A lot of new parents experience many sleepless nights because:
- They fail to put their newborn to sleep
- The baby keeps waking up in the middle of the night crying and screaming
The solution? Swaddles!
Swaddles are a godsend for all those parents. They are not just for cute baby burrito photoshoots. That one piece of cloth does wonders for the comfort of both parents and babies.
A swaddled infant sleep for longer without waking up due to the startle (Moro) reflex. Swaddles also help in maintaining babies’ back-sleeping position. They also mimic the touch of a mother that is vital to keep babies calm when they suddenly wake up at night. Swaddles are great to soothe babies with colic as well.
In short, swaddles keep the baby calm and let them sleep more, which means mom and dad can also get a good night’s sleep.
While many parents know the importance of swaddles, they don’t know how many swaddles does a newborn need. Join us as we find out how many swaddles do you need for your baby and all the useful information about swaddles and swaddling.
What Is a Swaddle?
Swaddles are thin blankets used to wrap newborns, so they don’t wriggle out and continue to sleep without abrupt awakenings. A good swaddle imitates the warmth of a womb and mitigates the effects of the startle reflex.
Swaddling— an Ancient Practice Across Civilizations
Interestingly, swaddling is not a parenting fad that has propped up after some new medical research. It has been around for hundreds of years. Humans across different civilizations have used swaddling as a simulation of a mother’s womb to soothe newborns and make it easy for them to fall asleep for long hours.
Generally, swaddling is done for the first 4-5 months. As the baby starts developing better limb movement and the weaning starts, you don’t need swaddling anymore. There is no hard and fast rule for whether babies should wear anything under their swaddle blanket or not.
For newborns, a lightweight, soft cotton swaddle proves to be enough. You can also put your baby in a short-sleeved onesie if it is not too hot. During colder months, it is better if your baby wears a sleeper or gown made of warm fabric under the swaddle.
Are Swaddles and Receiving Blankets the Same?
For many new parents, the debate of swaddle blankets vs. receiving blankets always remains confusing. Both swaddles and receiving blankets are essentially thin, lightweight baby wraps and used during the first year.
To avoid the confusion between the two once and for all, remember this thing: you can use receiving blankets as swaddles, but you can’t use all types of swaddles as receiving blankets.
The main difference between swaddles and receiving blankets is that the former may come with several features. A swaddle blanket may have zippers, Velcro straps, wings, pockets, and other features. On the other hand, a receiving blanket is a simple no-frill rectangular or square blanket.
The simple construction of a receiving blanket makes it a versatile baby accessory. You can use it as a regular blanket to cover your baby. You can also use it as a makeshift baby bed sheet on top of crib sheet.
The other difference between swaddles and receiving blankets is a swaddle is generally bigger than the receiving blanket.
BONUS TIP: If you are still confused and can’t make out a difference between the two, just opt for the options that are categorically sold as swaddle blankets. Since they are solely designed for swaddling, you won’t struggle to use them.
Types of Swaddles
There are essentially two types of swaddles you will find on the market.
- Traditional swaddles
- Swaddle sacks
As the name suggests, traditional swaddles (also called muslin) boast the simple making that has been around for hundreds of years. It is just a large piece of thin blanket that you can use for swaddling as well as a burp cloth and regular blanket.
If you want to stick to a traditional option and don’t want to get overwhelmed by all the options available in the market, here’s a suggestion for you: Aden + Anais Swaddle Blanket.
This Aden + Anais baby product comes in thin, breathable piece of clothes that is made of 100% pure cotton to ensure complete baby comfort in all seasons. The blanket is large enough to fulfill your swaddling needs, and your baby won’t outgrow them anytime soon.
Swaddle sacks are innovative sacks designed for parents who haven’t learned the art of wrapping babies like a burrito. Swaddling sacks often come with features like zippers, wings, snaps, and Velcro to help you snuggle your baby into the blanket without any hassle.
Usually, swaddle sacks feature an adjustable closure with hook and loop patches so you can adjust the sack in line with the size and comfort of the baby. Soft and breathable material is used to make these sacks so that your baby will not overheat irrespective of the outside temperature.
Roadside baby stores and online marketplace are brimming with swaddle sacks with all sorts of inventive designs and features. If you don’t want to get spoiled for choices, you should consider this Simple Joys by Carter’s Cotton Swaddle Sack.
These soft and warm swaddle sacks are also made of 100% cotton and perfect for infants up to nine months. Despite featuring a hook and loop fastener, these swaddle sacks can be machine washed. We also like this swaddle and recommend it to others due to its womb-like shape that encourages good sleep.
How Many Swaddles Do You Need?
