Swaddling your baby is a simple way to keep your baby warm and secure by using a snugly fastened blanket. It can also be a source of comfort to your baby, since it mimics the familiar feeling of being inside the womb. However, when not done properly, swaddling can be unsafe. That’s why it’s important for parents to know how to swaddle their baby safely. Follow our guidelines for swaddling safely so you can soothe your baby or help lull them to sleep.
Choose a swaddle blanket
A ready-made swaddle blanket is a little more sophisticated than a simple thin blanket, but both can be used for swaddling. If you want something that will take the guesswork out of swaddling, choose one that fastens with Velcro, zippers, or hook and loop closures. Some highly-rated favorite swaddle blankets include the Halo Sleepsack and the SwaddleMe Original Swaddle.
If you’re comfortable with swaddling your little one in a blanket, you can take some home with you from the hospital: they’re free! Or, try a cotton muslin blanket by popular brand aden + anais. They come in all sorts of adorable patterns, and they’re versatile enough to work as more than just swaddle blankets. You can use them as stroller blankets, nursing covers, or burp cloths in a pinch.
Once you have your swaddle blanket picked out, you’re ready to swaddle your baby.
Lay the blanket in a diamond shape, and fold the top corner down
Arrange your blanket on a flat surface into a diamond shape. Then, fold the top corner down towards the center. The top of the blanket should now form a straight line.
Place baby face-up on the blanket
Place your baby face-up on the blanket. His neck should rest along the top edge of the corner that you folded down. Gently place his right arm (your left) alongside his body, leaving it slightly bent.
Pull the swaddle securely across your baby’s chest and arm
Take that same side of the swaddle and pull it across your baby’s right arm and chest. Tuck the end of the fabric under baby, leaving his left arm (your right) free.
Fold the bottom of the swaddle up and over baby’s feet
Next, fold the bottom of the swaddle up and over your baby’s feet. Tuck the end of the fabric into the top of the swaddle. Your baby’s legs and right arm should be covered at this point. While his right arm should be snug to discourage wriggling out of the swaddle, his legs and feet should be able to move around.
Pull and secure the other corner of the blanket to finish swaddling
Then, gently straighten your baby’s left arm, and pull the remaining corner of the blanket snugly across his body. Tuck the end of the fabric underneath him to secure the swaddle. Make sure the swaddle is nice and tight, but leaves enough room for the legs and feet to move.
Safety tips for swaddling
- Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, especially when swaddling.
- Make sure that your swaddle can’t come loose, which can smother your baby.
- When your baby learns how to roll onto his stomach, stop swaddling. Your baby may also begin to fuss or fight the swaddle, signaling that it may be time to stop swaddling. This often happens between two and six months.
- Babies’ legs need room to bend up and out at the hips, so don’t force your baby’s legs to extend or make that section too tight. Restricting movement can lead to developmental dysplasia of the hip.
- Not all babies enjoy being swaddled. It’s common for babies to fuss at first when being introduced to swaddling, but if yours seems happier without it, then that’s okay!
Swaddling can work wonders for soothing a fussy baby or encouraging sleep. If you need more guidance on sleep training methods or soothing techniques, Sleep by Rachelle is here to help! Learn more about the Sleep by Rachelle method or reach out to us with your questions now.