Is the Ollie Swaddle Really Worth It? A New Mama's Honest Review
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Before my little guy was born, I wanted to read up and research as much as possible to be as prepared as I could be. I knew that having a newborn is a beautiful challenge, but I thought that if I was prepared and gained as much knowledge as possible, I could have a leg up and have more of those beautiful moments. Preparation is key, right?
I knew that baby sleep was a particular sore spot for new parents, so I took online classes and learned how to wrap a fluffy stuffed animal into a perfect little burrito using a colorful muslin swaddle blanket. I ordered some beautiful Aden + Anais printed blankets for some hospital photos. “I’ve got this,” I thought as we packed up all our baby gear and headed to the hospital to meet our son.
More: Our Honest Review of Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit
Flash forward to an induction, an epidural, no sleep, a fainting husband, lots of pushing and 36 hours later, a nurse wheeled me and my new little bundle into a postpartum room at 10:45 PM. “Get some sleep,” she said as she wrapped Hudson up in a receiving blanket and placed him into the little hospital bassinet. The door clicked closed behind her and my husband and I locked eyes. What now? Do we take turns sleeping and watching his every move to make sure he’s still breathing? How do we know if he has a dirty diaper? Will we wake up if he cries? There were definitely no beautiful hospital photos.
One hour later I woke up out of a light sleep to a little newborn cry. I slowly crawled out of bed and picked up Hudson, still in disbelief that I had a new baby. I fed him and changed his diaper and then confidently grabbed his receiving blanket. I tried to swaddle him. Why was this so much harder than the teddy bear? I tried again, and thought “this blanket is different than my muslin swaddle.”
I dug through my hospital bag and pulled out the muslin Aden + Anais blanket that had the comforting smell of Dreft baby detergent. I laid it out on the bed, folded it as I was instructed per my class, and tried to wrap Hudson up. He was crying now. On the first try, the blanket felt too loose as he began to wiggle free. I wrapped him up again and it felt too tight. Then it was too close to covering his face. Finally after about 30 minutes, defeated I pressed the call button. The nurse came in, got him swaddled up swiftly and placed him down in his bassinet again. One hour later, same thing! Finally the nurse brought us in a fleece Halo swaddle. I zipped him in and finally felt confident that he was secure and closed my eyes.
What is the Ollie World Swaddle?
The Ollie Swaddle is a stretchy swaddle blanket which uses velcro tabs and a small elastic band at the bottom to help bundle up your babe. These features eliminate the need to ensure the perfect wrap and tuck of a traditional swaddle blanket. The Ollie Swaddle is made with moisture-wicking material to help keep your little one at the perfect temperature. Living in Minnesota this was a must for us! Our older home is full of charm and comfort, but is lacking in the climate control department.
The velcro tabs are large making this very adjustable to fit any size baby, and to continue growing with them. The elastic tie that the bottom serves the same purpose-- adjustability. Once babies can roll over, or show signs that they may roll soon, it is no longer safe to swaddle them with their arms tucked in for sleep. They need to have their arms and hands free to push their little faces up off of the mattress should they roll over to their tummy. This transition can be hard for babies who are not yet ready, or who require that cozy feeling to sleep. The Ollie Swaddle boasts even more versatility since you can wrap babies up with arms out or one arm in and one arm out, while still keeping them snug, to help transition out of the swaddle.
The Ollie World Swaddle was developed by a mama who fostered a sweet little babe, Oliver, for a year. Oliver was not sleeping well, eating well or hitting his developmental milestones. This incredible lady created the Ollie Swaddle when none of the other swaddle blankets and swaddle products that she had purchased worked for him. Once Oliver started using the Ollie Swaddle, he began sleeping well and both of their lives were changed for the better. As all of you new mamas know, a few solid hours of sleep can absolutely change our lives and the lives of our babies.
Why use a Swaddle?
Swaddling is such an important tool in our baby's sleep journey. Shortly after birth, babies often startle themselves awake with little movements or a startle reflex. This is known as the “Moro Reflex” and is completely normal and indicative of healthy development. Though normal and healthy, this can seriously impact our babies’ sleep!
In the past, we remedied this by placing babies to sleep on their tummies. Now, it is recommended to place babies on a firm surface with no loose bedding on their backs to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Swaddling provides a warm cozy environment to help babies feel comfortable enough to fall asleep and also keeps those little arms put so they don’t startle your babe awake.
Our Journey and Experience With the Ollie Swaddle
When we got home from the hospital, we continued using the Halo Swaddle. It worked great for our little peanut for the first few weeks. My husband started referring to it as “old reliable,” after we gave up trying to swaddle with traditional muslin swaddle blankets. Once the temperature started warming up in the summer, we noticed our little guy getting too warm in the fleecy Halo Swaddle. Knowing that overheating is a risk factor for SIDS, we needed something cooler than the Halo Swaddle, but easier to use than a regular swaddle blanket. I cranked up my air conditioning and took to the internet for some suggestions.
I first heard of the Ollie Swaddle from the Taking Cara Babies Newborn Sleep class. I absolutely love all of Cara’s classes and Instagram resources, but that’s a story for another day. Cara mentions the Ollie Swaddle as her favorite swaddle blanket. I found myself reading positive review after positive review and decided to order an Ollie Swaddle.
