A Little More Wisdom

A swaddle isn’t too tight if your baby can easily move her chest and pull her knees up.

How to Swaddle Like a Pro

Written by Cathy Hale on December 10th, 2018

Lots of moms are big fans of soothing babies with a perfect swaddle. Recently, celebrity mama and wife of Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel mentioned it as a mommy-must, noting, “If you can master the swaddle, you are set.”

Swaddling is a soothing technique for babies that has been around for thousands of years. The idea is that by wrapping your baby tightly (but not too tight), baby is soothed because it reminds her of being in the womb, which was not a spacious home.

Also, when your baby is born, she doesn’t really have control over her limbs – nor does she realize they’re hers! – so when she’s flailing around, it can be unsettling. Swaddling her in a blanket keeps her body at peace, so she doesn’t scare herself with her own limbs.

Your first foray into swaddling may feel weird, because it seems kind of mean. That’s because most new parents project how they’d feel all wrapped up like a baby burrito, and adults don’t tend to like that notion. Babies are different. As soon as an infant is properly swaddled, she will immediately calm down.

If you’re new to swaddling, there are a few things to keep mind. Think of these as tried and true tips from parents who have perfected the swaddle – baby swaddling pros!

Fabric matters

When you’re caring for a newborn, you need to monitor her body temperature when you swaddle her. Swaddling your baby in a thick blanket can be problematic. First, thick fabrics don’t tend to stretch, so it’s hard to make that swaddle stick. Second, your baby may just get too hot. Thinner fabrics with some stretch work the best for swaddling your baby

Safe swaddling

To swaddle like a pro, you need to follow Back to Sleep guidelines according to American Academy of Pediatrics. After you swaddle your infant, you must always place her in her crib on her back, not on her side or her stomach. Plus, the swaddle needs to be secure, so you don’t have any loose items in the crib with her.

Positive sleep habits

Swaddling is the perfect way to let your baby know it’s time to rest. If you swaddle your baby and then spend some time cuddling, soothing and feeding once she’s swaddled, you’re sending a positive message that helps reinforce good sleep habits. It’s an unspoken message to your baby that helps her understand her job is to sleep once she’s swaddled.

Figure out the partial swaddle

This may take some time, but if you can figure out how to partially unwrap your baby during the night, it’s a major mommy victory. Why? Because during nighttime feedings, your baby will remain warm and comfy if the upper part of her body is swaddled. If you can un-swaddle her enough to change her diaper and keep her sleepy, you could avoid those wide-awake feedings or diaper changes. The sleepier she is, the easier it is to soothe her back to sleep.

Want to share your tried & true swaddling tips? Let us know in the comments section on our Facebook page.