Swaddling Blankets That Will Soothe Your Newborn
Swaddling—or making a little baby burrito—isn't done just to create a cute little bundle that's easy to cuddle. It also helps replicate the warmth and safety of the mother’s womb, which can be soothing for newborns and help them sleep. It also keeps your baby’s arms down by their side, which helps ensure that they won’t be woken up by their startle reflex. (Infants commonly experience the reflex, which makes them jolt.)
There are a few options for creating a safe and comfortable sleep environment for your infant—you can use swaddle sacks or, as your child gets older, sleepsacks and wearable blankets. When they've outgrown sleepsacks, your baby can graduate to other bedtime comforts, like loveys and security blankets. Here's a closer look at each category.
Swaddling Blankets and Swaddle Sacks
Blankets or swaddle sacks can be used to swaddle your infant when they’re sleeping up until the point when they start rolling over, typically around 3 or 4 months. Babies should be swaddled snuggly to ensure the blanket does not become loose during the night. (If your baby is a Houdini from Day 1 and can easily get out of the swaddling blanket, swaddle sacks like those from ergoPouch, Summer Infant, and SwaddleSure may be your best bet for a safe and solid night’s sleep). When swaddling, be sure to always put your baby to sleep on their back and not have any loose blankets in the crib—including swaddling blankets—to reduce the risk of SIDS or suffocation. To ensure a safe and snug swaddle, follow these simple tips.
- Spread out a swaddling blanket in a diamond shape. Fold the top corner down.
- Lay baby face up on the blanket, placing head above the fold.
- Place left arm out to the side and wrap left corner of the blanket over their body, tucking it under their right side.
- Place right arm down, then fold the right corner of the blanket over their body, tucking it under their left side.
- Fold or twist the bottom of the blanket loosely and tuck under the baby.
- Double check that the swaddle isn’t too tight. Their hips should be loose to prevent hip dislocation or hip dysplasia. You should be able to fit two or three fingers between the baby’s chest and swaddle.
Bonus tip: Even if you don’t use swaddling blankets for their main purpose, they’re great to use as a light blanket when your baby is in the stroller or car seat or as an easy-to-clean layer between your baby and their playmat, bouncer, or rocker.
Sleepsacks and Wearable Blankets
Once your baby shows signs of rolling over, typically around 3 or 4 months, it’s important to transition from swaddling blankets and sacks to sleepsacks to ensure your baby’s sleep is safe and sound. Sleepsacks and wearable blankets allow your baby to move their arms more freely, while still providing an extra layer of warmth and comfort while they’re sleeping. Among your options: Baby Merlin’s suit, the Magic Sleepsuit, which is designed to provide the same comfort as a swaddle but with the flexibility of a sleepsack; 100% cotton sleepsacks, a great option for warmer weather; micro-fleece wearable blankets for cooler weather; and early walker sleepsacks that allow for more flexibility for your baby’s feet.
Security Blankets and Loveys
As your baby gets older, you may find that security blankets and loveys become a great source of comfort for your little one as they’re going to sleep. In following safe sleeping rules, however, it’s best to wait until your child is at least a year old before introducing them into their sleep space. Up until that time, no blankets, stuffed animals, or pillows should be placed within the child’s sleep environment. These measures help protect against SIDS, suffocation, and strangulation. With that in mind, it’s also important to choose loveys that don’t have any small, detachable pieces that could be choking hazards. Be sure to speak to your pediatrician before introducing a lovey or security blanket to your baby.