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Swaddling has been practised for generations.
The process involves wrapping a baby tightly in a large, thin blanket in order to replicate the conditions of the womb. This will also prevent the startling movements of flailing newborn limbs and to generally make a baby feel snug and secure.
The benefits of the practice are numerous. Providing a warm cocoon for your baby can help them feel safer, more comfortable and less anxious. Lessening distress is key to getting babies to sleep through the night, enabling you a more peaceful night's rest, and trapping the limbs close to the body also helps to prevent the involuntary jerky movements common amongst newborns which can startle them awake. All of these add up to a longer and more restful night's sleep, something that will do both you and your baby endless good. Plus, there's nothing cuter than a swaddled baby!
It's worth bearing in mind that there are some health and safety risks associated with swaddling when it's done wrong, and it can be tricky to get the hang of initially. If you intend to swaddle your baby it's a good idea to ask a nurse, friend or relative with experience to show you how to do so safely, or else watch a YouTube video and practise until you've got it perfect. In a nutshell, the process involves finding a flat surface, lying your swaddle blanket out on it in the shape of a diamond and folding the top corner down. Lie your baby on top of the blanket, placing their head just above the folded edge and their body lying vertically down the middle. Wrap the left side of the blanket over their chest and tuck it beneath their right arm and under the back, making sure not to secure the right arm. Fold the bottom corner up over the body and tuck it under the chin, beneath the first fold. Gently straighten the right arm (without straightening it completely and repeat the action with the right side of the blanket, securing it under the left side. Then twist the bottom and secure it underneath your baby's body.
You should be able to fit two or three fingers comfortable between the blanket and your baby's chest and there should be some wiggle room at the bottom so they can move their little legs unencumbered. When done properly, it's perfectly safe for your baby to sleep wrapped in a swaddle blanket, though you need to make sure there are no loose edges that could come undone and cause suffocation.
Many modern-day swaddle blankets are designed with such safety hazards in mind, and include features to make the swaddle safer for your newborn (a looser sack around the bottom to allow for leg and hip movement, for example). These kinds of swaddle blankets are not the same as receiving blankets or simple muslin blankets. Whilst you can use these to the same effect, most swaddle blankets are specially designed for the purpose, with special portions on each side to make it simpler to wrap your little one up and additions such as buttons, zips or velcro to make it easier to fasten.
These are all good things to take into consideration when finding the perfect swaddles for your newborn. How many you choose to buy will depend largely on whether your baby takes to them, how often you are able to wash them and how prone your baby is to spitting up. We recommend starting with two at the very least, though four to eight might make life easier in the long run.
We've gathered together a range of the best swaddle blankets on the market so you can find the best baby swaddle for your little one. Take a look below.
Our Top Choice
Ergobaby Swaddler, Elephant Print
This Ergobaby newborn swaddle blanket had to be our winner. It's easy to assemble, made from a comfortable, breathable cotton and features an innovative ergonomic design. The top half features arm pouches that position your baby’s arms into the 'hand to heart' position, helping to replicate the familiar sleeping position of the womb and prevent any jarring limb movements that might startle them awake. The bottom half features a handy hip positioner that aligns your baby's hips (helping to promote healthy hip development) and a looser, sack-like segment for the legs that allows for the natural leg movement recommended by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. The design also makes it much easier to put together than a traditional blanket, with each part fastened simply and securely with velcro. Made from 100% cotton, it's soft and easily stretches as your baby moves, whilst also being suitable for use all year round. There's also a removable leg pouch ideal for nappy changes. An all-around winner.
- Price: £20
- Age: 0 months+
Best Swaddles For Versatility
Aden And Anais Swaddle, Ma Fleur
This beautiful 100% cotton muslin swaddle blanket from the specialists at aden + anais is a winner when it comes to versatility. It's the perfect shape and size to wrap your little one up snuggly, whilst the simple design makes it doubly useful as a burp cloth, play mat, buggy blanket or a cover to use when nursing. The muslin fabric is supremely breathable and will stay soft even after countless washes, and it's machine washable. And, as with all aden and anais blankets and textiles, there are countless beautiful designs to choose from. It's a traditional swaddle; a simple blanket with none of the pockets or fastenings featured on other products we've researched, but it's all the more adaptable for that, and there are a number of handy tips and videos that teach you how to swaddle on the company website.
- Price: £15
- Age: 0+ months
Best Sleeping Bag Hybrid
Tommee Tippee Newborn Snuggle, Little Pip
This Tommee Tippee Grobag swaddle is a great 2-in-1 product: you can either tuck your baby’s arms in to create a cosy swaddle, or leave them free and use it as a simple sleeping bag that will keep your baby warm all night whilst removing the suffocation risks associated with loose bedding. The lower segment is nice and roomy, allowing for healthy leg movement, and easy to unzip - perfect for late night nappy changing. It's super easy to use, too: just unzip the bag and pop your baby in, fastening the arms closed with poppers if you're opting for the swaddle option. The cotton-rich fabric is super soft, it's machine washable and has a tog rating of 1, making it suitable for the warmer weather. It even comes with a free thermometer so you can keep tabs on your baby's temperature as the seasons change.