When the Ollie Swaddle arrived, I used it right away for a nap. To my surprise it was so easy to use right off the bat which, as you know, is often not the case with any baby gear. It’s a rectangular blanket with two velcro tabs and a little tie at the bottom. I laid Hudson down onto the blanket and aligned him with the indicator on the back of the blanket and ensured the blanket was a few inches below his shoulders. I wrapped Hudson up with his little arms down at his sides, velcroed him in, ensuring there was enough wiggle room for his hips, and tied up the extra fabric at the bottom.
The first time I wrapped him a little too loose and he was able to wiggle a bit too much. The fabric came up close to his mouth so I spent the whole nap with my eyes glued to the baby monitor. I quickly learned to wrap him tightly and then stick a few fingers between his little chest and the blanket to make sure it wasn’t too restrictive and that he could breathe comfortably. It came in a handy mesh bag to use for washing and storing.
The Ollie Swaddle Review: Pros and Cons
As with every baby product, prop and gadget, the Ollie swaddle, certainly has its pros and cons.
- Easy. This is probably the most important thing to me when looking for a baby sleep product. No buttons, zipper, ties, folding and loosening after swaddling.
- Versatile. So many baby sleep products can be used only for a few weeks due to the incredible growth and change that occurs in the first six months of life. You can use the Ollie swaddle from day one and through the first few months of life. You can even use the Ollie Swaddle as a swaddle transition product with one arm in and one arm out once your babe can roll over.
- Adjustable. The large velcro patches and elastic tie make this swaddle able to custom fit the tiniest of babes and the chubbiest little loves. It is one-size fits all so if shopping on a budget, this could be the only swaddle you need.
- Fabric. Wrapping your baby in the swaddle will keep them cozy and warm, but due to the moisture-wicking fabric, it’s unlikely that they will overheat. This makes it superior to fleece in my opinion.
- Accessible. The tie at the bottom gives you easy access for those middle of the night diaper changes making them just a bit more tolerable. Not that Hudson ever slept through a diaper change, but getting him completely undressed and unswaddled usually made our time until back to sleep much longer.
- Laundry Bag. It comes with a mesh laundry bag! You put the swaddle directly in this bag for washes. This is great not only for the swaddle but all those tiny little baby socks and gloves that seem to disappear after one use.
- Dryer Safe. It’s dryer safe so you can sneak it in to be washed between naps. I would still recommend buying multiple for an emergency middle of the night leaky diaper and because let’s be honest, if we can skip a few days of laundry here and there, it’s worth it.
- Giving Back. The Ollie World Company donates swaddles to babies in the foster system so by purchasing swaddles from this company, your money is in part being used to help vulnerable little ones in need get better sleep.
- Honestly this is the best swaddle product we used and I can’t think of any cons aside from the fact that I wish there were more colors to pick from! My first choice color was sold out so I had to wait a few weeks until it was back in-stock to order it. In retrospect, I should have checked Amazon!
What’s the Final Verdict?
The Ollie Swaddle is an absolute must have! I wish I could tell you that as soon as we started using the Ollie Swaddle, we all slept through the night, but that is not our reality. We started using this swaddle when Hudson was a few weeks old and developmentally, he wasn’t ready to sleep long stretches so our expectations were realistic. It did help his naps to get a bit longer and eventually our stretches at night got longer and longer, which was such a game changer compared to the frequent wakings in the first few weeks.
It’s amazing how your life seems to turn around with better sleep, even if it is in shorter chunks than you were used to pre-baby. It was so easy to use that we didn’t have to fight with a swaddling blanket in the dark during those late-night diaper changes and feedings. It also, most importantly, made me feel that my baby was safe in his bed and that is worth every penny to me. After tying out the Ollie Swaddle, we didn’t even need to try the other swaddle blankets on my list such as the Love to Dream swaddle, Swaddleme, or Woombie.
We decided to transition to the Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit once Hudson started rolling over prior to putting him to bed in a sleepsack. He did not love having his arms out initially despite a few attempts. This worked better for us in our sleep journey, but many people successfully keep their little ones in the Ollie swaddle beyond this four-month mark.
I ended up buying four Ollie Swaddle Blankets; two for daycare and two for home and I still feel that was a great decision. I will absolutely recommend Ollie Swaddles to all of my new mama friends to help them on their sleep journey and hopefully get them at least a few extra minutes of precious shut eye. Looking down at your cute little babe swaddled up like a colorful little burrito and knowing that they are safe is such a great feeling that I want all the other moms out there to experience, too.
The Ollie Swaddle is a stretchy swaddle blanket which uses velcro tabs and a small elastic band at the bottom to help bundle up your babe. These features eliminate the need to ensure the perfect wrap and tuck of a traditional swaddle blanket. The Ollie Swaddle is made with moisture-wicking material to help keep your little one at the perfect temperature
- takingcarababies.com. First Five Months Bundle. 2023.
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Lauren Anderson is a new mom living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She has a busy career in health care, and in her free time loves to hike with her husband and son, Hudson, train for half marathons, and experiment with new recipes in her kitchen.