The discussion until now hopefully helps you know swaddles in more details and get some options to consider your little angle. However, the question remains how many swaddles does a newborn need on average. It is difficult to give a particular number of how many swaddle blankets do you need to see through the first few months of infancy.
But let’s try to find out how many swaddle blankets would be enough for your newborn.
Before we discuss different scenarios where swaddles may come in handy, it is important to determine the minimum amount of swaddles that should be part of your newborn’s wardrobe. When we asked different new mothers, the general consensus was that parents must have three to six swaddles for their babies, i.e., at least one or two to wear, to wash, and to spare.
However, you can have as many swaddles as you want, depending on a list of different factors. Here, we will share with you different scenarios and the corresponding numbers of swaddles that you would need.
Different Swaddles for Different Time of the Day
The sack-style swaddles remain a good option for the night because they ensure a firm yet soft wrap that remains intact even if the baby wakes up and gets fuzzy while you are asleep. Swaddle sacks are also great when you are going out with your baby.
On the other hand, traditional (muslin) swaddles are great for naps throughout the day. If you like the above minimum swaddle equation, you would need at least six swaddles in total (three each).
How many swaddles do you need also depends on your laundry routine. If you do the laundry one or two times a week, you may need to double the number of swaddles you have.
If you use different types of swaddles for different times of the day, you should get 12 swaddles for your baby.
Swaddles and Spitting Up
Spitting up is a common phenomenon among babies. Research suggests that almost half of all the healthy babies spit up in their first three months due to infant gastroesophageal reflux.
If your little one is among those infants, not only will the baby bibs be affected by the spit ups and vomits but they will get their swaddles all messed up too. In this case, you need to double the amount of the minimum swaddles you have initially bought. Those extra swaddles will save you from getting strapped into laundry all the time.
How Many Swaddling Blankets Depends on You
The answer to the question, “how many swaddles do I need?” is pretty clear – you could get at least 3 to 6 swaddles for a start, although there is no fixed number of swaddles that parents need.
It is also evident that the more, the better, since having some extra swaddles in your baby’s wardrobe will only make your life easier.
Safety Tips When Swaddling Your Baby
Before we wrap up this piece, it is important to share some swaddling safety tips with all the new parents to avoid from creating a hazard to babies.
Wash Before Use
Most swaddles are ready-to-wear when you take them out of the packaging. Even though they are clean and harmless, it is better to wash them before the first use. This wash will take care of every last bit of any manufacturing stench and stain left on the cloth.
Don’t double wrap or swaddle your baby because it might change coziness into overheating. Even if the weather is cold, put your baby into warm clothing instead of double-swaddling them. A single swaddle remains breathable and keeps it snugly.
Put Hands Over Chest
Medical specialists strongly advise against swaddling a baby with their arms on the sides because it might limit mobility and cause joint problems. Instead, put your little one’s hand on their chest and then wrap them in the swaddle, or zip/fasten the blanket if it is sack-style.
Stop Swaddling When They Start Rolling
Different babies start rolling over at different ages. Some may start as early as four months, while others may take more than six months to develop this new tendency.
When your baby starts rolling over, you should stop the swaddling practice and let your baby have an arm-free sleep. Consult your baby doctor for better guidance.
Is It Better to Swaddle with Arms In or Out?
You can go with either of the options. If you feel your baby is more comfortable with their arms free, keep the arms out when swaddle. And when you swaddle with arms inside the blanket, keep them on the baby’s chest.
Is It OK to Keep Baby Swaddled while Feeding?
Many babies doze off during feeding, especially if they are snuggled in a swaddle. Take the baby out of their swaddle while nursing them to ensure they get enough nourishment before drowsing again.
Can Swaddle Cause Overheating?
Swaddles alone don’t cause overheating since they are made of light and breathable cotton. However, a baby that’s wearing warm clothes, wrapped in a swaddle, and covered in a woolen blanket may start feeling the heat when the weather is not that cold. Therefore, be mindful of the total number of layers on the baby.
What If I am Unable to Wrap the Baby in a Swaddle Blanket?
If you can’t snuggly wrap the baby in a muslin blanket, there is no need to worry. You can opt for sack-style swaddles like the one we have mentioned above. They also offer the same function and let you swaddle your child for comfortable sleep and naps.
All in all, a baby wardrobe with at least three to six swaddles will be a good start. Alternatively, you could also consider ten swaddles of different types and styles, which is sufficient if you are regular with your laundry.
We would recommend you to have both traditional and sack-style swaddles in the wardrobe. Of course, at the end of day, it is up to individual preference on the type and number of swaddling blankets to get, as long as it works best for you.
How many swaddles do you go for? Or how many swaddling blankets and swaddling blanket size do you think is necessary? Share with us your thoughts and experience to help other parents too!