Note: There is no one universal “best,” especially when it comes to parenting. These are “The Best Velcro & Zip-Up Swaddles” based on Also Mom's strict criteria, detailed here.
When it comes to swaddling, you could torture yourself and try to origami your way to the perfect baby burrito (out of which your little Houdini will likely escape anyway)… or you can just get yourself a cheater swaddle and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Cheater swaddles come in two basic forms– zip-up one pieces (like the ErgoPouch, Woombie, and Love to Dream swaddles) and pouches/zip-up sleep sacks with velcro wings (like Halo and Little Lotus swaddles).
These are the best velcro and zip-up swaddles out there…
- Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle (~$25) – The Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle is the best swaddle out there, but neutral patterns and colors are extremely limited. (Beware: There are some real landmines.) We love that this swaddle is downright easy to use– just zip and velcro– and even the wiggliest of baby Houdinis cannot accidentally startle themselves free. This swaddle can be used with both arms swaddled, one arm swaddled, or no arms swaddled (like a sleep sack), and can easily be kept on for diaper changes and midnight feeds. It's available in two sizes (newborn and small) and two tog weights (1.5 and 3.0). [full review]
- Embe Babies Two-Way Swaddle ($30 – $35) – We love the look of this swaddle, with its simple, neutral designs and high quality fabrics. The only velcro swaddle that allows legs out, the Embe Babies Two-Way Swaddle is a pouch/zip/velcro system that functions similarly to the Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle but with a little less ease and a little better aesthetics. The Embe is great for summer babies or those who live in warm climates, but because of the lightweight fabric, it is not ideal for those who experience cooler temps. [full review]
- ErgoPouch ErgoCocoon ($24.99 – $44.99) – The ErgoCocoon looks great, comes in a variety of tog weights (0.2, 1.0, and 2.5), and comes in two sizes. It is very simple to use (one zip and you're done), but because of the single zipper system, you cannot easily leave this sleep sack on for nursing or bottle feeding sessions, assuming you want your baby's arms to be free. There is also a bit of arm freedom within the sleep sack, which some babies love and other babies do not. [full review]
- Ollie Swaddle ($59) – With its beautiful colorways and soft, moisture-wicking fabric, the Ollie Swaddle is a wonderful option for those who want a swaddle that is both effective and nice on the eye. It secures below the shoulders, which is a bit different than most swaddles and can take a bit of getting used to. Once you get the hang of it though, the Ollie Swaddle works like a charm and grows with your baby too. It only comes in one weight– lightweight– and is great for warmer climates but not ideal for cooler nights. [full review]
- Gunapod Swaddle Sack ($39.99) – Cozy duvet meets snug swaddle with the Gunapod Swaddle Sack. Rated a 2.6 tog, it is ideal for cooler room temps (sub 68 degrees), and is a great option for those who aren't sure if their baby will like to be swaddled, since it transitions seamlessly into a mini sleep sack. The color options are limited (heather gray is the only decent option) and you'll have to remove this swaddle entirely to feed with baby's arms out, but otherwise we love this swaddle for cooler climates. [full review]
- Woombie (~$30 – $40) -The Woombie works. Because it has a single zipper design, you must remove the swaddle entirely if you want your baby's arms free during feeds, though the two-way zipper does make swaddled diaper changes possible. The Woombie is only available in two tog weights– 0.2 and 1.0, both of which are more suitable for warmer climates. If you have a winter baby or it gets chilly where you live at night, this is probably not the right swaddle for you. Another bonus: It also comes in an extra large “Mega” size, fitting babies up to 25 pounds, which is great for larger pre-rolling babies who still feel most secure when swaddled. [full review]
- Baby Mori Newborn Swaddle Bag (~$70) – From the UK, this gorgeous, organic swaddle bag is similar to the Woombie and the ErgoPouch in design. It is also nearly twice the price. [full review]
- Little Lotus Swaddle ($75) – With a design nearly identical to the Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle, the Little Lotus swaddle uses Outlast temperature-regulation technology, first developed for NASA spacesuits, which helps keep babies at the perfect temperature in room temperatures between 64-72 degrees. It is totally foolproof for parents, baby Houdini-proof for babies, comes in two sizes, and is especially wonderful for worried parents who are constantly checking to make sure their little Goldilocks isn't too hot or too cold. [full review]
- Love to Dream Swaddle Up (~$30 – $45) – Great for some babies and not great for others, the Swaddle Up is not a traditional swaddle and does not secure baby’s arms down or crossed. Instead, this swaddle’s snug fit and flying baby squirrel/arms up positioning helps calm baby’s startle reflex while still allowing babies to use their hands to self-soothe. Parents who have tried more secure swaddles and determined their babies do not like them– but still have babies who startle awake– might want to give the Swaddle Up a try. Babies who prefer a more secure swaddle will likely not sleep well with this swaddle. [full review]
Which is the Best Cheater Swaddle for Your Little Houdini
- Best all-around, totally foolproof swaddle… Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle.
