Many women swear that swaddling their baby was the secret to keeping their little one calm and happy. Indeed, it’s an age-old technique that your grandmother probably used. But do you know how to swaddle a baby? Here is an expert guide to learning how to swaddle as well as some helpful advice regarding safety.
What Are the Benefits of Knowing How to Swaddle a Baby?
Swaddling is something that women have been doing for generations – wrapping their newborn up tightly in a cloth or thin blanket. It may look cute, but it also offers the benefit of keeping your baby calm and able to sleep soundly. Swaddling works because it makes your newborn feel secure and safe while adjusting to life in the real world. It stops him from moving his legs or arms – something that could trigger the startle reflex – and it also makes sure your baby is warm and cozy.
How to Swaddle a Baby With a Blanket
It may look complicated to swaddle a baby, but once you’ve practiced a few times you’ll soon get the hang of it. Following along with a video is usually the best way to learn, but for those who like to see things in writing, here are some simple steps to follow:
- Grab a blanket, and pick a corner to fold
- Lay your baby’s head down on that corner
- Pick a side, and fold it over your baby; you want to leave the arms in and the head out of course
- Grab the bottom of the blanket, and fold upwards until you reach below the baby’s head
- Grab the other side of the blanket and fold it over
- And there you have it, one swaddled baby
Baby Swaddling Tips
There are a few other things to remember when swaddling your baby:
- The swaddle must be snug without being too tight. Make sure you can easily put two or three fingers between the banket and you’re baby’s chest.
- Keep the blanket loose around your baby’s hips. This allows for free leg movement.
- Some babies like to have their arms free. If your little one prefers this, you don’t need to wrap their arms inside the blanket.
Can I Swaddle With a Wrap?
Some women want to swaddle their babies but would prefer not to use a blanket. You can find swaddle wraps for sale that have zippers or Velcro fasteners that deliver all of the same benefits with no need to tuck or fold. Depending on the type of wrap you buy the instructions will vary, but in general, they’re much easier to use than a blanket and are unlikely to untuck themselves.
Is It Safe to Swaddle My Baby?
Since blankets and sleeping babies aren’t always a good combination, doesn’t that suggest that swaddling could be dangerous?
While it’s true to say that swaddling isn’t wholly risk-free, it’s safe to do so long as you do it correctly and use it in line with the guidelines for safe baby sleep.
If the blanket swaddling your baby is too lose or becomes unwrapped while your baby is sleeping, this could be dangerous since it could cover your baby’s face, increasing the chances of suffocation. Since swaddled babies usually sleep more soundly, they may find it more difficult to wake up and to change position.
On the other hand, if the blanket swaddling your baby is too snug, this could be a problem too. Tight blankets that force your baby’s legs into a position that is unnaturally straight could harm their development. You need to ensure the bottom of the blanket is sufficiently loose so your baby’s legs can bend upwards and outwards – a natural position for a newborn lying on their back with no swaddle.
How to Swaddle a Baby Safely
Swaddling your baby safely will help your newborn to sleep better and help to bring you greater peace of mind. So, here are a few safety tips to bear in mind:
- Make sure your baby is sleeping on their back, as this is the safest way to put a baby to sleep, whether or not you are swaddling.
- Make sure your baby doesn’t overheat. If your baby gets too hot, this increases the chance of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Make sure the room is at a temperature of 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit, and don’t bundle up your little one in many layers. A sleepsuit and blanket are sufficient for comfort. If your baby is sweating, has flushed cheeks, damp hair or is breathing rapidly, he is probably too hot.
When Should I Stop Swaddling My Baby?
Swaddling is great for newborns, however, once your baby is older it could be dangerous and could even interfere with their development. Once your baby is trying to roll over and is becoming more active you should quit swaddling. This will usually happen when they reach the age of 3-4 months.
Will My Baby Like Swaddling?
Not all babies like to be swaddled. Some find it restrictive and try to escape their blankets! If yours seems to hate swaddling, there’s no need to persevere. However, before you give up entirely, you could experiment with leaving your baby’s arms unwrapped or by using a sleep sack or Velcro tab wrap that leaves a little more room for movement. Your little one may settle more easily once he has a little more freedom for his legs or arms.