Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.
Your newborn baby is crying their heart out, and you’re probably sure that it’s either because they are too cold and uncomfortable, or because they are too tired, and need a little help getting to sleep.
Unimaginable, we know.
One of the best-proven methods of helping calm your baby down when they are crying for these reasons is to swaddle them up in a nice, warm blanket.
That sounds like a nice, simple solution, right? And it would be.
There’s just one problem: You’re a new parent, and you either don’t know how to swaddle your baby yet or have forgotten how to in the wave of other things to worry about for your baby!
Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. All you need is a decent how-to guide, and you’ll be set to do this for your little one, and get a few minutes of rest and respite.
We all need a little refresher, now and then!
How To Swaddle Your Baby
So, without further ado, let’s get to the main reason why you’re here: Learning how to swaddle your little one!
You won’t need anything extra to swaddle your baby with. Just them and a soft blanket will do the job nicely!
First, you’ll want to spread the blanket out, with one of the corners facing directly upwards, then fold the top corner down, just a little bit.
You don’t want to fold it down more than a few inches, or to the center of the blanket. This will be the side where you place your baby’s head.
Now, you can place your baby on the blanket, and fold the right side of the blanket over your little one.
After that, you then fold the bottom corner over that, with enough room to not constrict your baby’s feet, and then fold the left side over, wrapping it around your baby, and securing the layers underneath.
And that’s it! That’s all there is to this vital, but simple step for comforting your newborn.
If you’re looking for another way to remember this pattern, try and think of it like a fajita: One side hold’s all the blanket’s contents, the bottom side holds that side in place, and then the last side wraps around and keeps everything secure!
(Yes, we also thought it was a weird way to remember how to swaddle your child. But we certainly found it quite a fun and noble way of keeping in mind how to swaddle a baby!)
Benefits Of Swaddling
There are a couple of very important reasons why you should know how to swaddle when the time calls for it.
Swaddling your baby is a great way to keep them warm, especially if you know that they are cold.
The wrapping of the bottom of the blanket helps trap any warm air that your baby needs for staying cozy and making sure that their feet don’t go cold.
(Trust us, you’ll know when your baby’s feet are too cold!)
However, it is generally considered a great way of making your baby feel safer and more secure, than they would with a simple blanket, and helps them stay calm.
It’s also a great way of limiting the startle reflect your baby may have when they are asleep, which can often wake them up from a nap.
Dos & Don’ts
So, we’ve established why swaddling is a good thing for your baby.
However, there are a couple of other things that you should keep in mind when trying to get the swaddle just right
- Make sure that your swaddle is nice and snug for your baby. The temptation to loosen up the swaddle because you’re worried about your baby feeling claustrophobic is valid, but not the case, it turns out. It makes them less comfortable and results in a swaddle that doesn’t hold its shape or heat easily.
- Don’t worry about swaddling your baby too early. Newborn infants love the comfort that swaddling brings them.
- Make sure to listen closely to your baby while they are swaddled. They will likely at some point become too hot and will need one or both of their arms free to cool down. Also, make sure to check for heat rashes – Swaddling too much or tight is known to cause this in babies.
- Do not cover your baby’s mouth with any fabric. Despite how comfortable it is for them, it is also a very easy way for them to suffocate, one of the biggest causes of infant mortality at this early stage.
- Don’t swaddle a baby that is actively resisting you from swaddling it. Whatever issue they are having is likely not going to be solved by swaddling them here, so make sure to do a full check, in case something else is disturbing them.
- Don’t try to swaddle/hold your baby’s legs too tight. While having their arms held close to them will comfort them, babies will start to feel distressed if every part of their body can’t move.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Swaddle My Baby Overnight?
It can be tempting to swaddle your baby in their bassinet or their crib overnight, to make sure that they stay warm. However, this is not recommended by pediatricians.
Swaddling a baby overnight has been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), with the blanket, while being unsupervised by sleeping parents, is a real choking hazard for your little one.
When Should I Stop Swaddling My Baby?
Generally speaking, you should stop swaddling your baby when they start to be able to roll over for itself.
Not only will swaddling at this point be more distressing, but it can also cause them to suffocate if they roll over onto fabric in front of their face.
What Happens If I Swaddle Wrong?
A swaddle that s done too loosely will likely fall off of your baby very easily, while one that is too tight on your baby will cause them to become distressed and cry.
As you can see, while a little nerve-wracking at first, getting a swaddle right is a great feeling as a parent.