Swaddling a baby: what you need to know about it

Swaddling a baby: what you need to know about it
Last Updated: 03 August 2021

One of the things nurses show to every new mom is the basics on how to swaddle a newborn. Swaddling is a centuries-old practice, considered as an essential part of baby care. Many believe that it makes the baby feel cozy and safe like she or he is back inside the womb. Additionally, since newborns cannot immediately regulate their body temperature, this technique can keep them warm. Besides, a lot of parents claim that they prefer to swaddle their babies because they can be confident they sleep on their backs.

Many think that babies look funny and cute, wrapped in a baby swaddle blanket. Let’s check out is it only the cuteness, or there are other reasons why people opt for infant wrapping. We will explain here how to swaddle a baby step by step, and discuss why do babies like to be wrapped as well as is swaddling safe in the first place.

What Is Swaddling

If you think of a swaddle definition, it is a practice of wrapping an infant in swaddling clothes. The tradition goes far back. Several researchers claim that the first archaeological traces of swaddling takes to 4000 BC. It was considered an excellent way to keep the baby safe and warm. Besides, it seems that people back then believed that it was a unique way to make sure that the baby’s limbs grow correctly.

what is swaddling

In the 17th century, the swaddling practice was abandoned as there was a link between swaddling and neglect. It turned out that mothers, but mainly wet nurses kept babies wrapped like this for a long time without changing or washing them. It was considered an old fashioned habit for such a long time that most people forgot what is swaddling in the first place.

Even if the practice was abolished in the Western world, it did remain in use in other parts. Nowadays, it is again coming back to fashion. Whether you want to make a baby boy swaddle or a baby girl swaddle, we guarantee that there is a lot of interesting information here.

Benefits of Swaddling

Modern medicine began to argue for swaddling again. Thus, every new mother will receive some basic knowledge on baby swaddles in the first days after giving birth. New research shows that there is now a shred of scientific evidence that can prove the calming effects of swaddling as well as many others. Let’s check out some benefits of swaddling here.

how to swaddle a baby step by step Example1
  • First, and maybe the most crucial reason why you should swaddle baby at night is that it reduces the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Babies often toss and turn during the night. By doing this, they may inadvertently cover their faces, which can cause them to suffocate with a blanket. When you swaddle a baby, it guarantees that the kid will be comfortable and warm, and you can sleep without worrying about accidents.
  • Regardless of all calming techniques and tricks, you may have mastered; babies will always cry. Nevertheless, it seems that when you swaddle baby, she or he will cry way less.
  • Because baby swaddle wrap mimics the womb, babies feel more secure and are less anxious.
  • Swaddling can also help your baby if she or he has colic.

Different Ways to Swaddle

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As we already mentioned, nowadays, almost all new moms leave the postnatal ward with some knowledge of swaddling. However, this usually isn’t enough, and it takes some trials and errors to figure out what technique is the best for you. We will go together through different ways to swaddle, hoping that they will help you understand how to do it best by yourself.

We will show seven variations for swaddle for babies. Maybe then you will see what the best way to swaddle a baby is.

  1. Feeding Cues Swaddle. When we are talking about the best way how to swaddle a newborn, perhaps this is the one. This method is suitable for little, but also low weight kids and preemies.
  2. Hands Up Swaddle. During the first weeks of their lives, babies prefer to be in a position where they can hold their hands close to their face. In this period, it is essential to know how to make baby swaddle arms up to prevent them from scratching, getting hurt. When your bundle of joy begins to do full-body stretch without holding hands close to the face, it is time to stop using this swaddle. Then you can move to arms free swaddle.
  3. Bat Wings Swaddle. This technique is made to help parents swaddle with two blankets. Also, it enables the kids to keep their hands in a position that is most comfortable for them. Keep in mind that you want to do it properly, so the best thing is to check out how to swaddle a baby video.
  4. Houdini Swaddle. It is for all those parents, who have a baby breaking out of a swaddle. It is the same as hands to heart swaddle.
  5. Arms Only Swaddle. It is designed for babies who like their legs to be free. Because they sleep better if their arms are restrained, you can opt for this swaddle with legs out.
  6. Arms Out Swaddle. Some babies can’t stand that they aren’t able to move their arms. In this case, you need to start swaddling with arms out.
  7. Burrito Wrap Swaddle. This is a safe swaddling option for swaddle for big babies. You can combine it with Velcro wrap to secure it better if you prefer.

