Traditional swaddle wraps vs swaddle bags: What’s the difference?

Newborn Sleep Product Information
Traditional Wrap Swaddle vs ergoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Bag Traditional Wrap Swaddle vs ergoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Bag

Traditional swaddle wraps vs swaddle bags

Deciding what type of swaddle to use for your newborn baby can be a tricky decision for new parents who are learning about how to swaddle, particularly when swaddling plays such an important role for sleep and safety. 

Swaddling benefits include:

  • Soothing your newborn baby by mimicking the feeling of being in the womb.
  • Preventing a baby from startling themselves awake with their startle reflex movements.
  • Swaddling can lead to better sleep (hopefully).

There are two types of swaddles: traditional swaddle wraps and pouches (also known as swaddle bags). Both will ensure your baby feels secure and can help with settling to sleep, but they also have different benefits.

What’s the difference?

Traditional swaddle wraps:

  • Typically, these are muslin, cotton wrap or a thin blanket;
  • This type of wrapping is designed to swaddle your baby like a burrito;
  • Newborn babies are wrapped with their arms over their chests; 
  • Generally, this style will be shown in hospital after you have given birth;
  • This method can be hard to master, and you will often find your mini has escaped their wrap, leading to more wake-ups during the night.

 

Swaddle bags:

  • Swaddling using our Cocoon Swaddle Bag can help to calm a baby.
  • With one zip its easy to use and difficult to escape from (less fuss for you and them)
  • Gives a feeling of closeness and comfort, mimicking the womb;
  • Restricts startle reflex whilst allowing movement for healthy growth;
  • Usually zips up, making nappy changes quick and easy;

 

Key differences

More than just a Swaddle, comparison of ergoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Bag vs Other Brands Muslin Wrap More than just a Swaddle, comparison of ergoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Bag vs Other Brands Muslin Wrap

Safety guidelines for choosing a swaddle

When choosing a Swaddle Bag or wrap, consider the size and weight recommendations to ensure a proper fit for your baby. Look for swaddle bags made from soft, breathable fabric to keep your baby comfortable and safe (like our Cocoon Swaddle Bag). Additionally, consider the ease of use and whether the swaddle bag has features like a two-way zipper for diaper changes. Lastly, safety certifications must be checked to ensure the product meets recommended standards.

Safety guidelines for choosing a swaddle: Chest expansion, Arm Movement, Hip Joints Safety guidelines for choosing a swaddle: Chest expansion, Arm Movement, Hip Joints

Chest expansion
Please be wary of wraps and swaddles that don't allow for full and uninhibited chest expansion. A baby’s little ribs are still very soft and bendy, and an overly enthusiastic wrap has the potential to be too firm across the chest. 

Arm movement
Whilst the idea of a swaddle is to contain the startle reflex to keep baby from waking, babies also need some arm movement to promote healthy development and shoulder joints. A swaddle shouldn't be so tight that it pins your baby's arms in one place. Be sure to allow some natural arm movement (learn more about arm positioning and swaddling). Look for a swaddle with stretch to allow for this, like our Cocoon Swaddle Bag.

Benefits of the ergoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Bag Benefits of the ergoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Bag

For the latest research and guidelines around swaddling your baby, please visit Swaddling or Wrapping Baby by Red Nose.

Deciding what’s right for your family

We want to get across from this article that the choice is yours. How you choose to swaddle is how you choose. We are here cheering you on no matter what. This gig (parenting) requires everyone to be cheering on. Our only suggestion is to ensure your baby sleeps in a safe bag/wrap, in a safe space, with nothing inside their cot or bassinet and preferably in breathable fabrics. 

You've got this. 

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