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The Best Swaddle Blankets to Keep Baby Sleeping Soundly

Many babies sleep better thanks to the wonder of swaddle blankets. These are our picks for the best swaddles out there.
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Updated
January 17, 2023
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One of the cutest things you’ll probably ever see is a sleeping baby swaddled up like a burrito. But swaddle blankets aren’t just decorative wrapping; they’re meant to help infants feel settled. “Swaddling is thought to help calm a newborn baby and improve sleep,” says Carrie M. Brown, MD, a pediatrician at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. “Most babies will sleep more soundly if swaddled than left with their arms loose.” Not only does it help recreate the warm, snug environment of Mom’s womb, but swaddling can also help babies sleep safer at night. Below, we’ll walk you through the types of swaddle blankets available, how to use them, what to look for when shopping and our top picks for the best swaddle blankets available.

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Benefits of Swaddle Blankets

After spending nine+ months in the tight, cozy quarters of the womb, newborns can find their new, spacious environment a bit startling—which doesn’t bode well for a good night’s sleep. It makes sense, then, that many infants enjoy the gentle, reassuring restrictions of a swaddle. “/[Swaddling] mimics what babies felt in utero, and it can help with increasing their sleep times and acclimating them to living outside of mommy’s tummy,” says Brandi Jordan, MSW, IBCLC, a pediatric sleep specialist and founder of The Cradle Company. To quell a fussy baby when it’s time to rest—or to stretch the amount of time your sleeping baby stays down—give swaddle blankets a try.

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Not only that, but swaddle blankets can help calm newborns’ startle reflex, which, when triggered, causes baby to flail their arms and legs and often rouses them from sleep. This reflex is “due to the lack of the development of the myelin sheath, which is a fatty layer that covers neurons in the brain,” Jordan explains. “Those jerky movements that present with the startle reflex are connected to those neurons jumping around, as opposed to smoothly going from one neuron to the next.” Because the startle reflex can be set off by quick changes in position, a great way to keep it in check is by swaddling baby.

Types of Swaddle Blankets

Swaddling babies is a centuries’ old practice, but the modern-day version of swaddle blankets is a bit more sophisticated than strips of cloth tied together that babies of yesteryear had to put up with. These days, the best swaddle blankets come in a variety of styles, colors and fabrics to suit baby’s needs. These are two main types of swaddle blankets you can choose from:

Baby swaddle wraps. Typically square-shaped and made of muslin or cotton, these swaddle blankets call for the hospital-wrap method of bundling baby like a little burrito—you won’t find any snaps, zippers or Velcro closures here. They’re great for versatility but require a multi-step swaddling process and may become loose if not wrapped properly.

Baby swaddle sacks. For parents who prefer to take the guesswork out of swaddling, a swaddle sack or swaddle pod, is the answer. These feature zippers, snaps or hook-and-loop closures to keep baby bundled up inside, making it much easier and faster to swaddle. Plus, if they have two-way zippers, you can handle middle-of-the-night diaper changes without having to completely remove the swaddle.

How to Use Swaddle Blankets

Jordan encourages parents to begin swaddling their baby from day one—even if the baby is a preemie. The comfort and calm that can come from being swaddled is no different for a premature newborn versus a full-term newborn, and since adequate rest is just as important, being able to increase sleep is a huge win (for both baby and parents). Head here for step-by-step instructions on how to wrap baby in a swaddle.
Once baby starts to (or attempts to) roll over, it’s time to stop swaddling—otherwise, it can create a suffocation hazard. A swaddled baby who rolls over onto their stomach can’t free their hands to push up and reposition their face for air. Babies can roll over as early as 2 months of age, but it’s more typical to see successful rolling between 3 and 4 months. You may be nervous to drop the swaddle, especially if you’d had good success with one, but babies start rolling over around the same time that their startle reflex is becoming less pronounced. “As baby receives nutrients via breast milk or formula, that fatty layer on their brain becomes more developed and insulative: It relaxes the firing neurons and leads to the reduction and calming of that primal startle reflex,” Jordan says. “Lots of tummy time and exposure to stimuli such as noises and lights will be helpful to acclimate baby” to their new swaddle-free life.

