Swaddling a baby in a soft blanket helps keep them calm and warm. The result is a contented child and less stress in the home. Choosing the right swaddling blanket is important to ensure the baby's comfort.
1. Texture and Breathability
The swaddling blanket you choose should be very soft to the touch. Avoid stiff fabrics or those that feel a bit scratchy. Blankets with some breathability are also preferred, particularly for spring and summer swaddling. Thinner blankets with a medium-weave tightness are ideal for year-round use, although you may want a thicker blanket for winter if you live in an extremely cold climate.
Babies have sensitive skin, so you want a swaddling blanket that won't cause any irritation. Two materials that are gentle and rarely cause infant skin irritation are cotton and bamboo fibers. Avoid wool, as it can be scratchy and some infants have an allergy to the lanolin in this fiber. Fully synthetic fibers can also irritate an infant's skin. Opt for organic fibers when possible, as well, to further reduce the chance for irritants.
3. Easy Maintenance
You will likely need to wash the swaddling blanket often. Choose one that can be machine-washed in hot water, as this helps to kill any germs that can be transferred to the blanket during daily use. Blankets that can be machine-dried are also preferable for ease of care. Stain resistance is a plus, or you can opt for a patterned or darker-colored blanket that is less likely to show any stains that may occur. Avoid materials that are known to shrink. Blankets made of materials that stretch in all directions are less likely to shrink, and they will retain their shape after use and washing.
Check the blanket carefully for durability. Seams should be rolled under, as raw edges will eventually fray after many uses. Double-stitched seams that don't pucker or have loose threads will last much longer than those that aren't sewn in with as much care. The fabric of the blanket itself should have a consistent thickness, with no thin or worn spots.
5. Size and Style
An ideal swaddling blanket is much larger than a receiving blanket. A larger size makes it much easier to swaddle the baby as they grow. You can also opt for a swaddle suit, which is a swaddling blanket that is made to wrap around the baby. Suits are secured closed with a zipper or hook-and-loop tape.
The right blanket will make swaddling your child a snap, leading to more comfort for both parent and child.