The hunt for the perfect swaddle quickly opened my eyes as to why the baby industry, especially any products related to getting babies to SLEEP, is such a profitable business. I was willing to spend WHATEVER amount of money I had to get my baby to sleep better.
As I was writing this post, I was shocked (and slightly embarrassed) at the number of swaddles we bought and tried… EIGHT!! I estimated we spent over $250 on swaddles. I hope you can use what I learned and spend a lot less money than I did finding the right one for your baby.
First, I’ve called out my 4 Favorites that are best for different phases of baby’s first year. I’ve also included some Honorable Mentions and a comparison chart of ALL 8 swaddles at the bottom.
Each swaddle reviewed has been personally tested by me and my baby girl for at least a month (except the muslin blankets, which I quickly realized were for the birds, and the Anna & Eve Swaddle Strap, which my baby reacted to as if it were a torture device). I have combined my experience along with the general opinions of Amazon reviewers to give you the most accurate and objective reviews possible.
Each swaddle has been evaluated on the following (see comparison chart at the bottom of this post for a quick glance on how they all stacked up):
- Ease of use. Is the swaddle easy to get on and off of baby correctly? Keep in mind, you will be dealing with this product mostly in the middle of the night on very little sleep in the early months. You shouldn’t need Google, an instruction manual, or 4 different attempts to get it right.
- Moro reflex prevention. Does the swaddle restrict baby’s arms enough to prevent the Moro reflex, which is often what wakes babies and what swaddles try to protect against? Read more on the Moro reflex here.
- Escapability. Can baby easily maneuver arms out of the swaddle? Some babies don’t wiggle that much, but it seems like most babies are little Houdini’s when it comes to swaddles and can somehow wiggle their arms free, which then defeats the purpose of the swaddle.
BEST NEWBORN SWADDLE
Summary: My close friend, veteran mommy of 4, introduced me to these swaddles because she knew how amazing they were. These were the absolute easiest, the most womb-like, and my hands-down, no-contest favorite swaddle for the earliest months.
- ZIPPERS! Let me tell you, as a parent, ZIPPERS ARE YOUR FRIEND! These swaddle pods are the easiest swaddles you will ever find. You can put baby in them in literally 2 seconds with almost zero effort. This is very important when you’ve slept a whole 15 minutes, and it’s 3 am.
- Easy diaper changes. The zipper is a two-way zipper (it can zip/unzip from the top OR bottom). It allows you to change the diapers without having to take the swaddle all the way off – just zip up halfway from the bottom, change the diaper, and zip ’em back up!
- Snug, without being too restrictive. Because this is made with a cotton/spandex blend, it has a little stretch to it, which gives baby a little flexibility, but not too much. Like a womb!
- Baby CANNOT escape. It’s impossible. Yep, I said it.
- Might not be good for extra small babies. Personally, I have no cons. But from reading through Amazon reviews, some believe these are not good for extra small or preemie babies (although others disagree). It is important that these swaddles fit snugly; they should not be loose.
BEST OVERALL SWADDLE
Halo Sleepsack Swaddle
Summary: This swaddle will last your baby a while as it is has room to grow in the leg area, and can be used with arms in, one arm out or both arms out, providing good transition options.
- Different fabric types. This is one of my favorite things about the Halo Sleepsack products. Depending upon the season and your particular climate, they have a very lightweight muslin, a medium-weight cotton, and a heavier fleece fabric option that come in all sizes.
- Transitions with baby. Because of the different arm positioning options (arms in, one arm out, both arms out), you can use this to transition baby into sleeping without being swaddled. It can also still be used once baby starts rolling (just keep both arms out).
- Snug in torso, with plenty of leg room. Once you’re keeping baby’s arms out, the swaddle panels can be wrapped around baby’s chest to give them a little snug security.
- Not many from my experience. Minor cons would be that it is possible for baby to escape if they’re strong (or strong-willed), and that the Velcro can snag other garments in the wash if not closed properly.
- May ride up. Some Amazon reviewers cite that it rides up too close to baby’s face. We did not see this issue, but it is clearly happening for some. Make sure the swaddle fits your baby properly.
BEST SLEEP REGRESSION SWADDLE
Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit
Also available in Microfleece
Summary: Yes, this thing looks like a strange spacesuit, but it really is magic for a lot of babies, especially those who don’t like being fully swaddled anymore, but don’t seem to be ready for total freedom yet.
- Actually contains magic. I don’t know how to say it any other way, and Amazon reviewers agree. It. just. works. There are many anecdotes of babies who were having sleep issues or going through a sleep regression, and this was the fix. Just go read the reviews. It worked wonders for us, and several close friends swear by it, too.
- Adorable. Your child looks like a super cute Michelin man in this thing. (I know that’s not a reason to buy it, but it sure is a plus!)
- Can get hot. You will likely have to adjust the pajamas your child is wearing and/or their room temperature to keep baby cool. Many people just put baby in a diaper with this swaddle. We used a short sleeve onesie and socks to keep her feet warm.
- Expensive. These are 100% worth the cost if your baby likes it ($40 for magical sleep? Done), but some babies don’t like it, and you don’t know which group your baby will fall into until you try it. I recommend trying to borrow one or find one secondhand if you can.
