Swaddling is an ancient practice of wrapping newborns in a swaddle blanket or cloth. There are many good reasons to try this practice, but things can be tricky for beginners. If you don’t know how to swaddle a baby, you have come to the right place.
In this article, we will share a step-by-step guide to help you do the job perfectly. We will also discuss the benefits of swaddling, and we will share some safety tips to help you create a safe environment for your newborn. So, without any further delay, let’s have a look at the steps that you will need to follow to swaddle your little one.
How To Swaddle A Baby: Step-By-Step Guide
1. Look For A Flat Surface
Look for a flat surface and spread your baby’s swaddle blanket out on it. After spreading it out, fold over one of the corners.
2. Place Your Baby On The Blanket (Face-Up)
Lay your baby on the blanket, and make sure he is on his back. While swaddling, your baby should be facing up, and his head should be at the folded corner.
3. Straighten His Left Arm
Take the left end of the blanket. Wrap it over his left arm and chest, and make sure it isn’t too tight. Now, tuck the blanket underneath his right arm and back. His left arm will be covered at this point, but his right arm will be exposed.
4. Bring Up The Bottom
Fold the bottom corner of the swaddle blanket or cloth up over the baby’s body and tuck it under his chin (under the first fold).
5. Straighten His Right Arm
Straighten the right arm of your baby and help him rest in a natural position. Pull the right corner of the swaddle blanket over his body and tuck it under his left side. Leave his neck and head exposed.
6. Make Sure The Blanket Isn’t Too Tight Or Loose
Before putting your baby in his crib, make sure the blanket isn’t too tight or loose. There should be room for the baby to bend his legs, but the blanket shouldn’t be too loose to allow him to break free.
If you follow these steps carefully, you won’t face any issues while swaddling your baby. Now that you know how to swaddle a baby, let’s discuss some benefits of swaddling your newborn.
Suggested Read: What To Dress Baby In At Night For Sleep: The ABC’s Of Safe Sleep
Benefits Of Swaddling
1. It Keeps The Baby Warm
Babies have to expend large amounts of energy to stay warm if they aren’t dressed appropriately. If the core body temperature of a baby is just one degree below normal, he will have to use about 10% more oxygen. This is why it’s important to keep babies warm. Swaddling a baby can help him stay warm while sleeping.
2. It Provides A Sense Of Safety
Newborns feel safe and secure when they are held close to the body. They also get a sense of safety when they are swaddled. It can mimic the snug environment of the womb, and babies stay calm in such situations. You can’t keep your baby in your arms all night long, but you can keep him swaddled to make him feel comfortable. In simple words, it helps eliminate anxiety, which allows babies to sleep properly.
3. It Keeps His Hands Off His Face
Babies often scratch their faces unknowingly, and it’s a big issue. You can’t keep an eye on your baby 24/7, as you will go to bed at some point. Swaddling eliminates such issues without making the baby uncomfortable. The hands and legs of the baby rest in a natural position, and he doesn’t feel any kind of discomfort when swaddled.
4. It Helps Babies Sleep Longer
Babies often wake up at night, and it can make things difficult for parents. After working all day long, everyone deserves a few hours of sleep. Swaddling at bedtime can help you a lot in this field, as babies sleep longer when they are swaddled. It also promotes sleep quality, which is an added benefit.
Many people think swaddling at bedtime isn’t safe. Well, it isn’t any riskier than swaddling during naps, and there is nothing to worry about, as long as you follow safety guidelines.
5. It Helps The Baby Feel Relaxed In Uncomfortable Situations
Parents know the importance of vaccination; however, their little ones have no idea about such things. For them, it’s just an uncomfortable situation that they want to avoid. Well, we can’t skip vaccines, but we can try to make the baby feel relaxed. Swaddling him can make him feel comfortable in such situations.
6. It Keeps The Baby On His Back
It’s important to place babies on their backs when they sleep. If your baby is swaddled and you put him to sleep in the right position, he will stay in that position while sleeping.
7. It Can Help Prevent SIDS
Swaddling can also help prevent SIDS. When you put a swaddled baby in his crib, you won’t need unnecessary blankets and stuffed animals around. You can take these items out of the crib to create a safe environment for the baby.
Well, these are the benefits of swaddling a baby. Although swaddling comes with several benefits, you will need to take care of some things to avoid discomfort and danger for the baby. In the next section of this article, we will share some safety tips that you should follow to ensure a safe swaddling experience for your baby.
Safety Tips For Swaddling A Baby
1. Choose The Right Material
When you buy a blanket for your baby, make sure it’s made of breathable material. Issues like overheating are common, and the wrong blanket can make things tough for your little one. You should keep checking the temperature to make sure things don’t get too hot. If your baby is sweating or has damp hair, it means he is overdressed, and you should take action.
