this one, but it was a hard act to follow.
SwaddleMe Natural Position 2-in-1 Swaddle with Easy Change
Like the winning swaddle, the SwaddleMe 2-in-1 from Summer Infant is nice and secure and does a good job of preventing the startle reflex that will wake your baby. This swaddle is slightly more versatile in that you can swaddle your little one with their arms over their chest or by their sides. My strong baby would start with his hands by his sides, but work them up towards his chest as the night went on, however he did stay asleep through the arm migration, which is why this swaddle ranked high. That, and the material is soft and durable, the designs are cute, and for the price of two for $24.99 on Amazon, this swaddle is a really solid purchase to have in your sleep arsenal.
One tip for this swaddle—and really any swaddle with Velcro—is to make sure to secure it down before washing, otherwise you may find some undergarment casualties as you unload your dryer. Another reason I liked these swaddles so much is that they have a laundry fold over, so you can fasten the sticky part closed but still wash the swaddle fully opened.
Hi, I’m Ilana Cohn. I’m a writer and performer living in Los Angeles, and I used to run a podcast called, “Yer Mama.” I love reading about the latest baby gear and sharing my opinion, so I was excited to have the opportunity to review products that are helping me with baby number two, starting from day one. As a second time mom I had a much better handle on what to expect in those first months home from the hospital. Products are constantly changing and improving and it’s so exciting for me to see what is out there and try it all—so you don’t have to. The days can be long and the nights longer, so it was fun having this little swaddle experiment to keep my mind occupied during those late night feedings; watching Queer Eye on my phone also helped.
Over the course of the first three months of our baby boy’s life, we tried out many different swaddles. We would test each swaddle through at least two sleeps and we revisited each a month later. I wrote down the results as they were happening, because as anyone who has a newborn knows, those first few months are a whirlwind of feed, burp, change, sleep (hopefully) and repeat. We wanted to find the best swaddle and to do so we looked at the fabric quality, ease of use, special features, storage, fit, comfort, ease of wrapping and adjustability, ability to change a diaper and overall experience.
What to Consider When Buying Swaddles
Swaddles Help Everyone Get More Sleep
The purpose of swaddling your baby during sleep is not only to help keep them safe, but it should help them sleep better as well. The swaddle should immobilize your baby’s arms to prevent the “Moro” or startle reflex.
Cost Per Wear
Prices can really vary especially when you take into account whether the swaddle is adjustable and capable of lasting a long time, or if you’ll have to get a new one every month. Unfortunately the best swaddles for little ones seem to be the most fitted, meaning you do have to upgrade as your baby grows, but if finances are tight, getting your baby used to a swaddle that will last a longer time shouldn’t be too difficult.
Where You Live
It's also a good idea to consider if the swaddle material is appropriate for your climate, and whether or not it's easy to store if you’re in a smaller space and trying to keep the baby gear to a minimum.
You'll Need More Than One
Newborns spit-up—and poop through their night diapers—often. You'll very likely be faced with having to change your baby's swaddle several times a night. Don't put yourself in the position of being without a clean swaddle when you're most desperate for sleep. Once you find one that works for you, invest in at least three of them so that you'll always have a clean one on hand.
Other Swaddles We Tested
This tight, simple swaddle is a great option. The fabric is lightweight and breathable, but very snug, so your new little baby feels totally secure. The zipper opens from the top and bottom allowing for easy diaper changing. For some friends of mine, this swaddle took them from infancy all the way to four months. My baby seemed to really like it when he first arrived, but as he got stronger this swaddle seemed to frustrate him as he desperately tried to fight his hands out of the collar.
Many nurses and sleep consultants need nothing more than a cozy blanket to get your baby to sleep, but if your burrito wrapping skills are lacking, this can be a dangerous choice for your little one for sleep. However, I love these blankets, and as someone with a very spitty baby, you will rarely find me without one of these beautiful, soft, durable blankets over my shoulder. These versatile blankets are made of muslin cotton and extremely soft. I did test them as a swaddle blanket and eventually got pretty good at getting my son wrapped nice and tight. He could still often fight his hands out of there by the end of the night when he was nearing two months, but if you have a less busy baby, this may not be the case. My overall thought is that everyone should have a couple of these blankets whether or not they’re used for sleeping.
This swaddle had me a little skeptical in the beginning, but I came around to really liking it, and so did my baby. The Nested Bean claims to have your baby sleeping better in three days. How? They say by adding the weighted pressure pads, which range from 1oz. to 5 oz., the “cuddle effect” is triggered and your baby will feel comforted. I’m not exactly sure of the science behind this, but the material of the swaddle is soft, and the design is cute and my baby slept pretty well in it, so I called it a win. The reviews on Amazon are mixed, it seems some people think they received dupes that were not good quality, while other people were scared that the weight could be harmful to a newborn. With my almost 10-pound newborn, I was not as concerned about the minimal pressure on his chest, but it may be worth checking with a pediatrician before using this product, especially if your baby is on the smaller end.
