Alaska Sleep Education Center

7 Best Sleepers and Swaddles for Motor Development

Posted by Adrianna Smith on Aug 12, 2021 10:58:03 AM

Sweet, sleeping baby

A baby’s safety and comfort should be every parents’ number one priority. And when it comes to sleep, there are several considerations that parents should take, to ensure their baby is secure and cozy. 

If you’re a newly minted parent, something as ordinary as choosing between sleepers and swaddles for your tiny new person can feel like such an intimidating and overwhelming task. Luckily for you, we’re here to help ease your nerves with some practical tips and recommendations for the best sleeper and swaddles for your little one. 

Let’s dive right into it!

The Best Swaddles for Babies in 2021

You’ll be surprised to learn that swaddling is a technique that has been around since 2000 BC. But despite being thousands of years old, plenty of people in the 1700s associated the method with neglect and abandoned swaddling altogether. 

It wasn’t until the 1990s that swaddling became a practice that mothers/parents once again used. 

How to Choose a Swaddle

Not all babies have the same preferences, which is what makes it hard for parents to figure out what they need. 

If only your little peanut-human could tell you! 

The best advice we have for parents is to go out and experiment with different products and see which one their baby responds to best. 

Here are a few of our recommendations:

Babylist’s Swaddle Box — Best Budget Swaddle Set

The great thing about the Babylist’s Swaddle Box is that it comes with four (4) different types of swaddles. As mentioned, babies have varying preferences, and what works for another baby may not necessarily work for yours. 

With this Swaddle Box, you can experiment with different types of swaddles and figure out what your baby likes, all below $100. 


Halo Sleepsack Swaddle Gift Set Bundle

The Halo gift set bundle comes with a pair of cotton swaddles, designed to help your baby get a comfortable and good night’s sleep. 

This is a great option for first-time parents who are still learning the ropes of their new position. It makes swaddling an absolute no-brainer, with its adjustable velcro wings and zipper! 

Unlike your usual swaddles, the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle doesn’t restrict your baby’s leg movement, allowing for better mobility during sleep.


Aden + Anais 4-Pack Classic Muslin Swaddles

If you’ve already made up your mind about using traditional swaddles with your baby, then the Aden + Anais Classic Muslin Swaddles are the right choice for you. 

They are breathable and lightweight, so your baby will have just enough warmth without sacrificing mobility and movement. These swaddles can also function as a nursing cover, a burping cloth, and a playmat. 


The Pros and Cons of Swaddling

One of the most popular benefits of swaddling is its ability to improve a baby’s quality of sleep. The method was designed to copy the restrictive environment of a mother’s womb, providing babies with comfort and familiarity that helps them sleep better and longer. 

But not all techniques are perfect; some risks do come with practicing swaddling with your newborn. 

For instance, swaddle too tightly and you risk cutting your little one’s blood and air circulation, making it harder for blood and oxygen to travel in their little bodies. There’s also the risk of hip dysplasia, which can happen when you swaddle too tightly around your baby’s legs. 

Prolonged swaddling may also affect your baby’s motor development and mobility, restricting his/her movement when he/she is awake. It can also increase your baby’s risk of SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome.

A good rule of thumb is, if your baby is perfectly fine without a swaddle, don’t bother to do it. 


The Best Sleepers for Babies in 2021

If you live somewhere with a warmer climate, then sleepers may be more appropriate for your little one. They are similar to a baby bodysuit, except their made of either cotton or fleece, which keeps newborns feeling warm and cozy as they snooze. 

When you use a sleeper, it’s often unnecessary to pair it with a swaddle. However, in colder climates, that might be a good idea. 

How to Choose a Sleeper

Fit is important when you’re looking for a sleeper for your baby. Make sure that it’s snug around his/her little body, and has no hoods or flaps that can pose a suffocation risk. 

Additionally, be wary of products that say they are “flame-resistant.”

Children’s pajamas are required by law either to be treated with fire-retardant chemicals, but as these chemicals are liked to increased risks of hyperactivity and lower IQ in children, we recommend choosing only untreated fabrics when buying baby clothes. 

Here are some of our recommendations: 

Burt’s Bees Baby’s Organic Sleep & Play Footie Pajamas 

Nighttime changes can be a challenging feat — you don’t want your little one waking up and causing a ruckus all night long. 

Burt’s Bees Baby’s sleeper has a convenient zipper that makes nighttime changes go by like a breeze. 

It’s light and breathable, allowing for optimum comfort and warmth for your sleeping baby. The non-skid footing also ensures new walkers are safe and secure as they trample around and play. 


Magnificient Baby Newborn Baa Baa Baby Magnetic Footie

If you’re like most parents who worry about catching their babies in a zipper, then say hello to magnetic closure from Magnificent Baby! 

This baby sleeper features a magnetic closure that’s safe to pull apart and close back together, without catching your baby’s skin. It’s made of 6% spandex, allowing for a more snug and secure fit around your little snoozer. 


SOLLY BABY Layette Sleeper Set

Living in an area with varying weather makes it necessary for babies to have flexible clothing choices.

The Layette is a two-piece sleeper set that allows for both comfort and flexibility. Parents can dress their little ones in just the shirt when it’s warm and put on the pants when the temperature gets cooler. 


Hanna Andersson Baby Zip Sleeper In Organic Cotton

This sleeper is made of 100% combed cotton that stays soft even after a hundred washes, making them great hand-me-downs (in case you’re planning to have more than one little crier at home). 

It’s a little bit on the pricier side, but it’s worth it considering its longevity and comfort.


The Pros and Cons of Sleepers

Baby sleepers aren’t just bedtime outfits; they’re also pretty great for tummy time and outdoor trips. It is a flexible piece of clothing that every baby should have! 

However, there is still a risk of your baby feeling too warm when snuggled up in a sleeper during summer. It’s best to make sure that the material you’ve chosen for your baby’s sleeper is one that is appropriate for your area’s climate. 


Other Considerations

As we mentioned before, improper swaddling can increase an infant’s risk of SIDS and impaired motor development. Keeping your infant still on their back is one way to prevent these issues from happening, which is why many parents are convinced to start using baby positioners. 

However, the FDA has warned against the use of baby sleep positioners and has slapped a dozen manufacturers with sleep positioner lawsuits to protect uninformed clients and their children.  You can find more about it on this site.

Furthermore, parents should never put pillows, blankets, loose sheets, comforters, or quilts under a baby or in a crib while the baby is sleeping. These seemingly harmless products can also put your child at risk of suffocation and other dangers. Adequate clothing can keep them comfortable and warm, even without the blankets and pillows.

If you have the perfect place for your baby to sleep; but they are having issues snoring or stop breathing while asleep, your little one might have a sleep disorder. Luckily, the sleep experts here at Alaska Sleep Clinic know all about sleep dilemmas, from insomnia to Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If you live in the Anchorage, Fairbanks, Soldotna or Wasilla, then be sure to give our experts a call for a free 10-minute consultation.

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Topics: baby, safety, sleep health

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