Safety tips for using swaddle blankets

While swaddle blankets can be a lifesaver, there are safety tips to keep in mind before you start using them: Most babies enjoy being swaddled—that’s why hospital nurses do it. But it’s possible baby will object once they’re home. Sometimes it’s as simple as switching the swaddle blankets you’re using. Or, baby may simply need to get used to your swaddling technique, so don’t let the first few fussy swaddle sessions dissuade you.

Make sure the swaddle is secure; you don’t want it coming undone overnight, as that becomes a suffocation hazard Leave room for baby’s legs to freely move about, to avoid potential hip problems. When they’re around 2 to 3 months old, babies generally want (and need) their arms free. You can swaddle baby with or or both arms out (depending on the type of swaddle blanket you’re using) or transition to a wearable blanket to keep baby warm. A swaddle or wearable blanket and a fitted crib sheet are the only bedding you should use in the crib or bassinet. Keep bumpers, loose blankets, pillows and stuffed animals out of the crib for a safe sleep environment.

What to Look for When Buying Swaddle Blankets

Keeping safety in mind above all else, here are a few features you’ll want to keep an eye out for when shopping for the best swaddles:

Breathability. According to Jordan, “breathability is the key to swaddle shopping, as you can always ensure warmth for baby with the clothing you choose to sleep them in”— but if the swaddle is too stuffy or constricting, it can reduce proper airflow for baby. Look for swaddle blankets crafted from soft, lightweight and breathable fabrics like muslin cotton or moisture-wicking bamboo. You’ll also want to pay special attention to the “TOG” (Thermal Overall Grade) ratings, which tell you how warm the swaddle will be. Higher TOG ratings are best used in colder climates or on cooler nights, while lower TOG ratings are better for warmer climates or particularly hot summer evenings.

Functionality. Some swaddles are for newborns adjusting to life outside the womb, while others are for babies transitioning out of the full-on swaddle phase and into more freestyle sleep. If you’re looking for a swaddle for their first few months of life, you’ll want to go for one that can wrap baby up snuggly with their arms at their side; for preemies, you can have their arms bent and placed on top of their chest (with hands closer to their face). If you need a transitional swaddle, look for one that lets baby sleep with one or both arms free.

Comfort and safety. Pay attention to the manufacturers’ age recommendations and maximum weight limits for every swaddle blanket. Swaddles are not a one-size-fits-all garment; rather, they typically come in small, medium and large options that correspond with baby’s age and weight. Swaddles that are too big or wrapped too loosely not only “waste the effects of that cocooning and calming the swaddle provides,” Jordan says, but also create a suffocation hazard if it ends up covering their face. This is also why she warns against makeshift swaddles. “Babies should be swaddled in products from reputable manufacturers versus DIY or homemade designs to ensure all safety standards have been met,” she says. Brands have to put their swaddles through rigorous testing and trials to be deemed safe for newborns.

Leg room. Jordan also recommends finding swaddles that wrap securely around baby’s arms but allow the legs and hips to move freely, to avoid the risk of hip dysplasia. You can usually check for hip-friendliness in the product details.

Ease of use. Swaddles with adjustable openings at the bottom or two-way zippers (that can be zipped down or up) allow for easy diaper-changing access. And if those middle-of-the-night changes or feedings (and subsequent spit-up stains) end up soiling your swaddle, you’ll also want an easy way to clean it. Machine-washable for the win!

Best Swaddle Blankets

Your hospital may have used a thin, cotton blanket for swaddling your newborn. You can, and should, take a few home with you—they’re free (plus, the pink and blue striped hospital blankets are iconic)! But if you’re not a swaddle ninja like those nurses, there are plenty of other, more feature-packed options. Check out our picks for the best swaddle blankets on the market today.

Overall Best Swaddle for Newborns

The Ollie World Swaddle
Swaddle with newborn hat
Image: Amazon

The Ollie World Swaddle—a multi-time Best of Baby award winner—is a perennial parent favorite for good reason. Its patented moisture-wicking fibers stretch to allow freedom of movement while still keeping your little one safely contained. It wraps around your little one like a true swaddle blanket, meaning it easily adjusts to baby’s size (great for tiny newborns!), and quickly and securely fastens with Velcro closures. The bottom is gathered together with an elastic band, which can be quickly opened for late-night diaper changes. It can even be fastened with baby’s arms either in or out, making it an ideal transitional swaddle.

