Getting your baby to sleep is one of the most important things as a new parent. After you bring your little one home from the hospital, their sleep will be unpredictable and it may be driving you up the walls!
Many new parents turn to swaddles to help their babies sleep longer stretches and feel more comfortable as they adjust to life outside the womb. And there are a lot of swaddle choices to choose from, but these two seem to be the most popular. Since we had experience using both of them with our babies, we decided to put them head to head in this review to help you make an informed choice.
Why choose a swaddle?
It is widely believed that swaddling prevents your little one from waking up because of their startle reflex. This is because they are tightly wrapped in their swaddle which makes it less likely for them to flail their limbs.
"Swaddling is a traditional practice of wrapping a baby up gently in a light, breathable blanket to help them feel calm and sleep. They should only have their body wrapped and not their neck or head. The idea is that being swaddled will help your little one feel snug and secure, like how they felt in your womb." (Source NCT).
Swaddling your baby comes with its own risks. If your'e not swaddling your baby properly, using too many blankets, or wrapping them too tightly there is a chance of overheating or suffocation. It's important to learn how to swaddle correctly so that your baby is sleeping safely.
Get to know the miracle blanket
Image source: miraclebabyusa.com
My personal experience:
Price: They are about ~$29 each on Amazon (Cheaper if you buy them second-hand, but they may be stretched out). I have 3 of them and sometimes I honestly needed all 3 in a night. Once we moved from size 2 to 3 diapers, we had a day when she peed through 3 of these in a single day. So, it gets pricey. I'd recommend new moms to get 2 of them to start (3 is probably overkill, but does make laundry easier!)
What are the Benefits?
- This thing is "Houdini-Proof". If you've got a wiggler, they are NOT getting out of this. The way that it works is that the arms are tucked into these flaps that lay beneath baby's back so that their body weight keeps them wrapped up tight.
Here are some helpful video instructions on how to use it...(trust us, it is very confusing at first if you're just seeing it for the first time)
- It's pretty lightweight. I swaddled her in this with a onesie on and she doesn't wake up sweaty! I also have swaddled her in this just in a diaper and she doesn't mind it either, so all options work.
No Arm Holes
- There aren't any arm holes here that you need to worry about. Getting her into the swaddle and off to the crib is a quick fluid motion and can be done easily when you take sleeping baby out of the car and want to do a quick swaddle before putting her in the crib all while maintaining sleepy-drowsiness.
Lasts up to 3 mo (or more)
- This model seems to last longer (up until 3 mo) because of the fact that it keeps her arms in place so well. I used the HALO for the first month or so, but then she began instantly breaking out of that and her little hands could be seen popping out by her chin.
What are the cons?
Not all fabrics are the same
- I used these second-hand from my sister who used them with her kids and they were quite stretched out. The "zig zag" patterns seem to hold up a lot less than the grey ones. The material is less stretchy and it causes the "foot" pocket to be super gape-y and then it doesn't hold their tiny little feet inside. This is my first baby and I want most everything I bought for her to last for baby #2 so for longevity, I'd recommend going with the GREY color if you're going to buy one of these because of that.
It's tricky to learn how to use
- It's not simple to figure out how to use. If you get one of these pre-baby and you pull it out once baby is there, I promise you, you'll wonder how it works. You need to watch a quick YT video on how to do it and then you'll be golden. It's not hard though, I promise.
Better for older babies
- I found that the HALO was much quicker and easier to use when baby was tiny because she would wiggle down in the Miracle Blanket and the 'neck' part would come up over her face and scared me a lot. As a new mom you're always worried about suffocation and to wake up with your baby's mouth partially covered by the swaddle totally freaked me out.
Getting to know the HALO sleepsack
Image Source: halosleep.com
My personal experience:
Price: They are about ~$21 each on Amazon (Cheaper if you buy them second-hand). I have 2 of them we seemed to be the right amount. Just make sure if you're buying them second-hand that they have velcro on them, as some of the older versions don't have any velcro and they don't stay swaddled as tight.
What are the Benefits?
Quicker and easier to use than Miracle Blanket
- This thing is pretty fool-proof. But there's still one tiny catch (the single arm folding over the flap)
Video instructions on how to use it...(it is very confusing at first!)
- This thing is a lot easier to change a diaper in because you just zip it off (from the bottom to the top) and can change a diaper real quick. Great for those middle of the night changes every 3 hours the first few weeks
Can grow with different sizes
- I can't speak from personal experience, but a lot of moms love that the HALO can be used later on with larger sizes and the arm holes allow baby to grow with them. Keeping it consistent is important and it seems to be a good system, if you're up for buying more sizes. (We switched to the Magic Merlin instead) once she started to grow out of it.
What are the cons?
Stops Working for Older Wiggle Babies (2-3 mo)
- We loved the HALO sleepsacks the first month and a half, but shortly after she started growing out of it. She would wiggle her arms out almost instantly and try and pry her way out of the top of the sleepsack so it didn't do a great job of keeping her hands to her sides and preventing startle reflex.
Fabric isn't the same
- Same as with the Miracle Blanket, we quickly developed a "preference" for the cotton fleece cream one rather than the colorful smoother cotton. The reason that we liked the other one so well was that the velcro portion was able to attach anywhere, not just to the velcro landing strip that was sewn on. That way, no matter her size, we were able to get a tight swaddle for her in that fabric. So despite the cream being incredibly boring :), I'd recommend getting that fabric instead of the other ones for usability.
Zippers can be finicky
- I have some of the older versions of these and the zippers were much larger and clunkier metal-looking. I also have 2 brand new ones and the zippers are tiny and white. It seems that HALO has been trying to figure this out because the tiny zippers work probably 80% of the time, but after a few laundry washes, it became harder and harder to zip them quickly. When you've got baby to sleep finally and want to toss her into the HALO, it's hard to make a quick move when the dang zipper keeps catching.
Arm Holes Required
- The arm holes are required to use this right, which is a little bit more stimulating then just wrapping up baby when you're trying to get them to sleep. Having to position her in and then grab her arms and get them into the holes takes a bit of practice to do it quickly and calmly as to not stimulate her.
Head to Head
- Both were accepted at the daycare I chose (I couldn't imagine taking her in at 3 mo and not continuing to swaddle her as her sleep seems to largely depend on being all wrapped up!)
- Ideally, if I had both of these (which I did) then I would use the HALO first and then later move to the Miracle Blanket at 1.5/2 mo.
- If I had to chose one, however I would chose the Miracle Blanket in grey fleece material and use it all the way until 3-4 months when they need to transition out of swaddling all together. The anti-wiggle-houdini-arm-feature really does beat the HALO hands-down in keeping her swaddled tight and I think helps her sleep longer at night (which is the most important thing!)
We hope this helps you make your decision on which one (or both) to buy for your baby.
Either one you choose will still cause your parents to say, "OMG that baby is wrapped up in a straight-jacket!" or "You were never swaddled as a baby, and somehow you're still alive!" 🤦♀️
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