How to Swaddle a Baby

How to Swaddle a Baby


Your kid was likely wrapped in an excellent little package the first time she went to the hospital nursery, with only her fuzzy tiny head sticking out. That's because nurses know that swaddling is one of the secrets to a happy, peaceful infant. Swaddling is a process of swaddling newborns in a small blanket or cloth that dates back thousands of years. It's cute, but it also has the crucial function of assisting your darling pea in being calm and sleeping more peacefully. Here's how:

  • As your baby adjusts to life outside the womb, a swaddle can help her feel protected and secure.
  • Swaddling keeps her from flailing her arms and legs, which could set off her startle reaction and lead her to wake up.
  • Until her internal thermostat kicks in, a swaddle keeps the baby comfy and warm.

In summary, there is a slew of convincing reasons to give this age-old technique a shot. However, guessing out how to do it on your own can be scary, especially if you're tired. So here's how to swaddle a newborn like an expert, as well as the keys to keeping to safe swaddling techniques and knowing when to quit.

How to Swaddle

It may seem challenging to perfect your swaddling technique, yet it only takes a few steps to wrap your infant. Here's how to swaddle a baby with a blanket, with instructions on how to swaddle a wiggly baby and how to swaddle a baby with arms out if that's what your little one prefers:

Step 1 - Find a Flat Surface

Stretch your baby's swaddle blanket out in the form of a diamond on a level area, such as the middle of your bed, with one corner pointing up. About 6 inches from the top corner, fold it down.

Step 2 - Place Your Baby Face-up on the Blanket

Her head must be positioned above the blanket's folded border, and her body should reach straight down to the bottom edge.

Step 3 - Straighten Your Baby's Left Arm

Then drape the blanket around her left arm and chest on the left side. Tuck the veil behind her right arm and her back. Your baby's left arm will be covered at this moment, but her right arm will be free.

Step 4 - Bring up the Bottom

Pull the blanket's bottom corner up over your baby's body and tuck it beneath the first fold, just below her chin. Pull the right side of the veil over your baby's torso and tuck it under her left side, straightening her right arm.

Step 5 - Secure the Blanket

Twist the blanket's bottom loosely and tuck it underneath your infant. There are a few belongings to bear in mind. First, the wrap must be snug but not too tight. Second, between your baby's chest and the blanket, you should be able to fit two to three fingers, and the veil should be loose around her hips so she may stretch her legs freely. Finally, it's OK to leave one or both arms out of the swaddle if your baby seems to prefer having her arms free.

If your baby is too wiggly to obtain a snug swaddle, take a break and give her a few minutes to shake off her squirmies before attempting again. However, if your baby appears to be constantly trying to wriggle out of her swaddle, she may not be a fan or be too active for swaddling. In both circumstances, it's a good idea to try an alternative swaddle, such as a swaddling wrap with Velcro or zipper closures, or give up entirely because of a kicked-off blanket while your baby is sleeping, might cause asphyxia or strangling.

Is there a difference in how to swaddle a preemie? Swaddling a premature baby is equally as calming as swaddling a full-term newborn. However, instead of straightening her arms at her sides, consider putting them together in front of her on her chest, which might be more comfortable for some preemies. In no time, you'll have mastered the art of swaddling. If you're unsure, consult your child's pediatrician. If you have trouble swaddling, they can examine your technique and give you some tips. 

How to Swaddle with a Wrap

Do you want to swaddle your baby but don't want to use a blanket? Swaddle wraps with Velcro tabs or zippers are as safe as blankets and provide the same benefits without folding or tucking. Depending on which wrap your purchase, the particular directions will differ. However, they are often easier to master than blankets and are less prone to come undone.

