As you prepare for your baby’s arrival, you’ll probably stock up on a lot of supplies. (Because the last thing you want is to run out of newborn diapers at 2:00 a.m.) When it comes to baby blankets, though, it can be hard to guesstimate how many you’ll really need. And if you plan to swaddle your little sweetie in said blankets, you might think that you’ll need a bounty of them. We had real moms weigh in on just how many swaddling blankets you need to have, because it’s definitely not as many as you might think.
Here’s Why Swaddling Works
Swaddling has been around for centuries, Harvard Health reported. The act of tucking a blanket around a baby so that they feel safe and secure has been heralded by many bleary-eyed parents desperate for some zzz’s of their own. In the study, “Swaddling and Infant Sleeping Practices”, researchers confirmed that swaddling helps babies to sleep better, and in fact, more safely. “Swaddling is ideal for babies from birth to 16 weeks and is especially helpful when their startle reflex (the Moro reflex) is strongest during the first 12 weeks,” Sierra Dante, a pediatric sleep consultant tells Romper. The Moro reflex is when your sleeping baby will suddenly startle and flail their arms and legs. (And if you’ve ever worked hard to get your sweetie to sleep, you know that the Moro reflex can eff it all up.) And that’s when swaddling is an excellent sleepy time solution for your baby, since it keeps your baby’s arms and legs close to their body.
Swaddling Your Baby Should Only Be For A Short Time
But here’s the bummer about baby blankets. When it comes to swaddling, you only have a very narrow window of time in which to use them, and that’s why it doesn’t make sense to stock up on too many blankets. Juliana Parker, RNC-OB, a 17-year obstetrical and newborn registered nurse, explains: “Research demonstrates that swaddling older infants may increase the risk of SIDS because older infants begin to try to turn themselves,” says Parker. “If they are successful, the comforting swaddle may become a trap preventing them from getting back into a safe sleeping position.” She advises not swaddling your baby unsupervised once they reach eight weeks old, and to cease swaddling altogether once they show signs that they’re truly trying to roll over, which typically happens around the 4-month mark, per What to Expect.
Here’s How Many Swaddling Blankets You Really Need, According To Experts
So how many swaddlers is sufficient without having a barrage of blankets overflowing from your kid’s closet? Well, like most things, it depends primarily on your family dynamic. Naturally, having twins means that you’ll have double of everything. But if you have an explosive pooper on your hands, you might need to have extra blankies. After all, blowouts are messy as it is, but imagine having to unwrap your baby burrito to clean a diaper and a blanket, too. Not fun.
Still, according to pediatric sleep consultant Amy Motroni, you really don’t need a ton of swaddling blankets. “Since your baby should only use the swaddles for sleep, they aren't likely to get dirty,” she says. “Three to five swaddles that you can rotate between is perfect.”
And Here’s The Number of Swaddling Blankets Real Moms Swear By
Of course, more blankets means more laundry. And ultimately, it depends on how frequently you want to wash them — or your tolerance level for seeing a lot of laundry piling up. “My son had some reflux issues, so there was always a ton of vomit and I really tried to not do laundry every single day,” attorney Danielle Liss tells Romper. “However, due to his sheer baby strength, we gave up on swaddles and put him in those sacks." All in all, she says she had about 10 in total. So if washing your baby’s clothes and blankets on a daily basis isn’t an issue, you can probably get away with buying less.
And then, you might have a kiddo who just burns through their baby swaddle blankets, like Nicole Culver’s child. The mom of three and business owner tells Romper: We probably go through four to five a day, but we also use them as burp cloths too, and I swap them out super frequently."
At some point, though, your swaddles might need to get switched out due to heavy rotation. Case in point: when registered dietitian Katie Hiddleston had her babies, she says that she's "pretty sure we had three of the 'four packs' of the big Aden and Anais swaddle blankets — our favorite."
If you’re planning to swaddle your baby, you should stock up on some blankets, but not too, too many. After all, by the time you get used to putting your little one in what’s essentially a pint-sized papoose, they will probably start to outgrow this sweet (but fleeting) little swaddling stage.
Kelly, B., Irigoyen, M., Pomerantz, S., Mondesir, M., Isaza-Brando, N. “Swaddling and Infant Sleeping Practices” 2017.
Sierra Dante, a pediatric sleep consultant
Juliana Parker, RNC-OB, a 17-year obstetrical and newborn registered nurse
Amy Motroni, a pediatric sleep consultant
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