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/ Source: TODAY
By Jessica Migala

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When your baby was handed to you in the hospital, she was probably wrapped up like a little burrito. And that little burrito was happy.

“Swaddles give baby a warm, cozy, cocoon feel that’s soothing,” said Dr. Karen Sheehan, Professor of Pediatrics and Preventative Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Aside from the in utero vibe, swaddles also help suppress their natural startle reflex, which often wakes them up.

What’s more, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe sleeping guidelines, babies under the age of 1 shouldn’t use blankets, as it increases the risk of SIDS. Swaddling is an alternative to keep them warm. While swaddling itself is a controversial topic, the AAP said that a correctly wrapped swaddle (along with putting baby on her back to sleep) is an acceptable way to help newborns stay calm.

Once they hit 2 months, though, it’s time to stop swaddling, said Sheehan. At that point, you can start to use a sleep sack, which keeps them warm without a blanket. “Babies are starting to move around more at this time, and they’re just about ready to start rolling. You worry about the swaddle coming loose and getting wrapped around their mouth or face,” she explained.

To recap: swaddle until 2 months if you’d like. Then, until 1 year put them in a sleep sack.

Every mom knows there are so many styles when it comes to both, from wrappable blankets to Velcro closures, those that open at the bottom or zip up. Here are 8 great options from birth to first birthday:

Best Multi-Use Swaddle

Aden by Aden + Anais Swaddleplus, $35, Amazon

These are the classic swaddle blankets. They’re large enough to make DIY swaddling a possibility (it's harder that it looks) and muslin is a lightweight, breathable cotton. These come in a pack of four with impossibly cute prints. Even better: You’ll use these as blankets all the time. They’ll stick with you for years — and that makes the price so worth it.

Best Starter Swaddle

Miracle Blanket Swaddle, $30, Target

A 100 percent cotton swaddle, this one is suited for babes up to 14 weeks old. It’s easy to wrap your newborn in quickly so you don’t need any swaddle how-to knowledge or experience to do it. Pro tip: Reviewers say that there’s a notable difference in the fabrics between the styles — the grey is a softer, stretchier knit that wins over parents.

Best Fuss-Free Swaddle

Halo 100 percent Cotton Sleepsack, $23, Amazon

These use Velcro to fasten the “wings” of the sack, which has the added benefit of being more secure and less likely to open up. Even better: When you have a squirmer on your hands, Velcro makes it quick to get them into the whole thing. When you think they’re ready to transition, this can be worn with one arm out, then two.

Best arms up swaddle

Love to Dream Swaddle UP, $30 (originally $35), Amazon

Many babies hate to have their arms pinned to their sides — and they’ll grunt and struggle against the swaddle until they’re free. (By now, they’re probably crying.) Parents love the Swaddle Up because it’s a soothing snug fit but they can move around enough to sleep with their arms overhead.

Best for Staying Cool

SwaddleMe Original Swaddle, $29, Walmart

Generally, cotton materials are more breathable, and will help prevent babe from overheating, said Sheehan. This brand uses 100 percent cotton and features Velcro for a secure fit. Reviewers love it because it’s strong enough that it won’t pop open, easy to fasten for a tight fit, and the fabric is soft and stretchy.

Best for Quick Diaper Changes

The Ollie Swaddle, $65, Amazon

This is one of the more expensive options, but parents say it’s worth the splurge. The swaddle’s large Velcro sections make it easy to wrap baby up, and it also stays closed. Because it fastens on the bottom, you can easily open it and change your baby's diaper without needing to take their arms out — and that may mean (maybe!) that he stays sleeping.

Best for Older Infants

Zipadee-Zip, $39, Amazon

This is hands-down my favorite sack, and the one my second baby has been in since he was 6 months old. It wears like a squirrel suit, in that it’s like they’re wearing a blanket, but have complete mobility of their arms and legs. My guy is 11 months now (wearing the medium size) and can greet me every morning standing in his crib. Plus, the prints are darn cute.

Best Swaddle to Go the Distance

Woombie Grow With Me, $25 (originally $35), Amazon

They really think of everything, right? This swaddle can impressively fit babies from birth to 18 months with built-in expanders. When they’re newborns, this acts as a swaddle, when older, it’s a wearable blanket. Fellow parents stay it stifles squirms and keeps them snoozing longer. Because you can easily size up, it’s great for bigger newborns, too.

For more products that make baby's first year easier, check out:

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