Researchers have found that a babies sleep better when swaddled with a baby blanket. The risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) also reduces if babies are swaddled, and placed to sleep on their back. Swaddled babies sleep better on their backs than unswaddled babies, as the wrap helps calm their startle reflex. It also gives warmth, security and comfort to your baby, helping her to sleep better.
The blanket or wraps you choose to swaddle your baby in can also become a comfortingly familiar item when you put your baby down to sleep somewhere away from home, or go on holidays, even after she has outgrown swaddling. So choosing the ideal baby blanket for swaddling your baby is of great importance. See below for some blankets and wraps designed specifically for swaddling. But first, some factors you should consider when choosing the blanket.
The safety of your baby should be the prime concern. Overheating and swaddling tightly are two things that should be avoided. The fabric of the swaddle blanket must be breathable and lightweight to ensure that air can circulate through the blanket so that your baby doesn’t feel too hot. The fabric must be stretchable in order make sure that your baby can move without any discomfort. A cotton blanket or muslin wrap are both very good, breathable swaddling options.
It is ideal to use organic baby blankets for swaddling your baby. Organic blankets are made from purely organically grown fabrics which don’t contain pesticides and other harmful chemicals. The skin of your baby is very soft and sensitive. Even small amounts of toxic chemicals might cause allergies and other skin and health problems for your baby. If you do choose to buy organic, be sure the fabric is certified organic and that you are buying from a reputable supplier.
Size and Design
The size of the baby blanket is another important factor. Usually swaddling blankets are square in shape. Often they are oversized to enable you to wrap the blanket more than once around your baby, like the miracle blanket, with it’s extra wide wings. A blanket that is too small will quickly be outgrown. But it should not be so big that it becomes too heavy and thick. Besides, if the blanket is too big, it will cause you difficulties while carrying it with you when you go for outing. For a standard square blanket, ideally, if you want the blanket to last past the tiny newborn weeks, you will want a swaddling blanket that at least one metre square (40 inches), but no more than around a 1.3 metres in width. Unfortunately, most baby blankets are less than one metre, or 40 inches, wide.
Another thing that you need to consider is that the blankets should ideally be machine-washable and durable as you will need to wash them frequently.
The design and color of the baby blanket you buy is your personal choice. Newborn babies can only see color in tems of contrasts, so pastels will not have much impact on your baby, but when you are choosing blankets for sleeping, that is probably a good thing. Extra stimulation is not what your baby needs at bedtime. But, if this is going to be a blanket your baby will keep for years to come, it is worth the extra effort of choosing an attractive design and colours that you like.
There are various different blankets and wraps and designed specifically for wrapping babies, from the miracle blanket, which is specially shaped to make it easy to wrap your baby snugly, to the Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe which has a pouch for baby’s legs and feet, and arm flaps that use velcro to stay closed.