How to Swaddle a Baby
If you’re looking for a way to soothe your newborn baby, swaddling may do the trick. The practice of swaddling a baby or wrapping them up snug like a burrito is one that parents have done for thousands of years.
Why swaddling a baby is so important
When a baby is first born, they still have their natural startle reflex or Moro reflex. This is a newborn baby’s response to loud sounds or movements where they throw their head back, spread their arms out, cry, then pull their arms and legs back in. The startle reflex develops between 28 to 32 weeks of gestation and usually disappears around 3 to 6 months after your baby is born.
Swaddling a baby, when done correctly, can help decrease a baby’s startle reflex and make them feel calm. This is because it mimics the feeling of them being snug in the womb and feels like they’re being cuddled skin-to-skin next to their caregiver.
Traditionally, swaddling is done using a light, breathable swaddle blanket. However, some parents find that using a swaddle blanket to wrap a newborn can feel like a tricky form of art. That’s where swaddle sleep bags and startle stop swaddle bags come in.
Some benefits of swaddling a newborn baby include:
- By helping your newborn feel calm, you and your baby may get better, longer stretches of sleep.
- Swaddling can keep their hands away from their faces and prevent scratching.
- If your baby is colicky, it can help soothe them.
- Swaddling can imitate a caregiver’s gentle, warm touch and help calm your baby.
- When laid on their back, it promotes safe sleep and helps prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by eliminating the use of unnecessary items like pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals.
How to swaddle a baby with a swaddle blanket
Wrapping your baby up in a soft, breathable swaddle blanket can seem like a form of art but once you’ve mastered it, your newborn will feel cozy and snug. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to swaddle your newborn baby using a swaddle blanket.
- Lay your swaddle blanket out on a flat surface and arrange it in a diamond shape. Fold the top corner down towards the centre.
- Lay your baby down with their face up in the centre of the swaddle blanket with their neck and shoulders aligned to the top of the swaddle blanket.
- Place your baby’s right arm slightly bent on top of their chest and wrap the right side of the swaddle blanket over their chest to the opposite side. Tuck the edge of the swaddle blanket under their body. Make sure it is wrapped snug but not too tight.
- Take the bottom corner of the swaddle blanket up and tuck it behind their right shoulder. Make sure to keep your baby’s legs and feet a bit loose so they can move around. This Is important to prevent hip dysplasia.
- Wrap the remaining left corner with their left arm slightly bent on top of their chest and tuck it under the left side of the body snugly but not too tight.
- Make sure the swaddle is snug and secure so your baby won’t unravel from it.
Swaddling with a blanket may seem like a challenge but you’ll be able to perfect it in no time with the right practice!
How to use swaddle sleep bags
Our swaddle sleep bags and startle stop swaddle sleep bags are a great alternative if you’re feeling nervous about using swaddle blankets. Our swaddle sleep bags and startle stop sleep bags are designed with detachable swaddle wings to extend how long you can use the sleep bags, even after your baby outgrows the need to be swaddled. Here is how you can swaddle using a swaddle sleep bag.
- To start swaddling, lay the swaddle sleep bag and wings on a flat surface. Then secure the snaps and velcro in the back to keep the wings below the shoulders. This prevents the wings from riding up and covering your baby’s face.
- Next, lay your baby down into the swaddle sleep bag, fasten up the zipper, and snap the zipper flap.
- Wrap the left flap of the wings across the other side and tuck it in.
- Take the other flap and wrap it snugly over the other side to attach the velcro tabs to the velcro.
That’s it! If your baby needs to be changed, simply unzip using our 2-way zipper from the bottom to release their legs and lower torso. Happy swaddling!
Not sure how to choose the right swaddle sleep bag? Read about our handy guide here.
Safe swaddling tips
Swaddling can be done safely to help soothe your newborn baby. Some safe swaddling tips include:
- Always lay your baby on their back to prevent SIDS.
- Avoid wrapping your baby too tightly. Make sure your baby’s legs can bend up and out at the hips. This will help decrease their chances of developing hip dysplasia.
- Avoid wrapping your baby too loosely. This can cause the swaddle blanket to become loose, get into your baby’s face, and increase the chances of SIDS.
- Only use one swaddle blanket or swaddle sleep bag.
- Be mindful of what your baby is already wearing and avoid putting them in too many layers.
- Stop swaddling as soon as your baby learns to roll. Once your baby rolls, you can transition to a sleep bag or sleep bag with feet. Learn more about sleep bags or baby sleep sacks in our post here.
Swaddling your baby is a great way to help soothe and calm your baby as they transition from being in the womb to the outside world. You can choose to swaddle your baby with a swaddle blanket or a swaddle sleep sack. Both of these items are a newborn essential to getting more sleep for both you and your baby. Here’s to hoping you can say goodbye to sleepless newborn nights!
Ready to start swaddling? Shop our swaddle blanket or swaddle sleep bags and startle stop swaddle bags today.