How Many Swaddles Do I Need

You’ll probably want a minimum of three swaddling blanket options. Think of having enough swaddles to have one on your baby, one in the laundry, and one in case of emergency.

A minimum of three swaddling blanket options is enough to have one on your baby, one in the laundry, and one in case of emergency.

Swaddling your baby can soothe her and help her sleep. You’ll probably want to have a minimum of three or four swaddling options available: one on your baby, one in the laundry, and one or two more in case of emergency! Three to four is a good starting point for swaddle stash. Having more than that is fine too, but any less than that and you may find yourself running around trying to find a clean one while they’re tearing up their cribs having an exit-womb party

As a parent, we don't always get things right the first time. But babies are pretty good at letting you know when they need something, and how much of that something you need. Even though you may think three muslin swaddles is an overkill, having one on your baby, one in the laundry and one in case of emergency is better than realizing you have no clean swaddles as soon as your little one hits the end of their bedtime routine at night.

The amount of swaddle blankets you’ll need to have on hand is highly dependent on how often you do laundry. However, a good rule of thumb is to have one available on your baby, one in the laundry, and one as a spare. Keep in mind that there are several things to consider when selecting swaddle blankets aside from making sure they stay put.

We recommend three blankets per baby. That way, you can make sure there’s always one in the wash, one in the drawer and one on the baby.

How many swaddles do I need? And what about receiving blankets? Are these two items the same thing? Oh, if only there were a parenting hotline that you could call for all things newborn babies.

How Many Swaddles Do I Need?

If you were wondering, you weren’t supposed to just know the answer to these and other mamahood questions.

That’s why we’re building a community—to take the mystery out of all of this.

So, swaddling. Let’s have the conversation.

The different kinds of swaddles

Before we talk about how many swaddles you actually need, here is a brief overview of the different kinds of swaddles available.

muslin swaddle blanketarms up swaddle
zippered swaddlevelcro swaddle
lightweight swaddle with wings (zipper + velcro)
warm swaddle with wings (zipper + velcro)

“How many swaddles do I need?”

Now that you’ve seen the different styles of swaddles, let’s get to the question at hand: How many swaddles do you actually need for your baby?

The short answer is that you “need” two swaddles for your baby.

The long answer is that the number of swaddles you need really depends on:

How often you do laundry.

I always encourage new moms to buy extras of their ‘essentials’ to avoid having to do laundry/dishes every day.

The temperature variability in the room where your baby will be sleeping.

If you don’t have central air—or if you live somewhere with an extremely variable climate—it’s nice to have swaddles of different weights.

(It’s important to dress baby for sleep based on the temperature of the room.)

Whether your baby likes the type of swaddle you chose.

For example, some babies like their hands free, some babies like their arms straight down, etc. You won’t know until your baby tells you!

So which two swaddles should you go with?

If you’re a minimalist…

If you’re worried about accumulating too much baby gear—here are the 2 specific swaddle sacks I’d consider must-haves:

1Love to Dream Arms Up

This is a unique swaddle sack that positions your baby’s arms near their head, instead of at their sides or chest.

Many babies prefer to sleep in this position, so you 100% want this in your tool kit.

You should either buy size newborn (5 to 8.5 lbs) or size small (8 to 13 lbs). You’ll probably get more use out of the latter, though!

See it on Amazon2HALO swaddle with wings

This is an extremely versatile swaddle sack that gives you 3 different ways to position your baby’s arms.

This is a staple that you’ll be really glad to own. It’s worth every penny.

Get it in size newborn (6 to 12 lbs).

See it on Amazon

If you’re *not* a minimalist…

Even if you’re a “be prepared for anything” type of person (like I am), don’t go overboard with the number of swaddles that you get.

Four is the maximum number of swaddles that you need.

Keep in mind that since it’s only safe to swaddle for 2 months or less, this is a very short-lived phase.

If your baby starts rolling before 2 months, the phase will be even shorter!

Since everything about this period is unpredictable, it’s not a bad idea to start with the two “essential” swaddles above, see how your baby likes them, and then go from there.

You can always double or triple up on your baby’s favorites once you see what they are.

Not to mention, if they hate the ones you currently own, you’ll have a better sense of what else to try.

It’s all trial and error!

Next, we’re going to talk about which swaddle products NOT to buy for safety reasons. Then, we’ll cover a bunch of related FAQs.