Material quality is also an important factor. The blanket shouldn’t be too rough for the baby. Swaddle blankets made of cotton, linen, muslin, and other natural materials do an outstanding job, so you should look for such options. You can also go for good-quality sleeping sacks and baby wraps.
2. Don’t Go Over The Shoulders
You shouldn’t swaddle your baby above the shoulders, as it can lead to discomfort and safety issues. The neck and head of the baby should be free to avoid suffocation.
3. Don’t Swaddle Too Tightly
You should wrap your baby gently. He should be able to bend his legs. Swaddling him too tightly can lead to hip problems, which is the last thing you would want. It will also make him feel uncomfortable, as he won’t have room to move his legs.
After swaddling the baby, try to fit two or three fingers between his chest and the swaddle. If you can fit your fingers easily, there is nothing to worry about. You shouldn’t swaddle the baby too loosely either, as it can be dangerous. Loose fabric and babies don’t make a good combination.
4. Always Place Your Baby On His Back
You should always put your swaddled baby to sleep on his back. It can also help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is a big concern. You shouldn’t put your baby to sleep on his front or side even when he isn’t swaddled.
5. Don’t Leave Him Unattended For Long
Deep sleep sounds like a good thing, but it can prove harmful in some situations. If the baby is sleeping too deeply, he may not wake himself up in unsafe sleeping situations. So, you shouldn’t leave him unattended for long.
6. Make Sure The Surroundings Are Clean
When your baby is swaddled and is sleeping in his crib, the surroundings should be clean. There shouldn’t be extra blankets, stuffed animals, or pillows in the crib. He will be safe and comfortable in his swaddle, and he won’t need additional blankets anyway.
7. Don’t Swaddle Once The Baby Learns To Roll Over
Swaddling a baby solves many problems, but it doesn’t mean you can keep following the same routine for life. You will have to give up on it at some point, and the right time to stop swaddling is when the baby learns to roll over.
If a swaddled baby rolls over to his stomach, the risk of SIDS can be increased. In such a situation, it won’t be easy for the baby to roll over to his back again. Unfortunately, babies who sleep on their stomachs are at higher risk of SIDS, so you should stop swaddling when the right time comes.
So, these are some safety tips that you should follow while swaddling your baby. Since babies can’t take care of themselves, you will have to step in and take care of little things for them.
Suggested Read: Receiving Blanket Vs Swaddle
Frequently Asked Questions
When should you swaddle a baby?
You can swaddle your baby at any time of the day. Most people do it at night to help the baby sleep better. You can also swaddle your little one while putting him in his crib for a nap. Swaddling will help him stay calm, warm, and secure while sleeping.
When should I stop swaddling my baby?
Swaddling a baby can prove beneficial in many ways, but you can’t keep him wrapped in a swaddle blanket forever. You should stop swaddling your baby when you start noticing the following signs:
- If the baby starts waking up more frequently (When swaddled)
- If he breaks out of the swaddle (it isn’t safe at all)
- When startle reflex starts to fade
- When he starts showing signs of rolling over (Around 3-4 months of age)
- If he starts fighting being swaddled
Is it OK not to swaddle your baby?
As discussed above, swaddling offers many benefits; however, it isn’t a requirement. If you aren’t sure about things, you should consider talking to your baby’s healthcare provider. He will guide you with the right option, and you will feel more confident after consulting him. If you follow the safety guidelines, your baby will be safe; however, there is no harm in talking to the healthcare provider.
Is swaddling safe?
Well, swaddling isn’t completely risk-free. There are some risks associated with it, but you can avoid those risks by following safety guidelines. Swaddling can promote deep sleep, and it can also help parents sleep better, as they won’t have to wake up after every few hours at night. It also helps the baby feel safe as he adjusts to life outside the womb.
You should follow the safety tips we have shared in this article, and you can also consult your baby’s healthcare provider for further assistance. Since your baby can’t take care of these small things, you will have to be extra careful to keep him safe.
What kind of swaddle should I use?
Swaddle blankets are generally made of cotton, linen, muslin, a cotton blend, or other natural materials. The swaddle blanket you buy should be made of high-quality material, as a poor-quality product won’t be good for your newborn’s skin. Also, the fabric should offer breathability, as it will prevent overheating. Moreover, the blanket shouldn’t be too heavy, as the baby won’t feel comfortable wrapped in such a blanket.
Wraps and sleeping sacks are easier to use, so going for them can also be a good idea. You can also consider trying different options to find the perfect match.
We hope you liked this article and understood how to swaddle a baby. We discussed everything in detail to help you create a safe environment for your little one. It’s important to keep the possible risks in mind while swaddling a baby. If you have read this article carefully, you would know the benefits of swaddling your little one, and you would also know how to swaddle a baby safely.
As a beginner, it can be hard to do the job perfectly, but if you follow the steps we discussed, you will get better with time. Once you start swaddling your baby at night, you will be able to get better sleep. Above all, your baby will be able to sleep better at night.