Is Swaddling Safe

Does this make swaddling unsafe because babies and blankets don't generally mix? True, swaddling isn't entirely risk-free. Swaddling, on the other hand, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), can help your newborn sleep better if done safely and in compliance with other safe sleep guidelines. Suffocation could occur if a baby's face is covered by a swaddle blanket that is too loose or comes unwound during sleep. The danger is heightened by the fact that swaddled babies sleep more soundly. As a result, if swaddle blankets cover their faces, they may be less likely to awaken and alter positions.

Swaddle blankets that are excessively tight around your baby's hips are also not a brilliant idea. Swaddles that are too tight put her legs in an abnormally straight position, which can harm her hips, joints, and cartilage. Instead, the bottom of the swaddle should be loose enough for your baby's legs to stay bent up and out, as they would in a newborn sleeping on her back without a swaddle, to facilitate good hip growth. Wrapping your infant correctly will help them to sleep better while also offering you peace of mind. Here are some crucial swaddling safety considerations to remember:

Swaddle Snugly, but not too Snugly

You should be able to squeeze two to three fingers between the blanket and your baby's chest at the top of the swaddle. The swaddle's bottom should be loose enough for your baby's legs to remain bent and flared out.

Constantly Put Your Baby to Sleep on Her Back

Whether you're swaddling or not, it's the safest position. Make careful to tuck the blanket's bottom underneath your baby as well.

Keep Your Baby Cool

Overheating can result from swaddling, which increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Maintain a comfortable temperature in the room between 68- and 72-degrees Fahrenheit all year. Also, avoid the impulse to wrap your kid in multiple layers. Instead, a pair of pyjamas and a swaddling blanket should suffice to keep her warm. Sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and fast breathing are all indicators that your child is overheating.

Swaddle for Night Periods of Sleep and Naps

Swaddling your infant can help them sleep better both daily and at night. If the idea of putting her into a burrito blanket for hours at a time makes you uneasy, know that swaddling at nighttime isn't much riskier than swaddling during naps as long as you follow safe swaddling and sleep standards. Because she'll be waking up regularly to eat, you'll have plenty of opportunities to check on her. However, if peeking into her swaddle as she sleeps provides you extra peace of mind, go ahead and do so.  

Is It Okay to Not Swaddle a Baby

Many parents say that swaddling their newborns is the best way to calm them down. However, if your kid doesn't seem to enjoy it, you may be questioning if it's required. The truth is that not all babies want to be swaddled. Some people seem to find swaddles restricting and will try to break free at any opportunity. You don't have to wrap your infant if it makes them agitated rather than quiet. However, before entirely abandoning up, you might want to try out some different options. Leave your baby's arms out of the swaddling blanket if she seems to want them out. Swaddling might be more appealing to her now that she has more freedom. 

Do you have a little one who enjoys kicking? She could do better with a Velcro tab swaddle, which is more difficult to remove, and some secure baby's arms with swaddle "wings," a zip-up cocoon, or a sleep-sack swaddle hybrid which allows for more leg movement. You may require to try a few different swaddles before deciding which one your baby prefers, but once you do, buy a few extras in case of diaper leaks or spit-up. And what if none of them seems to be a good match? You are free to proceed. You don't have to compel your baby to wear a swaddle if she doesn't want to.

When to Stop Swaddling

For newborns, swaddling is a good idea. However, older babies who can break free from their blankets are at risk. Wrapping older babies can also obstruct their healthy development by preventing them from exercising age-appropriate motor skills. So, when should you stop swaddling your baby? When your baby grows more active and tries to roll over, which can happen as early as two months and is an excellent time to stop swaddling, but it happens typically around 3 or 4 months, you'll want to stop.

Even though your baby is no longer swaddled, she is still too young to sleep with a blanket. Instead, try a sleep sack to keep her warm while yet adhering to safe sleep requirements. Wearable blankets give an added layer of warmth, and some even have features that make it easier for babies to transition away from their swaddles. Swaddling can be scary at first, but rest assured: parents have been wrapping their babies to sleep for a long time, and with so many opportunities to practice, you'll soon master the technique as well.