- Best swaddle for summer babies… Embe Baby Two Way Swaddle, Woombie, ErgoPouch ErgoCocoon, Ollie Swaddle, Baby Mori Newborn Swaddle Bag.
- Best swaddle for winter babies… Gunapod Swaddle Sack, ErgoPouch ErgoCocoon, Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle.
- Best swaddle for babies who don’t love swaddles but still need their startle reflex tamed… Love to Dream Swaddle Up.
- Best swaddle for parents worried about temperature regulation… Little Lotus Swaddle.
- Super photogenic, Insta-worthy swaddle… Ollie Swaddle, Embe Baby Two Way Swaddle, Baby Mori Newborn Swaddle Bag.
What Makes a Great Velcro/Zip-Up Swaddle
To us, a great velcro/zip-up swaddle is…
- Inescapable. Even baby Houdinis cannot wiggle free from our favorite velcro and zip-up swaddles.
- The right temperature for your baby's sleep environment. (See our article on “How to Dress Baby for Sleep” for more on this topic.)
- Easy to put on, easy to take off, and easy to put back on again.
- Versatile, allowing both arms swaddled in, one arm swaddled, or both arms free.
What Didn't Make the Cut
These are a few beloved cheater swaddles we don’t recommend and why, though some sleep-deprived parents still swear by their miracle powers…
- Summer Infant SwaddleMe Original ($9): These things are cheap for a reason. Instead of a zipper, baby’s feet go into a little pouch, and despite the velcro, babies tend to escape these (both hands and feet) with ease. Spend a bit more and get a Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle.
- Zipadee Zip ($35): Very similar to the Love to Dream Swaddle Up, the Zipadee Zip is an arms-up zip-up swaddle sack. The Zipadee Zip is only available in loud, obnoxious patterns and unflattering colors. The design is also very angular and not to our taste.
- Nested Bean Zen Swaddle ($30): This weighted swaddle provides baby with a bit of extra comfort, as though he is being held or mom’s hand is still resting lightly on her chest. Unfortunately, the swaddle design is lacking. It comes in one size for babies zero to six months, and only fits well for babies somewhere in the middle. It looks awesome in Pearl White and some parents swear by it, but we recommend Halo or Little Lotus over Nested Bean.
- Miracle Blanket ($30): Some parents swear by these so we won’t knock them entirely, but the Miracle Blanket is not love for us. The hugely long piece of fabric is complicated to wrap compared to a velcro or zipper swaddle, and it doesn’t come in particularly nice colors.
- Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit ($40): Another sleep tool some parents swear by, we find the Magic Sleep Suit to be mostly ridiculous and moot. Desperate parents looking for a transition solution between swaddling and unswaddling drop $40 on one of these marshmallow suits, only to realize they don’t help all that much. We recommend a gradual transition by swaddling one arm out, switching to the Swaddle Up, or going cold turkey and doing away with the swaddle altogether.