We asked, and you answered! A few months ago we put out the call on our Facebook page for you to tell us about your must-have baby sleep products. And you all did not disappoint! We got so many answers that we decided to separate them into categories for our blog, so keep an eye out for the rest of the series over the coming weeks (including posts about blackout shades, white noise machines/gadgets, and sleep spaces). But to kick things off, we're talking about swaddles and wearable blankets—and there are lots of them!
Most newborn babies benefit from swaddling as a cozy and soothing way to transition to a much more spacious environment after birth. Swaddling also keeps babies’ immature startle reflex and normal body movements from waking them. Beyond the newborn phase, wearable blankets are a comfy alternative to loose blankets, which can be unsafe for babies and inconvenient for active toddlers. Here at Baby Sleep Science, one of our mantras for optimal sleep is: Cool, Dark and Quiet. Swaddles and wearable blankets help you keep your little one comfortable while maintaining an ideal, cooler room temperature of 65–70 degrees in their sleep space.
Before we get started, a few disclaimers:
**Please make sure that you’re familiar with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) safer sleep guidelines (found here) so you can make informed decisions about your little one’s sleep safety.
**Also, please note that, although the Baby Sleep Science team has reviewed the product information for everything listed below, we do not personally test or endorse each item. Use your knowledge of sleep basics and safety guidelines, as well as your family’s preferences, to decide whether a product would be a good choice for your baby or toddler.
Swaddles and wearable blankets come in a broad spectrum of style, price, materials, versatility and age/size suitability. The examples below are no exception, but the one thing they have in common is that they ranked among our readers’ favorites for keeping their little ones comfortable and warm (but not too warm!) during sleep.
These square muslin blankets are popular with our readers (and us too!) because they’re simple and versatile. Cut more generously than many other baby blankets, they offer ample room for swaddling a baby, and also boast a variety of other uses, including as an impromptu burp cloth, nursing cover, sun shade or floor covering for tummy time. This means that their usefulness can last long past your baby’s swaddling days. Watch Meg demonstrate swaddling with an aden + anais blanket below:
This is another swaddle blanket that many parents swear by, especially for those “Houdini babies” who seem to be able to push and squirm their way out of other swaddles. Although the flaps and pockets may seem confusing at first, this blanket is known for keeping babies snugly wrapped for optimal sleep. Meg shows how to swaddle a baby in a Miracle Blanket below:
Halo SleepSacks are a popular choice for their versatility. The SleepSack swaddle has velcro flaps that can be used to wrap your baby with arms in our out, which means your baby can keep sleeping in it even after he or she has aged out of the swaddling feature (or shows signs of rolling over). They also offer other swaddling products. Halo SleepSacks come in a variety of materials (e.g., cotton, muslin, micro-fleece) as well as sizes. Their “Big Kid” wearable blanket comes with foot openings, in sizes up to 5T, to keep your bigger toddler or preschooler cozy in bed while still able to walk to the bathroom safely if needed.
Some of our readers from the UK recommended the Grosnug, which is another blanket that can be used to swaddle your baby’s arms in or out. Gro-baby also offers their products in a few different materials and sizes for babies or toddlers. Customers who don’t want to order direct from the UK company can purchase the Grosnug from Amazon, with more options coming in June 2019.
When your baby is ready to transition out of a swaddle, this sleepsuit is a great option for helping your little one make the switch to regular sleep sacks. The puffy suit made out of lightweight material helps suppress any lingering startle reflex your baby may be experiencing without a swaddle. It also makes it more difficult for your baby to roll over while sleeping, keeping them in a safer sleep position. The two sizes range from 12 to 21 pounds.
Designed by Dr. Harvey Karp of “Happiest Baby” fame, the Sleepea is touted as a simple “five-second swaddle.” With an inner band to secure baby’s arms, and zippers at the top and bottom, parents like how easy it is to get their baby snugly swaddled without extra flaps or complicated wrapping. Mesh panels also make this cotton swaddle more breathable to help prevent overheating.
They say necessity is the mother of invention, and this swaddle was invented by a mother in need! After struggling through many sleepless nights and unsuccessful swaddle blankets, the mom/inventor behind the Woombie used her experience as an RN and her knowledge of sleep safety to design this swaddle to mimic a baby’s position in the womb. Arms and legs can move and stretch while still being contained in a secure swaddle. Some variations are designed to grow with your baby.
The star-shaped design of this swaddle is meant to contain your baby’s arms and legs while still allowing them to move and stretch freely. The Zipadee-zip’s shape also allows you to buckle your baby safely into a carseat or stroller while keeping hands and feet cozy.
Like some of the previous products, the Love to Dream swaddle was designed to allow more natural movement for your baby’s arms and legs, while still giving them the secure feeling they loved in utero. This design also touts an “arms-up” position, which lets your little one bring hands toward his or her face without risk of scratching.
Another option for wearable blankets, the baby deedee Sleep Nest comes in different quilted materials and weights to suit the seasons and climates where you live or travel. Although the Sleep Nest maxes out at size “36 months,” they also offer the “Sleep Kicker” in sizes up to 4T.
Rounding out our list, at the pricier end of the spectrum, are Woolino Baby Sleeping Bags. Made of soft merino wool, these wearable blankets boast warmth and breathability that makes them suitable for use year-round. Some versions are sized for 2 months to 2 years (with larger options for toddlers), which means you won’t have to buy a new one every time your baby has a growth spurt. Woolino also offers wool swaddle blankets for newborns.
So, did we include your favorite? Are we missing an amazing swaddle or wearable blanket that you and your little one couldn’t live—or sleep— without? Let us know in the comments! And check back soon for the continuation of our Parents’ Choice series: blackout shades. In the meantime, if your baby is struggling with the transition out of a swaddle or with another sleep issue, don’t hesitate to call us for a one-on-one consult. We’re here to help!
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