- Price: £25.99
- Age: 0-4 months
Best Swaddles For Year-Round Use
Love To Dream Swaddle Up Bamboo, Original Cream
This Love To Dream swaddle is made from 94% bamboo, making it the perfect swaddle for use in all seasons. Bamboo is a naturally temperature-regulating material, whilst also possessing the ability to draw moisture away from the body; ideal for preventing your baby from becoming sweaty and uncomfortable on hot summer nights. The 1 tog material is nice and lightweight, but still provides warmth in the colder months when paired with cosy sleepwear. The design allows babies to sleep with their arms up, a position that some find more natural and comfortable, whilst still allowing for movement. The double zip provides quick and easy access and makes it so much easier to use than a traditional swaddle blanket.
- Price: £28.50
- Age: 1-3 months
Best Swaddles For Value
Best Home And Baby Extra Large Muslin Swaddle Blankets, Dinosaur & Elephant
At £14.99 for two, this swaddle cloth set is great value, and, like the aden + anais variety, the versatile blanket design makes them especially good value for money. They can easily be used as blankets, changing mats, burping cloths and a whole host of other things as well as swaddle blankets. They're nice and big and the 30% cotton, 70% bamboo is beautifully light and soft, making them super breathable and perfect for babies with sensitive skin. Machine washable and quick to dry (purportedly doing well in the tumble dryer), they're uber practical and look lovely, too. We love the cute animal prints: they'd make a lovely gift for any new parent!
- Price: £14.99
- Age: 0 months+
Miracle Blanket Swaddle
This Miracle swaddling blanket is a good bet if you're looking for a swaddle that ticks a lot of boxes. It's super soft, fits babies of all sizes and has a unique network of pockets and flaps to make the wrapping process easier. There's also no velcro or sharp fastenings to irritate sensitive skin, so it's a great option if your little one suffers from skin conditions like eczema. It's machine washable, nice and lightweight and a decent price, too; a well-rounded product that actually works.
- Price: £22.54
- Age: 0 months+
Best Swaddles For Breathability
Woombie Air Baby Cocoon Swaddle
This Woombie Cocoon Swaddle features special vented portions to promote airflow, increase breathability and prevent overheating, allowing your baby to enjoy perfect snugness without feeling suffocated. The unique ergonomic design creates a cosy cocoon around the top half (with your baby’s arms in the 'hand to heart' position), whilst still allowing for movement of the legs. It's also amazingly easy to use: all you have to do is undo the two-way zip and settle your little one inside, making it a great option for parents who struggle with the technique of a traditional blanket swaddle. The Woombie swaddle is made with a 95% cotton, 5% spandex material, with the addition of spandex further increasing breathability and allowing for essential movement.
- Price: £31.99
- Age: 3-6 months
Best Swaddling Blankets For Self-Soothing
HALO SleepSack Self-Soothing Baby Swaddle
The Halo SleepSack is one of the best swaddles for allowing babies to self-soothe (calm themselves to sleep). The ingenious four-point design allows babies to sleep in a more natural position (with their arms above their head), whilst the 4-way stretch of the material makes it possible for them to move their limbs just the right amount. Allowing your baby to bring their hands to their mouth can vastly increase their ability to soothe themselves back into a tranquil state, and eventually, sleep. And as an added bonus, this little swaddle pod is endowed with two built-in teethers on the top two corners, offering further relief and distraction for restless teething infants. Made from 100% cotton, the swaddle features a spacious sack to allow the recommended leg movement and a two-way zip for easy access. An excellent buy.
- Price: £29.99
- Age: 0 months+
Best For Babies With Sensitive Skin
Purflo Swaddle To Sleep Bag 2.5 Tog, Botanical
This Purflo swaddle/sleeping bag is one of the best swaddles for newborns with particularly sensitive skin. It is made with a hypoallergenic fibre called Amicor Pure, an intelligent anti-microbial fibre that's been proven to prevent conditions such as eczema and asthma. It possesses mesh panels to promote airflow and increase breathability and the zip opening comes with a zip guard to prevent it from catching on delicate skin. Popper fastenings on the armholes allow you to choose whether to swaddle or let the arms free. The best swaddle for newborns with allergies or skin conditions.
- Price: £25
- Age: 0-4 months
Best For Families On A Budget
SwaddleMe Pod 2-Pack
This SwaddleMe 2-pack makes the best swaddle purchase for families on a budget. At £14.99 for two, you can swaddle your baby for just £7.50, making this the cheapest option on our list. Made from 93% cotton and 7% elastin they're nice and stretchy whilst still being escape-proof and the two-way zip makes nappy changing a breeze. Bear in mind they are small, though, so aren't destined for last long and will serve best as swaddle blankets for newborn babies.
Kidadl Best Buys selects the top parent-recommended products across the web for families of all ages. If you liked our suggestions for best swaddles for babies then why not take a look at our favourite baby sleepsuits and pyjamas? Or, for something different, check out our guide to the best lightweight baby buggies.
- Price: £14.99
- Age: 0-2 months
The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.