Megan writes about health and wellness issues, among other topics.
There are so many “right” ways to put your baby to sleep these days. Co-sleeping used to be OK, then was frowned upon, and now is OK in some circles again. One thing is for certain—for parents of newborns—sleep is precious. Any solution you can find that is safe for your baby and keeps them sleeping longer is a welcome gift for moms and dads who are losing sleep trying to calm a fussy baby.
I have two daughters, aged five and one, and I swaddled both of them during sleep from the time they were born to when they turned three months old and could escape the swaddle. With my youngest, at that point I then switched over to the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit. I had more difficulty getting my older daughter to stay asleep longer, and I think that was in part due to inexperience and incorrect swaddling. By the time I had my younger daughter, I had discovered some of these useful swaddling products that stay more secure and are more fool-proof—swaddling is a skill!
I have personally used all of these and had success with them. All have helped my babies stay asleep longer at night and at naptimes, and I have found all to be safe and “escape-free” until about three months, at which point they should start weaning off of the swaddle, anyway. I’ve listed them from the ones we least-used to the ones we couldn’t have done without. I hope this list can help any parents struggling with a newborn baby who isn’t sleeping for long enough stretches.
1. Cotton Security Blankets
Cotton security blankets are what I mostly used for my first daughter, mostly because I didn’t know about any other products. These square blankets are usually smaller in area than muslin blankets, and although they worked fine for the first few weeks, I found that my kids grew out of these quickly. They do come in a lot of neat patterns, however, and I still used them quite a bit. I also feel that they are a little bit warmer, also good for the first few weeks when retaining baby’s body heat is so important.
2. Muslin Blankets
Muslin blankets are one of my favorite multi-purpose baby products. They are so versatile because of the consistency of the material—it is lightweight and breathable, so you can use it to warm a baby when it’s chilly outside, or cover them up to shade them from the sun. I’ve used these as nursing covers, picnic blankets, burb cloths, and more.
To swaddle using a muslin blanket or security blanket, fold the square blanket into a triangle, and lay baby down with their neck aligned in the center of the side of one of the triangles. Hold their right arm snug to their body, and wrap the left corner of the triangle over that arm, tucking it under their body but leaving their left arm free. Bring the bottom corner up over the feet and tuck under their right shoulder. Then, bend their left arm slightly, and wrap the right corner of the fabric over that arm and tuck under their back. You should have a nice little baby burrito! Make sure the swaddle is tight enough that they can’t escape easily, but loose enough that you can still fit two fingers between the fabric and baby’s body.
3. The Halo Sleep Sack
I was given one of these at the hospital when my first daughter was born. I must admit that I didn’t take it out of the package to try it until she was about a month old. I should have taken it out sooner—the first night she slept in this thing, she stayed asleep for over five hours—a new record for her at the time!
The Halo Sleep Sack is basically a wearable blanket. Baby’s feet go into the enclosed but free-flowing bottom part, and their arms go through little tank-top style arm holes at the top. The suit zips up from the bottom to top down the middle. There are side flaps on the back that you then pull over baby’s chest on either side. You can choose to either keep their arms in or out. This makes it a good product for when you are transitioning from the swaddle to a different sleep product. You can start with just one arm out, and move on to two arms out.
I like this product because it keeps baby warm but still makes sure they are sleeping safely. It gives them the feel that a blanket would, without the risk of it coming loose and covering up their face. It is also, in my opinion, warmer than the other swaddle products, making it great for use in colder weather. The Velcro on either side flap is longer strips, and they don’t wear off easily.
4. Summer Infant Swaddleme Three Piece Adjustable Wrap
Out of any swaddle product, this is the one I used the most. I have purchased almost all of their lines of swaddles, from the Pod for newborns, to the original swaddle and Wrapsack. I liked these products the best because of the combination of the lightweight material and customizable hold. I also really like that they come in a three pack. It’s always helpful to have a back-up (or two!) in case of any milk/diaper disasters in the middle of the night.
The SwaddleMe Original Swaddle
Overall, I highly recommend swaddling your newborn for naps and night time—babies are proven to sleep more soundly and for longer periods of time. Swaddling mimics the comfort and snugness of the womb. Swaddling the traditional way is fine, but the blankets can sometimes come unwrapped and create an unsafe sleeping environment if it ends up around baby’s face. These swaddle products they have now make swaddling essentially fool-proof, and allow you to have the peace of mind that baby is safe while they sleep.