BEST POST-SWADDLE/TODDLER OPTION
Halo Sleepsack Wearable Blanket
Summary: Once your child is out of a swaddle, this is a great option to keep them warm, give them a bit of a sense of containment and security, keep hands out of diapers, and to prevent toddlers from climbing out of the crib.
- Blanket that stays put. I’m sure they exist, but I’ve never met a toddler who can keep a blanket on them all night. This one isn’t going anywhere
- Keeps hands out of diapers. I’ve heard way too many stories of parents entering their toddler’s room to find poop in places it shouldn’t be after nap time. This wearable blanket is often the recommendation from other veteran parents to prevent poo-flinging.
- Keeps toddlers in crib. Eventually most toddlers start trying to climb out of cribs. The sleepsack tends to also be the veteran’s recommendation to remedy the problem. Put it on backwards for the extra determined child like mine (who has figured out how to unzip it from the front).
- Multiple fabric options. Again, one of my favorite things about the Halo Sleepsack products is there is a fabric for every season and climate — a lightweight muslin, a medium-weight cotton, and a heavier fleece.
- None. Maybe that it can be unzipped by older toddlers, but the easy fix is just putting it on backwards.
SwaddleMe Original Swaddle
Summary: A good option that is pretty easy to use, though baby will likely grow out of it quickly and they’re somewhat easily escapable.
- Easy to use. These use Velcro to close, making it quick and easy to wrap baby up tight.
- Versatile arm positioning. You can leave one arm out for self-soothing if that’s what baby prefers. You may also try the one-arm-out method when transitioning out of the swaddle.
- The “Pee-Pee Peek.” There is a small opening in the back of the swaddle that is in the perfect location for checking for the “blue stripe” (wetness indicator) on many diapers. This is WAY more important in the middle of the night than you may initially think. Just trust me. I thought this was ingenious, until I learned it was a “harness slit” meant for putting baby in the car seat while in the swaddle, not for checking for dirty diapers… it’s way more practical as a diaper window than a car seat doohickey in my opinion. Who puts a swaddle on a baby in a carseat?
- Not Houdini-proof! While these swaddles may keep some babies well-contained, other babies can easily wiggle their arms free.
- Velcro issues. The velcro can cause a couple (small) problems. It can badly snag and damage other delicate items (particularly your adorable muslin blankets) in the wash if you forget to close the velcro flaps. Also, it can be pretty loud in the middle of the night. Some Amazon reviewers also cite that the Velcro loses its “stickiness” over time.
- Fits for a short period of time. Babies will grow out of these quickly as the Small/Medium sizes are intended only for babies 7-14 lbs. Once you reach the threshold, you’ll need to buy the next size up.
LoveToDream Swaddle UP – Transition bag
Summary: I really love this swaddle (we had two in different sizes), but it is different from most, as it puts baby’s hands up by her face instead of across her chest. It transitions well with baby from arms in to arms out by zipping off the “wings.” Still provides a sense of security with its snugness once baby’s hands are free.
- Good for self-soothing. Gives babies a little bit more freedom to self sooth by putting their hands in their mouth, while still being restrictive enough to help prevent the Moro reflex.
- Snugness feels like a hug.We owned two of these (bought the next size up once baby grew out of the first) because my daughter liked having that snug fit in the torso and wasn’t quite comfortable in the wearable blanket yet.
- Transitions with baby. Can be used from arms in stage to arms out stage as long as you get the one that has the “zip-off wings.” It’s linked above.
- High-quality material. The material is pretty thick and stretchy with excellent breathability. Held up impeccably for the several months we used it.
- May not be liked by all. Some babies may not like the arms up positioning, but according to Amazon reviews, most do.
Anna & Eve Swaddle Strap
Summary: I have to admit, I’m biased on this one. My daughter absolutely hated this thing – you’d think we’d put her in a torture device the way she reacted (and we tried it on multiple occasions). She did not like her hands down by her side, and it doesn’t seem natural to me at all when you think about how much time babies spend in the womb with their hands to their face. HOWEVER, Amazon reviewers disagree with me and they LOVE it.
- Best swaddle for babies with Hip Dysplasia. I know this is very specific, but there are several Amazon reviewers that are so grateful this exists because it’s the only swaddle that is compatible with the Pavlik Harness prescribed for babies with hip dysplasia.
- Good for hot climates. There are no extra layers to this, so it’s easy to keep baby cool.
- Easy diaper changes. Can leave baby swaddled during diaper changes (as long as you have pajamas on the baby that can be undone from the bottom).
- Some babies just hate it. Like mine.
- Semi-difficult to get on. Maybe it was because my baby didn’t like it, but I found it hard to hold baby’s arms down and get the straps fastened snugly (I was having to use both hands and a forearm with multiple attempts sometimes).
Summary: Buy some. You will definitely use them… but don’t bother using them as swaddles. These are great for cute pictures, but not the most practical as an effective swaddle. They’re better served as summer and floor blankets.
- Cute. Great for photos, and there are tons of fun patterns
- Fairly inexpensive
- Multipurpose. They can double as summer blankets, nursing covers, floor blankets, toys, etc.
- Difficult to use. They take a lot of practice to get them snug, secure and safe. Consulting Google to remind you how to properly wrap a snug swaddle is the last thing you want to be doing in the middle of the night.
- Come loose easily. My tiny newborn could fairly easily break out of these swaddles, even when wrapped as tightly as I could get it.
That’s all of them!! Here’s a chart with a quick overview: