Your baby just spent the last 40 weeks curled up all snug and warm preparing for their world debut. You can imagine how overwhelming it might be to make that transition! You'll notice that even after they're born, when they have room to finally stretch out, they continue to stay most at ease tucked in tight against you. This is comforting for them and makes them feel safe. Using a swaddle can offer even more comfort to mimic your baby's time in the womb, especially when it's time to sleep. This is why we're telling you about one of our all-time favorite baby products: swaddles for your newborn in 2022!
Still not sure if swaddling is right for your little one? We'll start by talking about the benefits and safety of swaddling so you can make an informed decision, then we'll recommend our favorite swaddles for newborns.
Our top picks are:
The Dreamland Baby Weighted Swaddle Sack
Aden and Anais Cotton Muslin Swaddles
The Sleepea 5-Second Baby Swaddle
The Love to Dream Swaddle Up
The Halo Sleepsack Swaddle
The SwaddleMe Original Preemie
The Nanit Swaddle
Keep reading to find out why we love these models.
*content updated for 2022
Benefits and Safety of Swaddling
Nurses swaddling babies soon after birth is common practice, and let me tell you, they are pros at it! What was so amazing is how quickly I saw the calm come over my sweet newborn when those nurses wrapped her up so perfectly. I knew immediately that swaddling was going to be a trick I'd need to perfect myself.
But with my first baby I never seemed to be able to get the tight and secure fit with a blanket like they could even with their clear tutorial. I gave it my best try, but I was thankful to have other easier options available so I could continue to swaddle my baby once we were home. I ended up swaddling all of my babies in their early months and I couldn't imagine parenting without it! There are so many advantages to doing so.
Here are the benefits of using a swaddle:
- It offers security to a new baby which reduces their anxiety
- Most babies fall asleep more easily and sleep better than babies who aren't swaddled
- It reduces wake-ups from the startle reflex (also known as the Moro reflex), which we talk about more here
- Eases the transition from womb to the outside world
- Reduces colic and crying - it's one of the 5 S's of Dr. Harvey Karp's method for soothing and calming babies which you can read more about in The "Happiest Baby on the Block."
- Eliminates the need for other unsafe comfort items such as blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals
Most babies will love being swaddled and the obvious calming effect will be obvious. And just because your baby escapes a blanket swaddle doesn't necessarily mean they don't like being swaddled (it's normal for babies to move and you may just not have perfected the technique yet). However, is it possible you may end up with a little one who just seems to dislike it? Of course. But as a new parent wanting some peace and rest, I would strongly recommend you give it a shot!
So let's talk about safety next because we know that matters to you more than anything.
Though the American Academy of Pediatrics hasn't taken a firm stance one way or another on swaddling, it's not mentioned as something that you shouldn't do with your baby. Like I said, it's being performed in hospitals around the world, so it's something that's widely held as a safe practice for babies. The advisements given by the AAP for safe sleep can be done with a swaddle and those include:
- always putting baby to down on their back to sleep
- removing a swaddle before a baby learns to roll over (around 3 months of age but could be sooner)
- keeping the crib free of any loose bedding items
- no bed-sharing
Additionally, you'll want to follow certain techniques to keep your baby comfortable and growing well. This includes keeping your baby's arms down straight at their sides before tightening the swaddle over their chest as well as ensuring that there is enough freedom for babies hips and legs to move around.
Each of the swaddles we've highlighted follows the guidelines for safe sleep practices and will offer many benefits when you use one of them. The biggest benefit we see is more sleep for everyone!
Best Swaddles for Newborns
Here are our top 7 swaddles for newborns for 2022. We know every baby is different, which is why each of these on our list is unique from the others in hopes you can find the perfect match for what helps your sweet babe sleep best.
*Best Overall Swaddle: Dreamland Baby Weighted Swaddle Sack*
Our top overall pick goes to Dreamland Baby's Weighted Swaddle Sack. You are so lucky to have this swaddle available to you while your kids are tiny - I can't tell you how much I wish it was around when my babies were born. So what makes it so great?
