Bringing your newborn home is one of the most exciting and scary times as a new parent. Will I ever get to sleep again? How do I get my baby to sleep longer at night? Learning how to swaddle your newborn can help your baby, and you, sleep more soundly at night. Swaddling can lead to a better night’s sleep because it helps the baby feel cozy and warm, as they did in the womb. Swaddling restricts the baby’s movement which helps reduce their startle reflex and prevents babies from flailing their arms and legs, in turn waking themselves up.
How to Swaddle Using A Variety of Swaddle Techniques
Learning how to swaddle can be so beneficial for new parents. There are several different types of swaddles and swaddling techniques that can be used to help achieve a better night’s sleep for your baby. We have 5 of our favorites that are easy to learn for any new parent.
Traditional Swaddle Blankets
Traditional swaddle blankets can be used to wrap your baby tightly, but gently by hand. These blankets are usually large, square in shape, relatively thin, and stretchable for easy swaddling. Aden + Anais muslin swaddle blankets are great. Swaddling by hand is an art and can be challenging, but with practice and a good technique, it can be very effective.
- Start out by placing the blanket on a flat surface, in a diamond shape.
- Fold the top corner down about a quarter of the way so that you create a triangle.
- Place your baby on his/her back in the center with their shoulders slightly above the top of the folded triangle.
- Take the left corner of the swaddle across their right shoulder, wrapping it across the baby’s chest and tucking it underneath their back, leaving the left arm free.
- Take the bottom corner of the swaddle, by their feet, and bring it up and over their left shoulder, tucking it underneath. This section also wraps around their left arm.
- Tuck that underneath and behind their back too.
- Lastly take the right corner of the swaddle up and over the left shoulder, across the belly and behind their back.
Some things to double-check as you are learning how to swaddle for the first time. Make sure the blanket is secure at the chest and shoulders. It should never be coming up and over the baby’s neck or mouth.
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Guided Swaddle Blankets
Guided swaddles such as Miracle blankets, help you to swaddle your baby more easily by providing flaps and pockets on the swaddle blanket.
Start by laying the swaddle flat with the foot pouch at the bottom.
- Place baby in the middle of the swaddle, between the arm flaps, with their shoulders slightly above the top of the swaddle.
- Take each arm flap and wrap it around the outside of the arm tucking it underneath babies back.
- Next, lift the foot pouch over the baby’s legs.
- Take the right side of the swaddle, wrapping it across the baby’s chest, tucking it in under the baby’s right armpit behind the back.
- Take the left side of the swaddle and wrap it across the belly and behind the baby until you are out of blanket.
- Finally, pull the blanket snug at the end. It’s that easy!
Velcro swaddles such as the Halo SleepSack swaddle are super simple, safe, and quick. It literally takes all the guesswork out when learning how to swaddle your baby quickly and easily, especially during those last night feeding sessions. For the Halo sleepsack, simply unzip the swaddle, open it up and lie flat. Place baby inside the swaddle, place arms through the armholes and feet towards the bottom. Zip the sleep sack all the way up. There are 3 different options for the baby’s arm placement using the Halo swaddle.
Option 1: How to swaddle with arms in. Place the baby’s arms down at their sides, slightly bent, wrapping the left side of the swaddle over the right arm across the belly and tucking it underneath the left armpit, behind the back. Take the right side of the swaddle and wrap it around the baby’s left arm, velcroing it snug across the belly.
Option 2: How to swaddle with 1 arm out. Use the same instructions as above, except take the right side of the swaddle and leave the left arm free.
Option 3: How to swaddle with 2 arms out. Follow the same instructions but when wrapping the velcro swaddle wings, leave both arms out, and velcro the swaddle snug around the baby’s belly.
Zipper swaddles, such as the Love to Dream Swaddle Up, are by far the easiest and fastest swaddle option. The Love to Dream allows you to swaddle your baby safely with their arms up by the face, which can be soothing for your baby. Simply unzip the swaddle and place it on a flat surface. Put baby in the center of the swaddle with their arms up, and zip up. Simple, fast, and incredibly effective.
Cocoon Swaddling is like giving your baby the comfort of her womb home. The Itzy Ritzy swaddle adds in the extra security hug to make your baby feel safe. It’s especially designed for newborns to 3 months of age. You can use this alone as you are learning how to swaddle your baby for a looser fit, or use it to put your baby in – almost like a big sack. No twists and wraps to learn with this one. Simply wiggle your precious baby into it and they’ll be snug as a bug.
How to Swaddle Safely and When to Stop
Babies should always sleep on their backs and on a firm flat surface for safe sleep practices. Never place baby face down in a swaddle. Babies should NOT be swaddled after they begin to roll over. If a baby is extremely fussy or fights their way free of the swaddle it may also be time to stop the swaddle and allow the baby to move more freely. You can also check out the AAP Guidelines for all safe sleep practices and more recommendations.
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Learning how to swaddle your baby can be super effective in helping them sleep better at night. There are a variety of different swaddle types and techniques that can be used when learning how to swaddle. The best thing to do is to learn what works best for you and your baby. Happy swaddling, snuggling, and sleeping soundly!