If you’re getting ready for baby you may be asking yourself how many swaddles do I need?
For first-time parents it can be extremely confusing to know exactly how many of each baby essential you are going to need.
And the answer can be quite personal and depends on factors such as how often you will do laundry, whether you have a dryer and whether you have a baby who spits up a lot (and therefore needs more clothing and blanket changes).
But as a general rule when planning ahead for how many swaddles you will need after your baby is born it’s best to have three to four swaddle blankets.
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Whether you need four or even more than that depends on how often you will be putting on loads of laundry and whether you have a dryer to help speed up the cleaning process.
I actually had 10 swaddle blankets, because I used these gorgeous giant muslin swaddles.
They can be used in a variety of ways, but I mainly used them as swaddle blankets in the early months and as burp and feeding cloths for the rest of my baby’s first year.
They’re also fab as tummy time blankets, changing mat covers and for playing peek-a-boo! I always had one in my bag when going out with my babies and plenty around the house.
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What is swaddling?
Swaddling is a traditional practice of wrapping a newborn baby securely in a lightweight blanket.
The blanket is secured around their body, arms and legs, with their head left uncovered.
The closeness of the blanket is supposed to simulate the snug feeling of being in the womb, and therefore calm your baby and help them to sleep.
A 2017 review of swaddling and its benefits for infants stated swaddling should be stopped once your baby shows the first signs of rolling over. This is for safety reasons.
The same study also highlighted the risk of hip dysplasia if swaddles are placed too tight on the baby, so always ask a health visitor for advice on getting the swaddle right if you’re unsure.
Some babies begin to roll over at around two to four months old. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends parents stop swaddling their baby at around two months.
Different types of swaddle
As with most baby products there are a very wide selection of brands and types of swaddle out there to choose from.
Which one you prefer will come down to your own taste and opinion on how you want to swaddle your baby.
The main types of swaddle are:
Any simple blanket can be used for swaddling, for example cellular blankets are often used for this purpose. It just needs to be large enough for the task.
The blanket will need to be thin and made from breathable fabric – fleece and woollen blankets are too thick and may cause your baby to overheat. This is why muslin swaddle blankets are so popular.
The benefits of using this to swaddle are that when you stop swaddling your baby at roughly two months you can continue to use them as simple blankets.
These make swaddling super simple because they come with poppers, velcro, zips or snaps that you simply fit together to create the swaddle. No folding, wrapping or tucking required!
This type of swaddle is much simpler for parents to use, but the downside of using these is that your baby won’t need them after as little as two months.
You could sell them on the secondhand market, but it is worth considering whether you would prefer to save the money.
There are a variety of different types on the market, with some providing options for having your baby’s arms out or inside the swaddle.
How many swaddles do I need?
It’s worth remembering that you don’t have to swaddle your baby, and so the answer to this question could be a simple none at all!
But if you’re considering how many 0-3 month swaddles you need then as a general rule three to four is a good starting point, as then you can have one in use, one in the wash and at least one spare at all times.
If you think you might swaddle, but could change your mind, then it’s worth getting plain blankets that could be used to swaddle, or simply as blankets that you lay over your baby and tuck under their armpits once they are too big to swaddle.
How many swaddles for the hospital
It’s sensible to pack two swaddles in your hospital bag for the birth.
You may already know you will have a slightly longer stay, for example if you are having a C-section. In which case you may wish to consider packing one extra just in case.
If your stay turns out to be longer than expected the hospital will have emergency spares they can provide you with.
What to use after a swaddle
If your baby is now too old to swaddle or has started to roll over to sleep on their front then it’s time to switch to something else!
You can continue to use blankets draped over your baby and tucked under their armpits, however many parents (this one included) swear by baby sleeping sacks. They fasten over your baby’s shoulders with zips or poppers.
These are amazing because your baby cannot kick them off in the night, so in theory won’t wake up due to feeling chilly.
Baby sleeping bags come in a variety of tog levels, so you can have lighter ones for summer nights and thicker ones to keep baby snug in the winter.
You can start to use baby sleeping bags from around eight to 12 weeks, but always check the guidance on the manufacturers instructions. These tend to focus on baby’s minimum weight for using the sleeping bags.