How to Swaddle a Baby 

Knowing how to swaddle a newborn baby is a must have skill all parents should learn.  As an upcoming parent or veteran, perhaps you may still be wondering if you’ve been swaddling your newborn baby correctly and safely or if you even know what it means? Swaddling is the art of tightly wrapping your newborn in a blanket for warmth and security. You may have learned this through nurses tightly wrapping your infant in a blanket, but do you really know the proper and safe way on how to use a swaddle blanket on your newborn? We are here to give you a step by step guide to swaddle a baby, and hopefully, you will learn some tips to swaddle a baby for the future! 

 

Steps to Swaddle a baby

Swaddling can be a difficult concept to learn, especially for new parents who most likely have never seen or done it before. Like all new things, practice makes perfect, so once you have the fundamentals down and the steps to use a swaddle blanket, it will be smooth sailing from there! Thankfully, in only 6 steps, we will teach you all the tips and tricks on swaddling an infant and also tell you the common mistakes made by parents and how it can be prevented! 
  1. Spread the blanket on a flat surface, and fold one of the corners 6 inches down
  2. Place your baby face-up. Their head should be above the folded corner and the rest of their body pointing towards the bottom of the blanket.
  3. Straighten your baby’s left arm on their side and fold the left corner of the blanket over the left arm and body. Then, tuck the blanket underneath the right arm and back. Your baby’s left arm should be covered, but the right arm free from the blanket. 
  4. Then, put your baby’s right arm down, and fold the right side corner over the right arm and body. Tuck the blanket underneath their left side. 
  5. Loosely fold or twist the bottom of the blanket and tuck it underneath one side of the baby 
  6. Check how tight the swaddle is. It should be snug, but not too tight. A good indication is if you are able to fit 2-3 fingers between your baby’s chest and the blanket. Also, make sure there is room around the hips so your baby can move his/her legs freely.  

Safe Swaddling Practices 

In addition to the 6 steps you should follow for the best baby swaddle, there are a few more general tips you should keep in mind to keep your baby safe and comfortable. First, you want the swaddle to be tight, but not too tight. Again, 2-3 fingers between your baby’s chest and the swaddle is optimal, and the bottom of the swaddle should be loose enough to where your baby can keep their legs bent. Second, you always want to put your baby on their back when they sleep, this is for any situation and not just for a baby swaddle. Third, you want to keep the temperature regulated at a comfortable setting, 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit is best! As swaddling can cause overheating to the newborn, you want to make sure the room is at an optimal temperature and resist the temptation to add extra layers to your baby. A pair of jammies and a swaddling blanket should be enough to keep your newborn warm! Lastly, you want to end swaddling at the right time, a good indication is when your baby becomes more active and tries to roll around. 

Why is swaddling important? 

With parents only wanting the best for their infant, many ask, is swaddling good for babies? After being introduced to a new world, your baby will be confused and scared because they are being taken away from the only thing they know, your womb. The purpose of swaddling is to make the tough transition easier for you and your little one, swaddling your baby with a swaddle blanket is the perfect way to introduce your new human being into this luminous world. 

Why do babies like to be swaddled?

Babies love to be swaddled to feel safe and secure because, for all they know, they have just been transplanted from the only home they know. Another reason to swaddle is because they need that sense of security from the swaddle blanket to be calm and happy. Also, your baby’s body is still adapting to its new environment, so a swaddle blanket will keep your baby warm and cozy until their internal thermostat starts to work and do its magic. Swaddling can be very comforting for your infant and can lead to the best sleep for your baby and most likely you as well! However, do not feel concerned if your baby does not enjoy swaddling. Some things are not for everyone! Most likely, your baby does not enjoy the restrictive feeling a baby swaddle gives, and will try to break free every time you wrap them up. However, there are many alternatives for this, such as letting their arms dangle out and be free, or a velcro tab swaddle (harder to kick off) for the babies who love to kick. Either way, if your baby does not like to be in a swaddle, you don’t have to worry and move on! 

How long should you swaddle your baby for? 

Another question many parents ask is when to stop swaddling? The majority of babies obtain the best results when they are swaddled for 3-4 months, or when they start to become more active and roll around. This allows for an easy transition and an adequate amount of time for your baby to get used to its new world and environment. However, some experts recommend to stop swaddling earlier, around 2 months, before they start to intentionally roll around. You will know when to stop swaddling your baby when they are able to roll, according to the AAP guidelines. 

Why are babies wrapped so tight? 

Your newborn is wrapped in a tight bundle for numerous reasons. One, when your baby’s born, they will experience startle reflexes. This is triggered when they start to flail their arms and legs, so wrapping your baby tightly will prevent them from being affected by it and allow them to have a better sleep. Second, it will keep your infant warm and comfortable because their body is still trying to adapt to the new changes. Lastly, wrapping your baby tightly will keep them calm and secure because a baby swaddle is able to mimic the feeling of being in a womb. 

What are the best swaddle blankets? 

As a parent, you want to ensure you are getting the best of the best when it comes to your newborn, and that includes a high quality swaddle blanket. The best swaddle blankets come down to material and design. Everyone has a blanket that can be wrapped and used for swaddling, but without the right materials and functionality, you may find it hard for your infant to feel safe and comfortable in a baby swaddle. That is why we are here to give you a list of the best swaddling blankets for your adorable newborns! 

Breathable swaddle blankets 

There are many things that can contribute to a buttery soft, amazing-feel swaddle blanket, and breathability is one of them. Free Birdees use bamboo viscose for all their bamboo baby clothes, including their swaddle blankets to ensure the most breathable and comfortable swaddle blankets are perfectly crafted for your infants. Free Birdees pride themselves to use the highest quality materials mother nature has to offer, viscose bamboo. This material has the perfect stretch and the softness of a mother’s touch to make for the most desired swaddle blanket. The fibers of viscose bamboo are also naturally breathable, a bamboo swaddle blanket from Free Birdees is my top choice for a breathable swaddle blanket. 

[See: Bamboo Swaddling Blankets]

What material is ideal for swaddle blankets?

The short answer is that there are a variety of materials that can be made into the perfect swaddling blanket. Whether it's a baby boy swaddle or baby girl swaddle, as long as the blanket is able to achieve the tightness of an ideal baby swaddle, any material will work fine. However, some of the most popular materials for swaddle blankets are cotton, bamboo viscose, and polyester. All these materials share similar benefits as they are all lightweight, breathable, and offer warmth to the body, so there is no wrong answer, as these materials can all serve for a perfect swaddle blanket. 

How many swaddle blankets do I need? 

This question is based mostly on your toddlers habits, but you should always have two, no matter how good or bad your child is, for those emergencies will occur sooner or later. If your child does have a messy habit like spitting, you may want to consider investing in more than 2 because rewashing your swaddle blanket everyday will grow cumbersome and will wear it down, so depending on how serious your child’s habit is, 4 to 8 swaddle blankets is what most parents carry to be safe. You also want to be safer than sorry, so having a couple swaddle blankets at hand for those to-go situations will not hurt. 

Conclusion

Being a new parent can definitely be a challenge, but something you cannot handle. With many novel experiences you will encounter, research and learning is key to this journey! Hopefully, you have learned that wrapping a baby in a swaddle blanket is not as difficult as it sounds, and with time, it will become easier and easier. Keep in mind that this process is rather short, around 2-4 months after birth, so don’t get too comfortable with this! In the end, swaddling can be very beneficial towards your newborn and make the transition to parenthood one step easier!