Swaddling is an age-old technique of wrapping newborns in a thin blanket or cloth. It’s adorable as well as serves the crucial purpose of helping your little one stay calm and sleep more soundly.
How To Swaddle A Baby?
- A swaddle helps the baby feel safe and secure while they adjust to life outside the womb.
- Swaddling helps prevent them from flailing their arms and legs, which can trigger the startle reflex and potentially cause them to wake up.
- It keeps the baby cosy and warm until their internal thermostat accelerates.
In essence, there are lots of good reasons to try this ancient practice. But decoding how to do it yourself can be a little intimidating (especially when you’re feeling bleary-eyed).
This article gives you a step-by-step guide for how to swaddle a newborn like a pro, the keys for sticking with safe swaddling techniques, along the time to stop swaddling.
How to swaddle, step-by-step
Getting your swaddling skills down-pat may seem a little intimidating, but wrapping up your baby only takes a few steps.
Step 1: Find a flat surface.
Roll out your baby’s swaddle blanket on a flat surface, in a diamond shape with one corner pointing up, and fold the top corner down about 6 inches.
Step 2: Place your baby on the blanket with their face up.
Put the baby’s head above the folded edge of the blanket, and extend their body straight down towards the bottom corner.
Step 3: Straighten your baby’s left arm.
Then take the left side of the blanket and wrap it over the baby’s left arm and chest. Slip the blanket underneath the right arm and back. So that the baby’s left arm will be covered and 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 thrust it under the first fold, under the chin. Straighten your baby’s right arm and pull the right side of the blanket all over to tuck it under the left side.
Step 5: Secure the blanket.
Loosely adjust the bottom of the blanket and slip it underneath your baby.
However, there are a few important things one needs to keep in mind:
- The swaddle should be snug, but not too tight and the blanket should be loose around their hips so they can move their legs freely. There should be a gap of two to three fingers between your baby’s chest and the blanket.
- If your baby seems to prefer having their arms free, then leave one or both arms out of the swaddle.
- If your baby is too wiggly for you to get a snug swaddle, you may take a break and try again after some time. But if your baby doesn't seem to like it and tries to wiggle out of the swaddle, she simply might not be a fan or might be getting too active for swaddling.
- In both cases, it’s a good idea to consider trying an alternative swaddle (like a swaddle wrap that comes with Velcro or zipper closures) or quitting it altogether, since a kicked-off blanket can pose a suffocation or strangulation risk while your baby is sleeping.
Chances are you’ll become a swaddling pro in no time. But if you’re feeling insecure, ask your baby’s pediatrician. They can check your swaddle skills and correct you if required.
How to swaddle with a wrap?
Swaddle wraps with Velcro tabs or zippers are as safe as blankets and deliver the same comfort without the need for any folding or tucking. The particular instructions may vary depending on which wrap you buy. But they generally they are much more convenient to use than blankets and are less likely to come untucked.
Is swaddling safe?
It’s true that swaddling isn’t completely risk-free. But according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), swaddling can encourage your newborn to rest better — as long as it’s done correctly and practiced safely. Swaddle blankets that are too loose or that come unwrapped during sleep could create the potential for suffocation.
Swaddle blankets that are too tight, especially around your baby’s hips, aren’t good either. Tight swaddles force her legs into an unnaturally straight position and can damage her hips, joints, and cartilage. Keep the bottom of the swaddle loose enough for your baby’s legs to move freely to encourage healthy hip development.
Some of the important swaddling safety guidelines to keep in mind:
- Swaddle snugly, but not too tightly. There should be a gap of at least two to three fingers between the blanket and your baby’s chest. The bottom of the swaddle should be loose enough so your baby’s legs can move freely.
- The safest position for the baby is to sleep on their back. whether you’re swaddling or not. Make sure to tuck the bottom of the blanket underneath your baby too.
- Swaddling can sometimes cause overheating. Maintain a comfortable temperature in the room. And refrain from bundling your baby in extra layers — a pair of pajamas and the swaddle blanket are sufficient enough to keep your baby comfy. Some of the possible signs that your baby might feel hot are sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash and rapid breathing.
Is it okay not to swaddle a newborn?
Many parents swear that swaddling is key for soothing their newborns. But if your baby doesn’t seem to like it, you might be wondering if it’s absolutely necessary. The truth is that not every baby enjoys swaddling. So, if getting wrapped up makes your baby fuzzier, you don’t have to do it.
But before giving up completely though, you should experiment with some alternatives. Like if your baby wants their arms out, try leaving their arms out of the swaddle blanket. You can also try a few different swaddles to find the one your baby likes best.
And if nothing works out. Feel free to move on as it’s not required to force your baby into a swaddle.
When to stop swaddling?
Swaddling can be a smart move for newborns. But it’s harmful for older babies who can unwrap their blankets. Being wrapped up can hinder with healthy development for older babies as it prevents them from practicing motor skills appropriate for their age.
So, you should give up swaddling once your little one becomes more active and starts to try to roll over, which might occur around 2-4 months.
Swaddling has been helping parents put their infants to sleep since ages. During their first month in the outside world, infants require all the rest they can get. Though there are some risks, using the correct techniques on swaddling will keep the baby safe and sound.
Published on: 29th July 2021