In case you didn’t know, swaddling brings a lot of benefits to your little ones, but the process might be unknown to many new parents. With that in mind, we are here to help. Read on to learn how to swaddle your baby with our detailed swaddling guide for new parents.
Benefits of Swaddling Your Baby
Swaddling gives your baby the feeling of the days back in the womb, when everything was comfortable, safe, and snug. Here are the key benefits of swaddling for both parents and babies:
- Sleep better
- Offer less anxiety on the baby's side because it mimics the mother's touch.
- Prevent any unnecessary wake-ups due to the startle reflex.
- No need for items like pillows, bumpers, blankets, stuffed animals
- Reduce the chance your baby might scratch their face.
- Maintain your baby’s sleeping position.
- Soothe babies with colic.
- Help your baby learn to self-soothe and get back to sleep on their own.
Step-by-step Guide to Swaddling your Baby
Follow these steps to swaddle your baby with a blanket. This method also includes how to swaddle a baby with arms out. Just choose what technique your little one prefers and let's get started!
Step 1: Find a flat surface.
Spread the swaddle blanket out in the shape of a diamond with one corner pointing up on a flat surface. This can be your bed or any safe and flat surface. Now, fold the top corner down about 6 inches to complete step 1.
Step 2: Place your baby face-up on the blanket.
Your baby's head should sit above the folded edge of the blanket. Also, their body should extend straight down toward the bottom corner.
Step 3: Straighten your baby’s left arm.
After that, take the left side of the blanket and wrap it over your baby's left arm and chest. Next, tuck the blanket underneath their right arm and back. At this point, your baby’s left arm will be covered while the right arm will be free.
Step 4: Bring up the bottom.
Fold the bottom corner of the blanket up over your baby’s body and tuck it under the first fold which is right under their chin. Straighten your baby’s right arm and pull the right side of the blanket over the body and tuck it under the left side.
Step 5: Secure the blanket.
Loosely twist the bottom of the blanket and tuck it underneath your baby. Double-check to make sure everything is right and your baby is totally secured in the blanket. In case your baby prefers having arms free, then it’s fine to leave one or both arms out of the swaddle. Simply repeat the above steps but skip the part about your baby's arms.
Note: The swaddle should be snug but not too tight. Therefore, you should be able to place two to three fingers between your baby’s chest and the blanket. Also, make sure that the blanket is loose around your baby's hips so they can move their legs freely.
In the past, it was traditional to swaddle the baby’s arms at the sides, but this can cause joint problems and limit mobility. Place baby’s hands over the chest before wrapping, or with a swaddle sack that requires no wrapping, put your baby in, place baby’s hands over the chest again, and zip!
Safe Swaddling Tips
Learning how to swaddle your baby correctly is the key to ensuring their safety and the effectiveness of this method. So, here are some useful swaddling tips for you:
Don't Over-swaddle your Baby
Using double swaddle blankets (over-swaddling) can lead to overheating. So, we recommend parents use swaddles that are specifically designed to allow excess heat to escape, which provides ventilation for babies.
Stop Swaddling when Baby Begins to Roll
When your baby starts to roll, then this is time to consult your pediatrician on whether or not swaddling should be continued. Normally, you will want to change to arms-free swaddling when your baby begins to roll. But, it is better to talk with your pediatrician about your baby's situation first.
Don’t Swaddle All-day
Remember that babies need the freedom to move around and learn about their bodies even on the earliest day. So, if your little one enjoys being wrapped up all day, try to give them some "free" time. Instead, you can just save the swaddling for sleep time.
Take it Slow with a Wiggling Baby
If your baby is too wiggly to be swaddled, just take a break and give your little one a few minutes to relax before doing again. But, if it seems like your baby always tries to wriggle out, then they probably do not enjoy this technique. It is worth mentioning that not all babies like swaddling. In fact, there are babies that are just too active for swaddling. In both cases, it’s a good idea to consider dressing your baby in something more comfortable like baby rompers or jumpsuits.
The Bottom Line
If you have ever felt unsure about your swaddling technique, we suggest asking your pediatrician for more advice. Also, note that back is the best when it comes to swaddling. Swaddled babies should never sleep face down because of the SIDS risks.