What size swaddle sizes NOT to buy

You should only buy or register for swaddles in sizes Newborn and 0-3 Months.

Do NOT get any swaddles meant for older babies.

This is because according to the AAP, it is no longer safe to swaddle once a baby starts showing signs of rolling—and many babies start working on rolling at 2 months of age.

Related: What Not to Put on a Baby Registry

All swaddle sacks are not created equal

xAvoid weighted swaddles.

There are serious concerns about adding weight on top of a sleeping baby.

More on this later in the FAQs!

Avoid swaddles that are tight around the baby’s lower body.

Be careful with products that do not allow for a full range of leg movement, as this is linked to hip dysplasia.

Babies should be able to easily form an”M” shape with their legs while wearing the swaddle.

Products such as the following may be too tight in the hips:

  • SwaddleMe Pod
  • Sleepea
  • Ollie

Now that you know how many swaddles you need, which ones to buy, and which ones to avoid, let’s get into the FAQs!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about swaddling

Do I have to swaddle my newborn?

No, you do not have to swaddle your baby.

Swaddling isn’t for safety, it just provides comfort.

What are the benefits of swaddling?

The only actual benefit of swaddling is that babies tend to sleep better when swaddled (and as a result, parents get more sleep).

Babies enjoy being tightly wrapped because it feels like being in mom’s womb.

Swaddling prevents flailing arms (Moro Reflex) that often wake baby from sleep.

Swaddling does not decrease the risk of SIDS.

How do I know if my baby is swaddled correctly / if the swaddle sack fits correctly?

If you are using a blanket to swaddle, make sure that it’s snug on the upper body and can’t easily come undone.

Take care to ensure that the fabric can’t ride up over baby’s mouth.

Unlike the top, the lower portion of the swaddle should be loose to encourage healthy hip development.

The same advice goes for checking the fit of a swaddle sack…

Start with the manufacturer’s size guidelines for height and weight. Make sure the fabric can’t ride up over baby’s mouth. Ensure that baby’s hip region isn’t compressed.

When do we need to STOP swaddling?

The following is an excerpt from the current AAP guidelines:

“Parents should stop swaddling as soon as their baby shows any signs of trying to roll over. Many babies start working on rolling at around 2 months of age.”

Many safe sleep experts err on the side of caution, directing parents to stop swaddling at 8 weeks or first signs of rolling, whichever comes first.

Related: The Complete Guide to How to Stop Swaddling

Is the Nested Bean ‘Zen Swaddle’ safe?

SIDS researcher and pulmonologist, Dr. James Kemp, calls weighted garments for infants “a dreadful idea.”

“To put on anything that impedes their freedom to move when they’re in the prone position is a problem,” he says.

Read my in-depth article here: Are Nested Bean Sleep Sacks Safe?

Is the Dreamland Baby weighted swaddle safe?

Pediatric neurologist Dr. Sarah Rahal says:

“My main concern with these weighted sleep sacks being recommended in infancy is that a child who manages to roll themselves over in one of these sacks may not be able to unroll themselves because of the additional weight, increasing the risk for suffocation.”

Read my in-depth article here: Are Dreamland Baby’s Weighted Sleep Sacks Safe?

Is Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit safe?

There are several safety concerns surrounding Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit, a “swaddle transition” product:

  • It likely inhibits rolling.
  • It may decrease an infant’s life-saving arousal response.
  • It may pose a risk of overheating due to its thickness.

There is disagreement amongst safe sleep advocates about whether this product is weighted (which would be unsafe). The jury is still out on whether this is the case.

Read my in-depth article here: Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit: Is it Safe?

How many receiving blankets do I need?

This one’s easy… zero!

That’s right, you do NOT need to buy or register for receiving blankets.

Receiving blankets are tiny and will only be useable for a few weeks, at best.

You’re much better off getting muslin swaddle blankets, which are larger and more verstaile.

Not to mention, your hospital will probably send you home with a (free) receiving blanket, so you’ll have one on hand either way.

How many velcro swaddles do I need?

You should have a minimum of 2 swaddle sacks in your toolbox.

Whether you go with velcro or zipper closure is entirely personal preference.

(I preferred the zipper ones, as I felt they were more secure and exhausted-mommy proof).

How many muslin wraps do I need?

It’s nice to have one or two muslin blankets on hand—but keep in mind that swaddling “burrito style” can have a steep learning curve.