One downside to this swaddle was that there is no real way to change the baby without taking the whole thing off. Hopefully, their next model will have a zipper around the edge so you can do a check without removing the whole thing. Nested Bean also makes pajamas and a sleep sack, which we’ve really enjoyed, all of which have the same pressure pads on the chest.
This is a great swaddle, especially if you live in Alaska. In the first couple of weeks while I was testing all the different swaddles, I had a pile of them close to my head, and I will say that I have first-hand evidence that this swaddle is secure, as the Velcro got caught in my hair and I had to rip it out. I thought, “no baby could escape this!” This fleece number was too warm for our LA baby and I had to take him out of it in the middle of the night when I realized he was all sweaty. However, this is ranked high on my list because when we took our family up to Yosemite for our annual camping trip and faced the 40 degree nights with our almost two-month-old, he slept the best he’s ever slept in this heavy duty swaddle. At one point I woke him to make sure he was breathing. Nothing like some fresh air to get a good night’s sleep. Heck, I’m tempted to throw a tent in the yard right about now.
If you have a baby who likes to have their arms up, this is the only swaddle you will need. In the beginning this one didn’t work well for us, however, now that we’re in month three, and our baby has taken up a boxing position, this swaddle is inching it’s way up our favorites list. The material is soft with a little stretch, and allows for legs splayed, hip-friendly positioning. This swaddle also has a zipper at the top and bottom, allowing for easy diaper checks.
This swaddle truly was a miracle with my first child, it was the one swaddle that got her to sleep. My son was a little more flexible and responded well to many, the Miracle Blanket included. This simple design has flaps to hold down baby’s arms but can go across the chest once baby is ready for arms free swaddling. The material is soft cotton and the long panel is easy to wrap around your baby for a nice tight hold. The major downside of this miracle is you need to unwrap your baby in order to change their diaper, which typically ends with a woken baby.
As I mentioned earlier, I love a muslin blanket, and Swaddle Designs makes great muslin swaddle blankets, but design wise and size, it did not compete with the Aden & Anais blankets we received for testing. The Swaddle Designs blanket was just a bit smaller, 42” vs 46”, which made wrapping my extra large newborn a little more difficult. This blanket has been put to use in many other ways; as a burp cloth, an impromptu changing blanket, a nursing cover-up, and even a sun shade on occasion, when I’ve forgotten to bring along a hat for my little one. These blankets are versatile and great to have.
This swaddle was one of my favorite looking swaddles with its cute llama pattern, called “no drama llama.” Although overall for us, there was a touch of drama and it wasn’t one of the initial favorites. This swaddle does fulfill its claim to “grow with your baby,” converting from 0-3 months to 3-6 months with a simple unzip and then again into a sleep sack with buttons that allow for baby’s arms to be set free. However, during the newborn stage, the material wasn’t particularly soft, and the extra material that allowed for the swaddle to open made it cumbersome and uncomfortable. The fabric sort of bunches up inside and seemed to be a little irritating to our baby.
This 100% cotton swaddle was a lifesaver with my first child, but this time around it really did not work for us. I think it was a combination of being a bit too warm and the insanely loud Velcro that made it miss the mark. What I do like about this swaddle is that it is a 3-way adjustable swaddle that adjusts to your baby’s sleep style. You can swaddle arms in, hands up by their face for self-soothing, or one or both arms free.
This swaddle was designed for infants who resist arms-down swaddling and prefer arms up. Up where the baby’s hands are they have added built-in soft silicone teethers, that are non-toxic and BPA free. My baby was not into it, and he’s not alone. On Amazon a whopping 24% of users gave it a 1-star rating—usually the sign of a product with serious issues. I found it to be too tight around his chest, and the teethers were positioned at an angle that made it difficult for our baby to get them into his mouth. Like Rachael on Amazon, I also “wish this was executed better because it’s a great idea in theory.”
After reading the reviews on Amazon, I think I may have just been too deep into my sleep deprivation to work this swaddle out. I was trying to figure out the legs out option but just couldn’t get it to work. The material was nice, but the buttons were a little tricky and the zipper didn’t seem to be that high quality. For me, and for the price, this one just missed the mark. `
Ilana Cohn created the show Overdue for AwesomnessTV, where she worked as the showrunner and directed an episode of the series. Ilana also created the series 4th Period Lunch for Mondo Media, Jingle Hit Factory for Nickelodeon, Embarrassing Mom for Disney and the Delores DiGagorio Series for Fremantle Media, for which she won a Webbie Award. Acting wise, Ilana was recently on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, she's in the cult film Detention, and has done voices on Comedy Central's South Park. She is a mother of two and works in Los Angeles as a writer, director and stand-up comedian.
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