We know you've heard of weighted blankets and the benefits they offer both adults and children. Now even brand new babies can have those same benefits with a safe weighted swaddle. Even better is that this is a transitional swaddle - meaning that when your baby starts showing signs of rolling over you'll simply remove the swaddle wing to reveal a weighted wearable blanket to ensure safe sleep. Swaddles themselves are amazing at helping calm and relax babies, and the gentle weighting provided by Dreamland Baby increases the calming effect for our newest additions. You can expect:
- Because of the gentle hug-like feeling, your baby will be better able to self-soothe
- Decreased stress in your little one which helps them relax
You definitely can't go wrong with Weighted Sack Swaddle from Dreamland Baby.
Best Swaddle Blanket: Aden and Anais
Earlier I mentioned how I had a really hard time getting the swaddle technique down like the amazing nurses could do. The thing is, the blankets that the hospital uses are quite a bit thicker than a muslin blanket, and the receiving blankets I tried to swaddle my first with were very similar. If you want to swaddle on your own with a blanket, the best way to go is to get muslin swaddle blankets from Aden and Anais. The prints are absolutely adorable which makes it very hard to choose! Though swaddling with a blanket takes more time it's definitely doable if you get the hang of it. Even if you don't use these blankets for swaddling, they are great for many other uses!
Best Swaddle for "Escape Artists": Sleepea 5-Second Baby Swaddle
If you have a little Houdini baby who seems to get out of any swaddle you put him in (I've been there!) you may want to try the Sleepea Swaddle. What makes this one different is that the swaddle wrap is actually on the inside, and then you'll zip up the outside to complete the secure fit. According to their website, it allows for "escape-proof security!" Other features include the breathable mesh at the shoulders and waist, as well as arm snaps that can be unsnapped for babies who prefer to sleep with their arms out.
Best for Arms Up Sleepers: Love to Dream Swaddle Up
You may find from the get-go that your baby prefers to sleep with their arms up. According to Love to Dream, this is a natural position for a baby because they often like to self-soothe by touching their face and sucking on their hands. If you have a baby who is escaping other swaddles or doesn't seem comfortable in a traditional swaddle position, this would be a great option. And even though you'll note the difference immediately with the arms of the sack sewn upwards, this swaddle is still snug around the chest area like other swaddles (though there is no extra tightening required).
Best Transitional Sleep Sack: Halo SleepSack Swaddle
Though we love the Dreamland Baby because of it's easy transition to a wearable blanket as well as the additional comforting weighted feature, the Halo SleepSack comes in a close second. In fact, the two can easily be used interchangeably because the design is similar in that it's a roomy sack with a swaddle wing that can be worn 3 different ways. Depending on how your baby sleeps best, you can swaddle arms in, arms out or just one arm out. If your baby loves the tightness around their chest, you can even continue this practice once they're rolling over as long you keep their arms out. These even come in a warmer fleece option if you're swaddling your litte one through the warmer months.
Best for Preemies: SwaddleMe Original Preemie
You'll find that many of the other swaddles on our list can't safely be used until a baby is 7-8 pounds in weight. That means that if you have a prematurely born baby, you need to be extra careful to choose a swaddle designed especially for preemies. The SwaddleMe option is perfect for the little babies until they're big enough for some of the other swaddles mentioned on our list (or you can size up in the SwaddleMe, as well). The velcro tabs make is so easy to get a secure and comfortable fit for your baby. There is also a leg pouch that makes diaper checks and changing even without taking the swaddle off of your baby.
Best for Breathing Tracking: Nanit Swaddle
Isn't it amazing what technology allows us to be able to do these days? The swaddle from Nanit works exclusively with the Nanit plus nursery camera which allows you to track your baby's breathing. Unlike other mechanisms that provide similar tracking, this requires no sensors on the body or in your baby's crib. Instead, the design on the swaddle is able to track any subtle movements from your baby and will immediately alert you if necessary. Not only can your baby be swaddled for sound sleep, but you can also have the peace of mind that your baby is sleeping safely through the night.
Swaddling for Newborns FAQ's
Is it OK to swaddle a newborn all night?
