Swaddling your newborn baby can help provide comfort and promote better sleep. However, figuring out exactly how many swaddles you need in each size can be tricky. This comprehensive guide will walk you through how to determine the right number of swaddles for your baby.
Here is a quick overview of the recommended number of swaddles for each size:
- Newborn size: At least 6-8 swaddles
- Small size: At least 6-8 swaddles
- Medium size: At least 6 swaddles
- Large size: At least 4-6 swaddles
Of course, every baby is different and may go through swaddles at different rates. The best approach is to buy multiple swaddles in newborn and small sizes, and then adjust as needed once your baby starts transitioning to larger sizes.
What Size Swaddle Does My Newborn Need?
For the first few months, your baby will almost exclusively need newborn size swaddles. Newborn swaddles are designed to properly fit babies from around 7-10 pounds. Many parents find they need somewhere between 6-8 newborn size swaddles in the early months.
Here are some tips for newborn swaddle needs:
- Have at least 2-3 swaddles per day to account for possible blowouts, spit up, etc.
- Stock up on more swaddles if your baby spits up frequently or has reflux.
- Have a few extras on hand for when swaddles are in the wash.
- If you plan to use swaddles for going out, have 1-2 designated “going out” swaddles.
The main thing is ensuring you have enough swaddles to always have a clean one available as needed. For most babies, 6-8 newborn size swaddles is sufficient.
When Will My Baby Transition to Size Small?
Most babies will transition from newborn to size small swaddles sometime between 2-3 months old. Around 10-12 pounds and 22-24 inches long, the newborn swaddle will start to get snug and a size small will allow for more room.
Signs it’s time to size up include:
- The shoulders or arms are tight in the newborn swaddle.
- The swaddle doesn’t fully wrap around your baby anymore.
- You have to really stretch the newborn swaddle to get your baby in.
Every baby grows at different rates, so timing will vary. Pay attention to how well your newborn swaddles are fitting and make the change as needed.
How Many Size Small Swaddles?
You will need a similar amount of size small swaddles as you had in newborn size. Plan on having 6-8 size small swaddles available.
Even once your baby has transitioned, they will likely still use the size small swaddles for at least 1-2 months. It’s always good to have extras on hand.
Also, don’t get rid of the newborn size swaddles right away. Many parents find that smaller swaddles still come in handy for swaddling dolls or stuff animals, using as burp clothes, or other purposes around the house.
When is it Time to Transition to Medium?
The medium size swaddle is designed for babies typically between 3-6 months old. Around 14-16 pounds and 24-28 inches long is when most babies will be ready for a medium.
Signs your baby needs a medium swaddle:
- The small swaddle feels snug, especially around the shoulders.
- Your baby’s arms are getting cramped in the small swaddle.
- You have to really stretch the fabric to wrap your baby up.
As your baby continues to grow, you will find the small swaddle needs more frequent stretching and adjusting to still fit properly. The medium size will allow for more wiggle room.
How Many Medium Size Swaddles?
Around 6 medium size swaddles should be sufficient. Your baby will use this size for 2-3 months as they continue to rapidly grow and develop.
You may also find that swaddling needs decrease during this time, as some babies start to prefer having their arms out as they get older. But having enough medium swaddles on hand will provide you with options.
Transitioning to Large Size Swaddles
The large size swaddle is made to fit babies typically 6 months old and up. Around 16-18 pounds and 28-32 inches long, your baby will likely be ready for more room.
It’s time to size up when:
- The medium swaddle is snug around the shoulders and chest.
- Your baby’s arms and legs are cramped in the medium.
- You have trouble wrapping the medium swaddle around your baby.
At this point, your baby is bigger and may not enjoy being restricted as much. But large swaddles can still help provide comfort and security at night.
Number of Large Size Swaddles
For the large size, 4-6 swaddles should be sufficient. Since swaddling needs are often decreasing by this point, you likely won’t need as many.
Large size swaddles can also transition to use as lightweight blankets or burp cloths as your baby continues to grow. So the extras will still come in handy!
Specialty Swaddle Needs
In addition to having the right number of swaddles in each size, you may also want to get some specialty swaddles:
- Double swaddles – Great for babies that can wiggle out of traditional swaddles. Provides an extra snug fit.
- Hands-free swaddles – Swaddles that velcro or zip closed to make swaddling easier.
- Transitional swaddles – Convert to allow one or both arms out to transition out of swaddling.
- Swaddle sacks – Swaddles that zip up like sleep sacks but with arm restrictions.
Having 1-2 of these specialty swaddles on hand can provide extra options to help get your baby settled and sleeping well.
Other Swaddling Essentials
In addition to the swaddles themselves, here are some other handy items for swaddling:
- Swaddle blankets – Thin muslin blankets to use as an extra inner layer.
- Swaddle straps – Velcro straps to keep swaddle wraps secure.
- Swaddle transition suit – Transitional wearable blanket with arm openings.
These can help you get the perfect, secure swaddle for your baby.
Tips for Swaddle Success
Here are some top tips for getting the most out of baby swaddles:
- Use a thin swaddle blanket underneath to prevent overheating.
- Ensure the swaddle is tight enough to avoid startle reflex waking baby.
- Try double swaddling for super wiggly babies.
- Swaddle with arms down rather than up to promote better sleep.
- Wean out of the swaddle slowly if needed by leaving one arm out.
- Look for signs of rolling over to transition out of swaddling.
Following safe swaddling practices will help your baby sleep more soundly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you size up or down for swaddles?
It’s generally better to size up once a swaddle starts feeling snug on your baby. Going up a size allows for more room as they grow. Sizing down can lead to a swaddle being overly constricting.
When should you stop swaddling a baby?
Once your baby shows signs of trying to roll over, it’s time to transition out of swaddling. This typically occurs around 3-4 months old, but timing varies. Transition swaddles can help make this process smoother.
How many swaddle blankets do I need?
Good swaddle blankets are useful to have on hand to layer underneath swaddles. Shoot for around 5-10 swaddle blankets so you always have a clean one available.
Should I get all one brand of swaddles?
It’s fine to mix and match swaddle brands. Having different fastening styles like velcro or zip can be useful. Just ensure any swaddle you use meets safety guidelines.
What material is best for swaddles?
Light, breathable cotton or muslin is ideal. Steer clear of thick, heavy materials that could cause overheating. Organic materials are great for sensitive skin.
The Bottom Line
Determining how many swaddles you need per size ultimately comes down to your baby’s growth and preferences. The general guidelines are:
- Newborn size: 6-8 swaddles
- Small size: 6-8 swaddles
- Medium size: 6 swaddles
- Large size: 4-6 swaddles
Be prepared with multiple swaddles in the early months in newborn and small sizes. Then adjust down as your baby grows into medium and large sizes. Having the right amount of quality swaddles on hand will help ensure your baby is comfortable and secure.