Baby Swaddle Blankets: The Safest Ones Loved by Parents
Before you read this, I recommend you read my hub about the safety of swaddling: When To Stop Swaddling: An In Depth Look into the Controversy. I have compiled all the current research on safe swaddling practices, including how to properly swaddle and what the experts say about when to stop this practice. I have done an enormous amount of research on this seemingly controversial topic, presented the facts and will have you, as parents, draw your own conclusions about the safest practice for your own baby.
One thing is certain- there are SAFER ways to swaddle. Part of proper swaddling is choosing the right material in the right season and avoiding too tight of a swaddle.
This hub will look at the different baby swaddle blankets on the market and make recommendations on which are best for you and your baby.
As a parent of three myself (twins and a singleton) I did make the decision to swaddle all three of my babies, but with the following caveats in mind.
Safe Swaddling Practices
Research has revealed a few important things about safe swaddling. In order to minimize your risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and hip problems from tight swaddling, you need to make sure to:
- Swaddle loosely enough that you can fit a hand in between your baby's chest and the blanket.
- Swaddle tightly enough that the baby won't wriggle and wiggle out of the blanket and wind up with a blanket over his or her face. This can cause suffocation.
- Keep the area around the arms the tightest and the area around the legs the loosest. The legs should be able to move up and out at the hips.
- Use lighter fabric when it's hot outside to reduce the risk of overheating.
- Always place your baby on his or her back for sleep.
Safest Baby Swaddle Blankets
Aden by Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blanket
Okay, so these blankets ARE cute... But, they are also made out of muslin cotton- a very lightweight fabric that will reduce the risks of your infant overheating. You can safely use these in the summertime without worry. Do make sure to unswaddle your baby if you see any signs of overheating: sweating, facial flushing, damp hair, rapid breathing, or a heat rash.
Summer Infant SwaddleMe 2-Pack
This blanket is made out of 100% cotton so it's breathable. However, it's not as breathable as the muslin blankets above. It's still a good choice for the warmer days in the year, however. Just use your best judgement when the summer months come rolling in. These blankets come in different sizes depending upon the age and size of your child... This helps to make sure the blankets fit your baby and won't come loose. And there is enough room for your baby to move his legs properly to avoid any hip problems.
The best part is the ease of swaddling! Before we were "in the know" I remember being up in the middle of the night, exhausted, trying to swaddle the wiggling twins and literally wanting to pull out my hair. This makes the process as easy as can be. It has "wings" you simply secure in place and a little cocoon for the feet. There is no wriggling out of this blanket and having it floating around your baby's crib.
The Halo Sleepsack is similar in design to the Summer Infant SwaddleMe. Both have the wings for easy swaddling. Halo calls it a "wearable blanket with adjfustable swaddling", which is apt. They also claim hospitals nationwide recommend it. It's also deemed "Hip Healthy" by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. Halo seems quite educated about the risks and has addressed each and every one of them.
And the reviews are simply outstanding. Parents love the Halo Sleepsack!
I used to dream about an easy and safe swaddle back in the day (you know- those 2 a.m. nights we all loathe).
Tell Us What YOU Know!
Do you own any of these baby swaddling blankets?
If you're interested in a very interesting take on soothing babies to sleep, you should check out Dr. Harvey Karp's "Happiest Baby on the Block" book. It goes into the 5 S's of calming a baby down, and yes... swaddling is one of them.
Now you are armed with the knowledge and now you can make an informed decision on whether or not you feel comfortable swaddling. Bottom line- it's safe if done correctly, especially for babies 8 weeks and older who have yet to be able to roll over. The messages from the experts vary, but there is certainly not enough evidence to conclude that swaddling is always a dangerous practice.