How to Swaddle With a Blanket

Before we explain how to swaddle a baby step by step, we want to remind you again that you should swaddle your bundles of happiness only in the first couple of months of life. When they start to move more, it is advised to stop swaddling. Let’s see now how to swaddle a baby for sleep using a blanket.

how to swaddle a baby step by step Example3
  • Check out some of the top rated baby blankets and choose the one that you like the most. Be attentive on where and how you are putting the blanket. The surface has to be sturdy and flat, so the baby cannot fall. It is also possible to do it on the floor if you have a carpet.
  • Place the blanket to form a diamond, with the bottom point towards you. Take the corner farthest from you and bring it towards the center of the coverage. This top is where the baby’s head is going to be.
  • Put the baby on the blanket and cover her or him with one side of the sheet. Tuck the corner under the arm of a kid.
  • Next, cover the baby’s feet by pooling the bottom corner of the blanket up. Just make sure that the feet aren’t too constrained and that the baby can move them freely.
  • In the end, pull the remaining part of the blanket and tuck under the baby’s body. Make sure that it is not closed too tightly because it can be quite uncomfortable.
how to swaddle a baby step by step Example4

It is essential to point out also that swaddles for babies are also great to ensure that night time diapers will stay well-fixed while your little one is sleeping.

How to Swaddle With a Wrap

If you are living in warm areas, then a blanket might not be the best option because it can lead to overheating. In this situation, it is better to use cotton or muslin wrap to swaddle a baby. It is a reasonably easy swaddle and a great summer swaddle.

Let’s see how we can swaddle a baby following baby wraps instructions.

  • Fold the top of the fabric by around 20 cm. Then, place the baby on it so that the head is above the fold and shoulders in line with it.
  • One of the baby’s hands should go under the fold.
  • Pull the edge of the wrap over the body and tuck it under the baby’s legs.
  • Next, put the other hand under the fold and bring over another side of the wrap and tuck it under kid’s back.
  • Wrap firmly, but be careful that it is not too tight and that your precious one can move her or his legs if you make very strong wrap your wrist hip and breathing problems.

If the weather is warm, your little one can only have some of all natural baby diapers.

Is Swaddling Safe

It was kind of frowned upon for quite some time. Thus, many people are wondering about is swaddling safe at all. Well, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, swaddling, when done correctly, is safe. They also say that it is an excellent technique to calm infants and help them sleep better. However, it is essential to know that when you swaddle a baby, she or he should sleep on the back. Putting the swaddled baby to sleep on the stomach increases the risks of suffocation, leading to SIDS. Additionally, it is vital to prevent swaddle roll over as that can also lead to accidents.

So, if you are wondering is swaddling bad for baby, the answer is no. It can have numerous benefits, in fact, but it is essential to be cautious and aware of risks. Also, know when to stop swaddling.

how to swaddle a baby step by step Example5

Can You Swaddle a Baby Too Tightly?

Okay, so, as we mentioned already when you swaddle a baby, you need to make sure that it is firm but not too tight. Some babies who like to have their hands close to the face can profit from swaddling. However, you need to make sure not to press too tightly around the chest and around the hips to avoid potential health issues.

Swaddling Safety Tips

If you decide to swaddle a baby, a few things are essential to remember.

  • When you are swaddling, ensure that you do it properly and only till you notice that your kid begin to roll over during sleep
  • Don’t swaddle the baby if you sleep in the same bed
  • Use lightweight breathable materials rather than a blanket to avoid overheating
  • Be careful not to make too tight not too loose swaddle
  • Think about using sleep sacks or kind of zipper swaddles instead of the standard swaddle.
  • Don’t press too tightly around chest and hips
  • A swaddled kid needs to lie on her or his back.

What if Baby Doesn’t Like Being Swaddled?

While some babies love swaddling because it gives them a sense of security, others genuinely hate it. But there are some things you can try before you accept that your kid doesn’t want to be clothed. Let’s take a look.

baby doesn’t like being swaddled
  • Try another method. Some of them can’t stand when their arms are restrained. If this is the case, you can try leaving one arm free, for example.
  • Calm your baby. Sometimes giving your kid a warm bath or listening to music together can help her or him calm down quicker. Maybe after that, she or he will be more willing to accept a swaddle.
  • Try a sleeping bag. Infants who don’t want to be wrapped will be happier about the sleeping sack.
  • Another thing you can do if your bundle of joy is resisting swaddling is to change the time of the day. Don’t wait until he or she is exhausted but rather do it earlier in the evening.

When to Stop Swaddling Your Baby

One of the common questions is at what age do you stop swaddling a baby. We want to point out that if you opt for swaddling, you should do it only until you notice that your baby can roll on the side without anyone’s help. Many people also wonder if it is safe to swaddle a baby that can rollover. The answer is No! Besides, this capacity is one of the first signs that you should stop with this practice. Other signs that it is time to stop are:

  • Baby taking arms out of the swaddle
  • Getting completely out of the swaddle
  • Categorically rejecting the swaddle


We came to the end of the swaddling journey. We hope that you found this text helpful regarding ways how to swaddle a baby and other related tips. We want to remind you that parenthoodroutine.com always prepares interesting and useful surprises for parents.

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