Swaddle VS. No Swaddle

Before our little peanut came along, swaddling was a word that probably never passed our lips, BUT after having baby boy, swaddling became one of the most important words spoken those first few months.  Swaddling seems like a new thing on the baby scene but in reality many cultures have been swaddling their child for many many years.  I think it is more popular now because of Dr. Karp’s book The Happiest Baby on the Block, and because easy peasy swaddling blankets are sold in the stores.

So what is all the craze about??  Read on my friend, read on.  Click here for the ALL the versus hot topics!

swaddling a baby

Swaddle Blankets VS. No Swaddle Blankets

Swaddling is basically the act of wrapping your child in a blanket in a manner that their arms are tucked in at their sides.  It is supposed to create a “womb-like” feel because they are wrapped tightly, just as they were when they were all squished up in the womb.  The idea behind it is that when a baby is born they miss, and crave, the womb and/or things that remind them of it.  White noise, a heart beat, skin to skin (laying a baby on your bare chest), and swinging are all things that recreate the womb outside of momma, therefore calming a baby who is shocked by the cold, bright world.

Pros and Cons

Swaddling a Baby


  1. Swaddling may calm a fussy baby
  2. Helps a baby sleep longer by preventing the startle reflex from waking them
  3. May teach a baby to fall asleep on their own


  1. Is a “sleep prop” that baby may come to rely on
  2. May only work with one persons swaddling style
  3. Will have to wean baby from when he/she can roll over

Not Swaddling a Baby


  1. Baby won’t get used to it as a sleep prop
  2. One less thing to remember to pack when leaving home
  3. Don’t have to rely on the swaddling skills of one person


  1. May take longer for baby to sleep well during naps and over night
  2. Startle reflex will wake baby up
  3. Baby may come to rely on other props to get to sleep (rocking, nursing/bottle, swing, etc.)

My Take on Swaddling a Baby

Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle!!!  Baby boy (who is almost 1 year old) is our first child, and we swaddled him from the get go, and he is such an awesome sleeper!  Granted I don’t have anything to compare him to, so I don’t know if the swaddle is what did it for him, or if being a good sleeper is just in his DNA.  At 3 months he was sleeping from 10pm to 7:30am, and at 4.5 months he was sleeping from 8:30-7:30.  He has never looked back and has continued to sleep about 11-12 hours each night.  I thank the swaddle!

We had good luck with the Summer Swaddle Blankets that have the velcro on it.  He would fight us when we swaddled him for sure, but once he was swaddled and in his crib he was a happy baby and would put himself to sleep within 15 minutes.

Our primary use for the swaddles was at nap time and night time.  For the first month or so of his life we would feed him, keep him awake for a bit, and then swaddle him up.  He would then fall asleep and we would start the cycle over again.  The key was to swaddle him and put him down for a nap before he got too fussy.  The first sign of agitation meant nap time.

We also used the swaddle to calm him if he was very angry for some reason.  We took a page from the Happiest Baby on the Block and completed the 5 S’s, and it usually worked very well.  You can read how we used the swaddle here:

Weaning him bit by bit by swaddling with one arm out, then both arms out, then just at nap time, then without it totally worked very well.  Things to keep in mind about safety:

  1. Keep mindful to not overheat your baby
  2. Swaddling too tight leads to hip dysplasia (see below).  Summer Swaddling blankets allow the legs to be free.
  3. Swaddling a baby too often during the day does not allow them to practice motor skills.  Sticking to nap times is best.

Helpful Websites

  1. Baby Center’s steps for swaddling
  2. Parenting Patch article on hip dysplasia
  3. Dr. Sears’ Alternatives to Swaddling

Helpful Products

  1. Summer Infant Swaddleme Blankets
  2. HALO SleepSack (for when baby is weaned off of swaddling)
  3. The Happiest Baby on the Block Book

What is your take on swaddling a baby?




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