What No One Tells You About Swaddle Blankets (But You Really Should Know)

Swaddle blankets – and choosing the right ones – isn’t really something people talk about. It seems like it should be self explanatory. Step one: get blanket. Step two: make baby burrito. Step three: all set. Then comes reality when you realize it’s not quite that obvious. Any baby shower will usually provide a parent-to-be with half a dozen different options. Where do you start?

Whether you’re the parent, a guest at a baby shower, or you want to bring something with you when you meet a new baby for the first time, you’ll want to choose the right kind of swaddle blanket, not just any soft cover. That can feel like an overwhelming choice when you realize that there are dozens upon dozens of designs, fabrics, and colors from which to choose…especially when the mom-to-be isn’t registered for any of them. What do you do? How do you know which ones are perfect for a baby bundle and which should be avoided?

If your gift basket or your baby’s nursery is in need of a swaddle blanket, here are some great tips to head you in the right direction:

  • Fabric – The fabric is an exceptionally important factor to consider and is the perfect place to start when choosing a swaddle blanket. The best ones are made from a premium quality 100% cotton material. The reason is that they’re gentle, hypoallergenic, soft, lightweight, and washable.
  • Type – There are lots of different styles and designs from which to choose.  Traditional ones are easily foldable and square. They’re the right size to tuck and fold around an infant. Others have various fasteners meant to make it easier to wrap the little one without as much of a learning curve. Either will do the trick, but they also each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Many parents have their own reasons for their preferences.
  • Size – Many doctors recommend using only swaddling blankets for swaddling. Just because a blanket is soft and hypoallergenic, it doesn’t mean it’s ideal for wrapping an infant. It needs to be big enough to get the job done, but too much fabric can risk loose portions that can end up covering a baby’s face, increasing the chances of suffocation – clearly something that needs to be avoided at all cost. Leave regular blankets for older kids and keep the right size of swaddling blanket for that task.
  • Price – It’s important to find a careful balance between affordability and quality.  While it’s always great to find a deal, the cheapest option isn’t always the best one.  Savvy shoppers find premium products and use coupon codes or wait for sales to get the best product at the lowest price.

That said, beyond choosing the right swaddle blankets, there are some additional facts about these soft and snuggly cloths that are also helpful to know.

  • One at a time – New parents may be tempted to double up (or more) with swaddle blankets on cold days. Unfortunately, that is more likely to cause a baby to overheat than to make him or her feel toasty. It’s better to use only one blanket, wrapped properly, in a room of an appropriate temperature.
  • Don’t rush – When you’re not running on any sleep, it’s easy to want to rush through the swaddling process. Especially when you feel you’ve got the hang of it.  Try to avoid that inclination and put the same amount of care into it every time. This will help to prevent the wrap from being too tight, too loose, or from holding the infant’s body in the wrong position – each of which come with risk that you can easily avoid.
  • They’re great multi-purpose blankets – Experts may recommend that you use only swaddle blankets for swaddling. That said, most babies end up with more of them than they actually need, and they grow out of them very quickly. While you can easily donate them, keep one in a memory box or store some for a possible little brother or sister in the future, there are other uses for them, too. For instance, many parents love to use this breathable cotton as a car blanket or seat cover, a breastfeeding cover, a toddler naptime blanket, or even a lovey as the baby gets older.

The health, safety, and comfort of a baby is always the top priority when choosing a swaddle blanket. When you make the right choice, that gentle cover can make all the difference to that newest little family member.