Swaddling blankets are large, flat blankets that can be used to swaddle newborns, among a list of other uses. The right swaddle blanket will be large enough both to comfortably wrap your baby but also to use for other purposes. A swaddle blanket can make a great ground cover for tummy time or a shoulder cover after a good feeding. Sometimes a baby's swaddling blanket will even become their beloved blankie as they get older.
In addition to being well-sized, a good swaddle blanket needs a couple of extra elements. First, you want the swaddle blanket to feel good. The fabric should be smooth and soft, after all, the purpose is to help your baby sleep, so you'll want to make it as comfortable as possible. A high-quality cotton, muslin, or bamboo fabric feels fantastic and is still durable enough to last. But you'll also want to consider the elasticity of the fabric.
Some parents love a non-elastic swaddle blanket because it allows you to fine-tune how tight the swaddle is while still providing an effective wrap. Others swear by stretchy swaddle blankets. These blankets have enough elasticity to give baby a little bit of movement without being so loose as to fall open. They're also a little more forgiving.
Baby swaddling blankets can be used for a number of different things. They're obviously named after the ability to help swaddle infants, imitating the tight confines of the womb and helping some babies to sleep. But they can also be used as a regular blanket, a tummy time ground cover and a burp cloth.
The best swaddling blanket will depend on your preferences, but in general, you'll want a fairly large cloth made of a comfortable material like cotton or bamboo. Some parents also prefer stretchy swaddling blankets.
Absolutely not. Many parents raise multiple children without ever swaddling, but other parents find that their babies are much more comfortable and sleep better swaddled. Of course, whether they've outgrown their swaddle blanket or never needed swaddled in the first place, a good baby blanket is a super useful thing to have on hand!