Swaddling – can’t live with it, can’t live without it, am I right? By definition, swaddling is a technique where a baby is wrapped super snugly in a blanket or a cloth. It’s a great way to keep a newborn warm, cozy, and comfortable. Because babies are so used to being tight in the womb, swaddling mimics that experience by keeping their limbs firmly in place (Arms are chaotic!). Swaddling can also help calm a fussy baby and promote better sleep.
But, unless you’re a postpartum nurse or burrito chef, swaddling can be super hard! Most parents make constant mistakes when trying. So we scoured the internet to bring you the 9 best hacks for swaddling, and the most common swaddling mistakes to avoid.
The 9 Best Hacks for Swaddling a Baby
Use a large, square blanket: A large, square blanket will give you plenty of material to work with, and it will allow you to create a secure swaddle.
Keep the swaddle tight: Make sure the swaddle is tight, but not too tight. A swaddle that is too loose can come undone, and a swaddle that is too tight can be uncomfortable for the baby.
Start with a diamond shape: Fold the blanket into a diamond shape, with one corner pointing towards you.
Place the baby on the blanket: Place the baby on the blanket with their head above the folded corner.
Tuck one arm in: Take the left corner of the blanket and tuck it under the baby’s right arm.
Wrap the other arm: Bring the right corner of the blanket over the baby’s body and tuck it under their left arm.
Bring up the bottom: Fold the bottom of the blanket up and tuck it under the baby’s chin.
Secure the swaddle: Fold the remaining corner of the blanket over the baby’s body and tuck it under their back.
Use a swaddle sack: If you’re having trouble keeping the swaddle secure, try using a swaddle sack. These are designed to keep the baby’s arms and legs snugly wrapped, without the risk of the swaddle coming undone.
The Top 5 Most Common Swaddling Mistakes
Swaddling too tightly: Swaddling too tightly can restrict the baby’s breathing and movement, leading to discomfort or even suffocation. It is important to ensure that the swaddle is snug enough to prevent the baby from wriggling out of it, but not so tight that it restricts breathing or movement.
Swaddling too loosely: On the other hand, swaddling too loosely can also be dangerous as it can cause the blanket to unravel and become a suffocation hazard. Make sure that the swaddle is wrapped snugly around the baby’s body, but not so tight that it restricts movement or breathing.
Swaddling with the wrong material: It is important to choose the right material for the swaddle, as some materials can overheat the baby or cause skin irritation. Opt for lightweight, breathable materials such as muslin or cotton that allow for proper air circulation.
Swaddling too long: Swaddling is typically recommended for newborns up to around two months old, after which it can impede the baby’s development by restricting movement. After this point, it is best to transition to a sleeping bag or other sleepwear that allows for more freedom of movement.
Swaddling with arms restrained: While it may seem logical to swaddle the baby’s arms along with their body, this can be uncomfortable and even harmful for the baby’s development. Allow the baby to have their arms free, either by swaddling with one arm out or using a swaddle that has a separate arm section.
Remember, when all else fails, just get the velcro styles. You’ll still be a hero.