Parents of newborns often expect to sacrifice some sleep in the early months of their child's life. However, some babies are especially fussy and have a hard time settling down, even when they're tired. This can be frustrating for both parents and babies. Fortunately, you can help your baby relax by using the traditional technique of swaddling.

Swaddling uses a length of cloth to snuggly wrap a baby's body. Many babies feel comfortable and secure when swaddled, which can help them fall asleep and stay asleep. Swaddling blankets are specifically designed to help parents swaddle their children. Here are four things you should look for in a swaddling blanket:

1. Sufficient Length

Swaddling blankets should be large enough to completely encircle your baby's body. A snug swaddle is key is the key to success, so you don't want to purchase a blanket that is too short. Look for swaddling blankets that are long enough to securely wrap around your child's arms and legs without any extra dangling fabric that could create a strangulation hazard.

2. Ideal Shape

Some swaddling blankets are designed to encase your child's body like a sleeping bag. Parents who are new to swaddling may find that these specially shaped swaddling blankets are a big help. Swaddling blankets of the correct shape can make it easier to contain babies' squirming limbs. If you choose this type of blanket, you can experiment with different shapes until you find the one that best suits your child.

3. Soft, Climate-Appropriate Fabric

Babies have tender, delicate skin. Harsh fabrics can cause irritation and even rashes. When selecting a swaddling blanket for your child, choose soft fabrics that will not cause discomfort. Microfiber and fleece are two excellent fabrics to choose from. Remember to also take your area's climate into account. If you live in a warm area, make sure you choose blankets that are made from breathable fabrics, so your child does not overheat. During winter, you can select a fleece blanket that will help your child stay warm.

4. Comfortable Closures

Some swaddling blankets feature closures that will help your swaddle stay put. If you choose a swaddling blanket with closures, make sure to choose closures that are comfortable for babies. Snap closures are easy to use, but some babies have nickel sensitivities that mean that metal snap closures may cause irritation. Velcro is another popular closure that is ideal for baby supplies.