What We Love
  • Custom closure allows for an individualized fit for each baby
  • Transitions smoothly once baby is ready to sleep with their arms out
Things To Consider
  • Has a TOG rating of 0.8, so it’s better for warmer temps
  • Pricey

Best Swaddle for Preemies

Summer Infant SwaddleMe Original Swaddle Preemie Size
Swaddle in a cream color
Image: Amazon

Swaddling is easy with Summer Infant’s SwaddleMe, which secures across baby’s body with hook-and-loop closures. This Velcro swaddle blanket is designed specifically for babies up to 7 pounds and lets you adjust the tightness of the swaddle, depending on baby’s size and preference.

What We Love
  • Ideal for smaller babies
  • Soft and easy to put on
Things To Consider
  • Secure the straps closed before washing, so the Velcro doesn’t snag on other clothing
  • Velcro is loud, which may wake baby during late-night diaper changes

Best Muslin Swaddle Blanket

Aden and Anais Classic Muslin Swaddle Blanket, 4 Pack

The Aden and Anais swaddle is a cult-classic among parents for many reasons. The blankets are large, the patterns are killer-cute and you can use one for countless other baby tasks: as a stroller blanket, an on-the-fly changing mat, a tummy time spot on the floor, a nursing cover, an emergency burp cloth—you name it, these muslin swaddle blankets have done it.

What We Love
  • Muslin is extremely breathable, so it helps reduce the risk of baby overheating
  • Available in multi-packs
  • Machine-washable, and the 100 percent cotton stays soft wash after wash
Things To Consider
  • No zippers or Velcro closures, so you’ll have to perfect your swaddling technique to ensure it stays tight
  • Although lightweight, muslin isn’t as soft as other alternatives like bamboo or cotton
  • Best for warmer climates or hot summer nights

Best Bamboo Swaddle Blanket

Lulujo Hello World Hat & Swaddle Set

Made with 70 percent bamboo viscose and 30 percent cotton, this swaddle blanket is silky smooth, lightweight and breathable—plus, the bamboo is naturally absorbent, anti-microbial and odor-resistant, all of which are ideal for newborns whose skin is adjusting to oxygen exposure and no longer living in amniotic fluid 24/7. And who can resist the little hat that comes with it?

What We Love
  • Already-plush bamboo muslin blanket gets softer with each wash
  • Meticulously tested for breathability and product quality to ensure baby’s safety
Things To Consider
  • Pricey
  • Not a ton of unisex print options

Best Organic Swaddle Blanket

Little Unicorn Organic Cotton Muslin Swaddle Blanket

The swaddle will be snug against baby’s skin, so it makes sense that many parents opt to use an organic swaddle blanket that’s free of any irritating or harmful chemicals. Little Unicorn’s organic swaddles bring infants the cleanest comfort: All the swaddles in this line are made from cotton muslin certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology (OEKO-TEX). Plus, the muslin fabric is soft and breathable, the large size makes these blankets ultra-versatile and the designs are darling.

What We Love
  • Made of premium muslin that’s lightweight, breathable and soft on baby’s skin
  • Versatile, multi-use blankets can be used for swaddling, nursing, burping and more
  • Machine-washable
Things To Consider
  • Fabric is thin and sheds threads, some parents say
  • Prints are painted on, so after multiple washes, they can crack

Best Zippered Swaddle Blanket

Woombie Swaddling Blankets
Grey swaddle with zip
Image: buybuyBABY

Woombie’s swaddle sack has something of a cult following, with some parents swearing this is what helped their whole family get much-needed sleep in those early newborn months. It’s incredibly easy to use: You simply zip baby into the stretchy-but-snug swaddle suit, and that’s it! The two-way zipper also lets you unzip from the bottom for easy nighttime diaper changes.

