How to Swaddle a Baby

Generally speaking, babies, sleep and blankets do not go hand in hand. For many years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended placing babies to sleep on their backs, on a hard sleeping surface free of loose bedding or soft objects. There is one exception to the dictate of no blankets: swaddling.

You’ve seen the perfect swaddle – just look at that little peanut above! It creates a small sweet head effect on top of what looks like a perfectly wrapped baby-sized burrito. It looks eminently uncomfortable, and yet babies seem terribly pleased when they are so constrained. This is because such a tight wrap can resemble the feeling of being in the womb and, as such, is soothing.

There are many different types of swaddling blankets on the market, some with velcro or zippers and their own special instructions that can make changing a little easier. But if you don’t want to buy another item – or if they’re all at the bottom of your basket right now – it’s good to be able to swaddle any blanket you have on hand. Follow the AAP guidelines here:

1. Unfold the duvet evenly with one corner down.

2. Place your baby face up on a blanket, with his head over a folded corner.

3. Straighten her left arm, wrap the left corner of the blanket around her body and tuck it between her right arm and the right side of her body.

4. Then lower your right hand and fold the right corner of the blanket over her body and under her left side.

5. Fold or curl the bottom of the blanket and tuck it under the baby on one side.

6. Make sure her hips can move and that the blanket is not too tight.

Ok, now it’s time for a video from theparent center of Mount Sinai :

To avoid swaddling too tight, you should stick two or three fingers between the blanket and your baby’s chest. After changing, watch for signs of overheating, including sweating, wet hair, red cheeks, heat rash, and rapid breathing.

Swaddling isn’t suitable for all babies – some just don’t like it. Or they may want to swaddle their torso but leave their hands free. That’s okay too! But you should always stop swaddling as soon as your baby shows any signs of trying to roll over (sometimes as early as two months old), as rolling over while changing swaddling can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.


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