June 17, 2017

Best Swaddle For A High Needs Baby – Even When They Hate Swaddles

Updated July 23rd, 2018

There are two basic types of swaddles: A blanket that you wrap around the baby yourself or a pre-made swaddle that does the same thing as a DIY swaddle but take a lot less time to get baby wrapped up

Swaddling has come a long way. But we’re still loving the flower detail on the traditional version that doubles as a baby carrier!

If you’re not sure whether a swaddle is right for your tiny demon take a look at How To Swaddle a Fussy Baby for tutorials you can use to try some basic swaddle wraps. We recommend finding a wrap style that works for your baby before you spend your money on a pre-made wrap.

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Best Muslin Swaddle
Best Pre-Made Swaddle

Muslin Swaddles:

Muslin is hands-down the best fabric for babies. It breathes, it washes and if you get a good quality piece it will last you through a billion washes and 6 kids (not that you want 6 kids after having a high needs baby).

Traditional muslin is pretty coarse. Best used for making your own cheese. You know, with all that spare time you have


Muslin swaddles are all-purpose. They’re a summer blanket, a burp cloth, a bib, and although the big ones are REALLY big they will fold up teeny tiny to fit in a diaper bag. Hell, tie one at the corners to MAKE a diaper bag if you want. Who are we to judge?

Best Muslin: Ziggy Baby Swaddle Blankets

We were all about Aden & Anais muslin until we tried these. Ziggy Baby Swaddles are way softer (and get softer with every wash). Besides, they’re almost half the price. Sold!

Look at that gorgeous weave. A bad quality muslin would be uneven and gappy

Best for:

  • When you have a unique swaddling style and no pre-made swaddle will cut it (rock on, you beautiful beast!)
  • Parents who like multi-purpose items. Keep two of these on hand at all times – your older kid will use one as a lovie, we guarantee it
  • Small budgets and bigger families. These things will last for years


  • Soft. Seriously, the softest muslin we’ve ever tried
  • All-purpose. Receiving blanket, puke cloth, swaddle, sun-shade. In a pinch it will even work as a towel
  • Less expensive than the market leader Aden & Anais. And bigger too
  • Really cute patterns
  • The colors don’t run in the wash
  • They’re huge. The largest size is 48 x 48 inches (around 120cm x 120cm)


  • They come in a 3-pack unlike Aden & Anais Swaddles that usually come in a 4-pack
  • They’re huge (did we say that already?) Be prepared for a corner to drag on the ground when you’re wrestling a high needs baby, maybe a toddler, a diaper bag, some groceries, and that 10-gallon drum of gin that was on sale


You can’t go wrong with these muslins. Even if your baby never takes to being swaddled you’ll find a ton of other uses for them

Honorable Mention: Aden & Anais Muslin Swaddle

A&A have dominated the muslin swaddle market for a long time, and with good reason. This is a quality product and about half our group have at least one A&A muslin in their diaper bag.

Big soft beautiful muslin by Aden and Anais. Ruined by grass stains in 3… 2…. 1…

Best For:

  • Dedicated “free-wrappers” who don’t want a pre-made swaddle cramping their style
  • Baby shower gifts
  • Warmer climates


  • A&A have been around a long time and are a trusted name in baby products
  • You can buy just one swaddle if you’re not ready to commit to a 4-pack
  • The range of designs is vast. Ziggy Baby have a beautiful collection but are nowhere near the number of options offered by Aden and Anais
  • Different material options: Bamboo is pretty popular, a new offering beside the traditional muslin
  • Buying direct from Aden and Anais is a nice experience – their customer service is top notch and we like the global options


  • Sticker shock. Even though they last a long time, it’s tough to hand over that much cash for a piece of muslin
  • Some of the prints can make the fabric feel more scratchy than we’d like
  • The latest version of these feels like a lower quality than past years – the fabric is faster to de-thread and there’s a lot of excess lint the first few times they’re washed


A beautiful product for families who are dedicated to “free-wrapping” their fussy baby. Makes an amazing gift too.

Pre-made Swaddles

You’ve completed your free-wrapping apprenticeship and you’re ready to try a swaddle that does the wrap style you like in half the time, Let’s roll!

Best Arms-Up Swaddle: Love to Dream Swaddle Up 50/50 

By far the best swaddle for babies that hate swaddles!

The Swaddle Up Original was the only pre-made swaddle that uses the hands-up swaddle technique. The Swaddle Up 50/50 is the same principle but also comes with zip-off mitts that help baby transition out of a swaddle.

Best for: 

  • In the car or the swing. There’s a gap in the swaddle so you can do up the safety clip. Genius!
  • Swaddle-haters
  • Babies 4+ months. For 0 – 4 months the Swaddle Up Original is a better buy
  • Babies who prefer having their hands near their face


  • Our unswaddled Test Babies kept punching themselves in the face thanks to the startle reflex. The Swaddle Up 50/50 smothered the startle reflex just enough that it wasn’t an issue but didn’t interfere with free movement
  • Stops baby scratching themselves. And stops them scratching your boobs
  • The fabric is nicely lightweight
  • Free leg and hip movement
  • Just enough arm movement that if your baby learns to roll in the night they will be able to support themselves


  • It’s not exactly a swaddle so it almost didn’t make the list at all. It’s more like a sleeping bag with inbuilt mitts
  • Could use a waterproof lining around the hands. The mitt area gets soaked from being chewed
  • If baby is serious about stretching their arms above their heads the fabric can get pulled up over their face
  • Because it’s deliberately tight around the torso to mimic a hug, the Swaddle Up can run small – get a size larger if you’re not sure


A good swaddle for babies who hate having their arms pinned straight down or wrapped across their chest. Doubles as a sleep sack when the mitts aren’t being used. Anything that is multi-purpose gets our vote!

Plus size mom wearing her toddler in a Moby Wrap

Related: Moby Wrap Review: Like Stuffing An Octopus In A Sack

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One thought on “Best Swaddle For A High Needs Baby – Even When They Hate Swaddles

  1. I have tried so many swaddles for my fussy baby- even ordering the fancy schmancy ones that are supposed to work miracles, to no avail! Have any of you tried the Ollie swaddle? I ordered it, and tried it. It was the only swaddle my baby was not able to break out of, but she screamed her head off like a psych ward patient in a restraining jacket. I’d love to see your review of this product!

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