What We Love
  • Lightweight and breathable design
  • Fabric moves with baby, recreating a womb-like environment
  • Design is hip- and shoulder-friendly, and the narrowed waistline gently compresses the tummy, providing additional comfort for baby
Things To Consider
  • Neckline can get a little stretched out after a while, some parents say

Best Arms Up Swaddle Blanket

Love to Dream Swaddling Blankets

Ever notice how some babies naturally sleep with their arms up over their head in a “victory” position? This zip-up, arms-up swaddle sack is built so baby’s arms stay in that comfy, raised position. It’s also flexible enough that if baby wants to move their hand to their mouth for self-soothing, they can—it’s got more give in the arms than your average newborn swaddling blankets. This cotton swaddle also has a two-way zipper for fast diaper changes.

What We Love
  • Four-way stretch fabric made of 93 percent cotton and 7 percent elastane creates a familiar and secure feeling, just like in the womb
  • 1.0 TOG rating is perfect for any season
  • Great for babies who don’t like traditional swaddles
Things To Consider
  • Can feel very tight
  • Not great for babies who have sensitive startle reflexes

Best Hip-Friendly Swaddle Blanket

Ergobaby Swaddler Wraps

This brand’s take on swaddle blankets encourages baby’s legs to be in the M-shaped frog position, which is recommended to avoid hip dysplasia. The removable bottom piece can also lift for quick diaper changes, while the pocket sleeves help securely hold baby’s arms.

What We Love
Things To Consider
  • Looser design may not be snug enough for baby’s preference
  • Leg-separating strap helps keep babies on their back but limits the type of pajamas you can use

Best Personalized Swaddle Blanket

Caden Lane Personalized Baby Name Swaddle Blanket
Set of multicolored swaddle blankets with personalized names
Image: Caden Lane
Buying Options
Caden Lane | $48

When it comes to personalized swaddle blankets, no one does it better than Caden Lane. We are completely smitten with their baby name swaddle blankets, which come in an array of gorgeous colorways. Their collection can be customized with baby’s first and middle name or just one name, and you have options with your typography. The buttery soft material is truly unmatched, and with that poly-spandex blend of fabrics, you know the stretch is solid.

What We Love
  • Double-sided so you can switch it up
  • Machine-washable
Things To Consider
  • No zippers or Velcro closures, so you’ll need to perfect your swaddling technique
  • Pricey

Best Swaddle Blanket for Winter

Halo Innovations Sleepsack Micro-Fleece Swaddle Wrap

Halo has taken the origami aspect out of swaddling by making their swaddle blankets foolproof: you zip baby into a Halo swaddle sack, then fold over the “wings” to keep their arms by their side and secure it with Velcro. Once baby outgrows the swaddle suit, it turns into a safe, wearable blanket. They’re offered in cotton and muslin as well as micro-fleece, which is a perfect swaddle material for winter or cooler climates.

What We Love
  • Available in a variety of stylish colors, as well as a preemie size
  • Micro-fiber 3.0 TOG rating means it’s very warm
  • Generously sized swaddle fasteners offer adjustability for a perfect fit (arms in, arms up or arms out)
Things To Consider
  • Shrinks easily
  • Breastfeeding moms say the bulky fabric can make it tricky to nurse

Best Transition Swaddle Blanket

embe Transitional SwaddleOut

Once baby is approaching that three- to four-month mark, you’ll want to start transitioning them into a fully arms-out sleep situation. That said, it’s a process, and Jordan says you’ll want to take it little by little. “Start with one arm out at bedtime, and then transition to a sleep sack once baby has acclimated and is sleeping well with that one arm out.” We’re big fans of the embe swaddle’s innovative and highly versatile design: It allows baby to sleep with one or both arms in or out, as well as legs in or out. It also offers a roomy, hip-friendly leg pouch that can be adjusted to three different lengths as baby grows, thanks to the clever snaps. The swaddle sack zippers shut and the flaps Velcro closed, making it easy and secure. It even boasts a neckline specifically designed so it doesn’t rise up and cover baby’s face. To top it all off, the machine-washable, 100 percent cotton swaddle regulates temperature and comes in a bunch of trendy colors.

What We Love
  • Customizable design lets baby sleep exactly how they like
  • Has a Hip Healthy Designation from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute
  • Fabric is soft, breathable and easy to clean
Things To Consider
  • Technically allows for diaper changing access, but some parents say it’s difficult
  • Pricey

About the experts:

Carrie M. Brown, MD, is a pediatrician at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. She received her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine, and completed her residency through the Central Iowa Health Systems Program.

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