Newborns can be swaddled anywhere from 12-20 hours a day but when she reaches one month, it’s a good idea to only use the swaddle for sleep.
Is swaddling good for a newborn?
It is! That’s because swaddling is meant to mimic life inside the womb where baby has lived so snuggly for the past nine months. That wrapped, tight feeling helps baby feel comfortable, safe and secure – and also helps relax those flailing arms and legs that can trigger baby’s startle reflex (also known as the Moro reflex). All of this should result in better sleep for everyone.
When should newborns be swaddled?
It’s best to swaddle a baby starting at birth until they’re able to roll over on their own at around 4 months. By using the swaddle for both daytime naps and nighttime sleep, chances are your baby will sleep better and for longer stretches of time.
Can you swaddle a newborn too much?
While swaddling has lots of benefits, many experts suggest that by the time your baby reaches around 1 month, it’s a good idea to limit swaddling to naps and nighttime sleep only. That’s because you don’t want to limit baby’s mobility during waking hours. Using her hands and feet to experience the world is an important part of her development.
Is it OK to keep a baby swaddled while feeding?
There are quite a few reasons why experts suggest taking your baby out of the swaddle for feeding. Using their little hands to find the nipple (bottle or breast) helps them to latch on more easily. Babies can also get overheated while eating if they’re in the swaddle. Taking off the swaddle for food breaks also helps baby eat the proper amount which ultimately helps them to sleep better – possibly even longer – between feedings.
Do babies sleep better swaddled?
In those early days and weeks, most newborns sleep best when swaddled because it mimics life inside the womb. Swaddling also helps calm her flailing arms and legs that can trigger baby’s startle reflex (also known as the Moro reflex) which can interrupt her sleep.
Should I double swaddle my newborn?
While it may be tempting to double swaddle your infant, it’s a no-no. Double swaddling can cause overheating, or even make baby feel too tight and restricted. It’s best to use a swaddle with a breathable fabric – like muslin – that can also help to regulate their body temperature. If you’re worried about baby being too hot or too cold, you can put your little one in a onesie underneath the swaddle to accommodate any temperature changes.
Are Dreamland Swaddles safe?
The Dreamland Baby Weighted Sleep Swaddle was designed in collaboration with pediatricians, NICU nurses and Certified Sleep consultants to ensure baby’s upmost safety. It has an inner swaddle band for security and comfort. It is designed to help your baby feel calm, fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. The gentle weight naturally reduces stress and increases relaxation through deep-pressure stimulation to give your baby feelings of security and comfort. It also has a two-way zipper for easy diaper changes which comes in handy for those frequent, middle of the night changes.
How do I choose a swaddle?
When it comes to swaddling, it’s nice to have options. Traditional swaddling blankets are made of cotton, muslin, or bamboo – natural, soft fibers that are breathable and help regulate baby’s temperature. Some are large, thin blankets and you create the swaddle yourself – they come with instructions, don’t worry! The other kind of swaddle is more like a wearable blanket. The Dreamland Baby Weighted Sleep Swaddle is designed to help your baby feel calm, fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. It can be worn as a weighted baby swaddle or sleep sack and has a two-way zipper for easy diaper changes. Like traditional swaddle blankets, the Dreamland Baby Weighted Sleep Swaddle helps to ease the transition from the womb.
See our other favorite posts for further reading:
- Weighted Sleep Sack Safety and How It Will Help Your Baby Sleep
- How To Stop Startle & Moro Reflex Without Swaddling
- The Best Wearable Blankets
- How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Without Nursing
- Signs It’s Time to Stop Swaddling Your Baby
- Are Sleep Sacks Safe for Babies Who Can Roll Over?
- How to Get an Overtired Baby to Sleep
- How to Wash & Clean Your Dreamland Baby Sleep Sack
- How to Stop the 45-Minute Intruder During Your Baby's Naps
- How To Swaddle Your Dreamland Baby
- Baby Napping Close to Bedtime and How to Do It Right
- Cluster Feeding at Night: Why Babies Do It and How to Manage It
- Know the Facts: What's Safe and What's Not for Baby's Tummy Sleep
- How Should A Sleep Sack Fit?