How to Swaddle Your Newborn Like a Pro

So you’ve just had your baby? Congratulations! Welcome to the new world of parenthood! 

As a new parent, everything is a crash course. This includes even the simplest most basic things like swaddling. Yes, we said it. Simple. If you’ve recently found yourself wondering about the best way to swaddle your little bundle of joy, you have come to the right place. 

Swaddling is a time-honored technique that can provide comfort and security to your newborn. It is a great way to help your little one feel cozy and snug. Plus, it reminds them of their last home in the womb where everything was just perfect. 

In this guide, we'll guide you through the process of swaddling your baby like a pro. By the end of it, you’ll be able to do it yourself, ensuring their safety and your peace of mind. Let's get started!

Why should you swaddle your newborn? 

Swaddling offers several benefits for your newborn. 

First, it is a great way to soothe a newborn. It recreates the familiar environment of the womb for them. The gentle pressure and snugness of the swaddle has been shown to provide a sense of security for infants. This is what helps your little one feel calm. 

Swaddling can also help regulate your baby's body temperature. This will prevent your little one from waking up often. Plus, because their limbs are secured, the natural startling movements that babies make also won’t wake them up. 

Finally, studies have shown that swaddling can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) when your baby is placed on their back and safely secured as they sleep. This minimizes the risk of accidental suffocation. 

For more information, check out our episode on swaddling your baby

How to choose the right swaddle for your baby

Before you begin swaddling, it's important to select the appropriate swaddle blanket. This is pretty easy to do. Here is what you need:

  • Look for a lightweight, breathable fabric that is soft. You want it to be gentle against your baby's delicate skin. Muslin or cotton blankets are popular choices. 
  • Ensure that the blanket is large enough to fully wrap your baby but not so large that it becomes bulky. 
  • To maximize safety, only go for swaddle blankets that are specifically designed for infants.

Also, before you buy anything, be sure to look at customer reviews. They will usually tell you if you are getting good value for your money. 

Step-by-step swaddling guide

Let’s now get right into it, shall we? 

Once you have your swaddle blanket ready, you are ready to swaddle your kiddo. Here is how to do it step by step: 

Step 1: Lay the blanket flat

Spread the swaddle blanket on a flat surface. You want it to form a diamond shape. Fold the top corner down about six inches, creating a straight edge.

Step 2: Place your baby on the blanket

Lay your baby on their back, positioning them with their neck above the folded edge of the blanket. Ensure their head is clear of the blanket.

Step 3: Secure the arms

Now it’s time to secure those little arms. Take one side of the blanket and pull it snugly across your baby's chest. Tuck the end of the blanket under your baby’s body, securing it gently.

Step 4: Fold the bottom

Fold the bottom corner of the blanket up and over your baby's feet. Ensure the legs are bent at the knees and slightly apart. This allows for some freedom of motion and healthy hip development.

Step 5: Secure the final side

Finally, take the remaining side of the blanket and fold it across your baby's chest. Secure it under your baby’s body. Make sure the swaddle is snug but not too tight. Check that it allows your baby to move their legs naturally while the arms remain secure.

More tips for successful swaddling

Now that you know the basics, here are some additional tips to help you become a swaddling pro:

  • Practice makes perfect: You probably won’t make the perfect swaddle on your first try. And that’s OK. So don't worry if your swaddle doesn't look picture-perfect right away. Like most things, it will take a few tries to get the hang of it. With practice, you'll become more confident ad better at it.
  • Timing is key: Swaddle your baby when they are calm and alert. However, don’t do it when they are overly stimulated. You also want to avoid swaddling immediately after feeding to prevent reflux.
  • Check for comfort: Ensure your baby's hips and legs have enough room to move. You don’t want them to be too tightly wrapped. This will reduce the risk of hip dysplasia and promote healthy development. 
  • Watch for overheating: Keep an eye on your baby's temperature to prevent overheating. Feel your little one’s chest or the back of their neck to ensure they are not too warm. A comfortably cool room is ideal for swaddling.
  • Transition gradually: As your baby grows and becomes more mobile, you may need to transition away from swaddling. You can start introducing arms-out swaddling or experimenting with alternative sleep options based on your baby's cues.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you have to learn your baby. Every baby is different. Watch your little one’s cues and adjust your swaddling technique to suit them. 

Final Thoughts

Swaddling your newborn is soothing for them. It can also be a great way for you to bond with your little one. When you follow the steps outlined here and utilize the tips and tricks we’ve suggested, you’ll become a pro at swaddling in no time. 

Above all else, remember to prioritize your baby's safety and comfort throughout the swaddling process. And just have fun with it! Good luck!