Many [exhausted] parents prefer swaddle sacks because they’re difficult to screw up.

Since muslin blankets have so many purposes, even if you don’t end up using them to swaddle, they aren’t a waste of money.

Articles related to building your baby registry:

Final thoughts on deciding how many swaddles to buy or register for

In order to answer the question of “how many swaddles do I need?”, it’s important to first ask yourself what your goals are.

If you’re a minimalist who is worried about accumulating too much baby gear, then the 2 specific swaddle sacks I recommended above should be enough for now.

If you want to be prepared for anything, grab one or two additional swaddle sacks in different styles. This way you’ll have choices, just in case your baby doesn’t like the others—or if you just need a break from doing laundry.

Just keep in mind, you don’t want to go overboard and buy more than 4 swaddles at this point in time; there’s no need since everything about this phase of life is unpredictable!

And remember that some products aren’t safe, so avoid weighted items or anything tight around the hips.

How Many Swaddles Do I Need for Newborn

Babies love to be wrapped up like a burrito. It makes them feel safe and secure (and also contains their startle reflex).

But which ones should you get? And how many do you need?

Especially if this is your first child, it can be hard to strike the right balance between being prepared and going overboard.

Not to mention, with so many swaddling products on the market, it can be really hard to know which ones are worth the money, which ones are gimmicks, and which one’s aren’t even safe.

In this guide, we’re going to answer a common question of new parents building their baby registries: “How many swaddles do I need?”

We’re also going to talk about the different types of swaddles, the best ones to have on hand, and the ones with safety concerns to avoid.

Let’s dive in!

how many swaddles do i need

How many swaddles do you need?

First things first… um, swaddles? What exactly are they?

Basically, a swaddle is a thin blanket that wraps tightly around your baby.


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The practice of swaddling has been used for centuries all over the world.

It’s a great way to recreate the warmth and comfort of the womb and help your baby (and you) get a good sleep.

One way it does this? By helping out with what is known as the Moro reflex (AKA the startle reflex).

This is when, in response to a noise or movement, babies throw back their heads, extend their arms, and cry.


Swaddling your baby can help keep things a little less startling for them, which helps them sleep more peacefully.

If the idea of swaddling feels daunting, don’t worry—your nurse or midwife can teach you the tricks of the trade while you’re still in the hospital.

You can also check out our step-by-step how-to guide on how to swaddle your baby.

How many weeks should you swaddle a baby?

You can swaddle your baby from birth until they’re about eight weeks old.

When they start, it’s a good time to stop swaddling.

The reason? They might be in more danger if they roll onto their stomachs while swaddled.

For more information on creating a safe sleeping environment for your baby, the American Academy of Pediatrics has published some handy guidelines.

If your baby is breaking free of their swaddle on a nightly basis, it’s also a sign that it’s time to start the transition away from the swaddle.

How long does it take baby to adjust to no swaddle?

There’s usually a bit of a transitionary period that goes with learning to nap without the swaddle.

Babies often take a week or two to adapt—but there are no hard and fast rules here.

(If you need to hear this right now: you will sleep again. Here are some tips on getting into a sleep schedule, if you need them)

Are receiving blankets and swaddles the same thing?

The basic difference between a receiving blanket and a swaddle is the degree of technology.

Swaddles (also called swaddling sacks or pouches) typically have all sorts of features—straps, pockets, snaps, velcro attachments—whereas a receiving blanket is really just a simple blanket.

Swaddling can be done with either.

Each one has their benefits.

Receiving blankets are great to have around because they are so versatile.

When they retire as swaddling blankets, they may find a new life as a burp cloth, for example.

Swaddles, on the other hand, just make everything so easy to navigate.

All the fasteners help to get your baby snug, quickly and easily.

You’ll find your groove. You may find that a swaddle is useful at night while a receiving blanket works for nap times. There’s no one way to do this.

So how many receiving blankets does a newborn need? And what about swaddles? Let’s take a look.

How many swaddling blankets do I need?

You’ll probably want a minimum of three swaddling blanket options.

(That may mean one swaddle and two receiving blankets. Or three swaddles. Or three receiving blankets—whatever works)

(Remember that babies love to drool, vomit, and release all sorts of bodily fluids. The laundry is never-ending)

You know what’s best for you, how much support you have, and what laundry facilities you have at your disposal.

As long as you have a clean swaddling blanket waiting in the wings, you’re good.

Happy swaddling.

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