Blankets are great for lots of uses during the day when baby is awake, but swaddling is better for sleeping, for your little one and for you. Properly designed swaddle wraps allow for some hip and leg movement, help your baby sleep longer and more soundly on her back and help her stay wrapped better than she might in a blanket.
Rachel Y. Moon, MD, FAAP and SIDS researcher at UVA, writing on behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics about loose blankets, toys and other items that can potentially be hazardous, says “Nothing else should be in the crib except for the baby.”
The International Dysplasia Institute says, “A swaddle wrap should allow for proper hip and leg movement to avoid the risk of developmental hip dysplasia”. That means that it wraps more snugly around the baby’s chest and arms for a soothing, womb-like experience, but allows for some movement of his hips and legs, which is difficult to accomplish with a swaddling blanket (and don’t forget to wean him off of the swaddle when he starts to roll onto his stomach or is 2 ½ to 3 months old, whichever come first).
Baby blankets also have many uses. They are great for using in the stroller and as cover when breastfeeding in public. They are also good for laying baby on the floor for what the American Academy of Pediatrics calls “tummy time”. They suggest, “Tummy time is for babies who are awake and being watched. Your baby needs this to develop strong muscles… When the baby is awake, vary her position. Limit time spent in freestanding swings, bouncy chairs, and car seats. These items all put added pressure on the back of the baby’s head.”
Baby blankets and well designed swaddle wraps are both indispensable in baby’s first few months.