How To Swaddle A Baby – Step By Step Guide

Written by Dhivya • 

The first few weeks after your delivery might prove to be tough, if your bundle of joy will not settle down to the new surroundings easily. This is because the baby misses the warmth of your womb and the “outside” world might make your baby to panic and cry. This period is nicknamed as the ‘fourth trimester of pregnancy’ as new moms learn to take care of their babies.

The good news is, you can follow the old practice of mothers, which is swaddling the baby, i.e., tightly wrapping the baby with a soft blanket. This blanket wrap mimics the warmth of the mother’s womb, thereby calming the baby down and helping her get easily settled in.

Benefits of Swaddling Baby:

As a new mother, you might be skeptical about trying to swaddle. This might be a new practice that you had never heard of, or you might personally feel that it won’t be safe for your baby. Here we present a list of various benefits offered by swaddling.

  • Swaddling prevents the occurrence of hypnagogic startles, which are sudden jerks, or fast muscular movements that can disturb your baby’s sleep and make him or her cry.
  • Swaddling lets your baby sleep peacefully as he or she would feel warm and comfortable.
  • It prevents your baby from touching his or her face which can cause irritation while sleeping.
  • Swaddling reduces the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), when compared to babies who are not swaddled.
  • It aids in neuromuscular development.
  • Swaddling enables the baby to adapt to his or her surroundings and people in a gradual manner.
  • Swaddling helps both the new mom and her baby to take adequate rest for long hours.
  • It prevents all kind of discomforts your baby would feel in new surroundings.

How to Swaddle A Baby?

This is a big question lingering in the mind of the new mommas, as swaddling needs to be done in a perfect way to offer the baby a “pseudo womb”, while making him or her cozy and comfortable. If done in the right way, swaddling can make even a fussy baby fall asleep much faster. Here is a step by step guide on how you must swaddle a baby.

Step 1: Lay down a blanket

You can purchase swaddling blankets from any babycare shop, but make sure the materials are very soft. These blankets are usually of the knitted varieties and arrive in square shapes. Now lay one of these swaddling blankets in a diamond shape, making sure that one tip is facing up. Take this top corner of the laid blanket and make a fold of 6 inches to offer the look of a straight line.

Step 2: Place your baby on the blanket

Now place your baby on the blanket taking care that you make lie on her back and her shoulders must be a bit above the fold you made in the previous step. Now hold your baby’s left arm and bring it close to her chest. Then gently pull the blanket on her left side across her body. Tuck the corner of the blanket beneath your baby’s right side. You can even try to turn your baby gently to the right or lift her slightly to wrap well.

Step 3: Repeat the same for the other arm

Take your baby’s right arm and hold it on her chest. Then pull the blanket on her right side across her and then tuck the blanket end on your baby’s left side. Now both the sides are wrapped up snugly!

Step 4: Fold the bottom part of the blanket

You can now pull the bottom corner of the blanket and fold it at the back of your baby. Try twisting it slightly to allow it to stay in the same place. Make sure that the folds are not very tight and your baby’s hands are close to his or her chest. The main aim behind swaddling is to offer warmth and snug feeling and not to restrict your baby’s movement.

A Word of Caution about Swaddling!

Your baby’s leg must not be swaddled straight as it can cause hip dysplasia. This medical issue can occur in babies whose legs are held straight all the time. Always note that your baby’s legs are bent while you are swaddling.

This is important to remember as newborn babies, especially girls, face a higher risk of experiencing hip dysplasia. Mommies of little girls do make sure there is enough room for those fragile legs of their baby girls to move around in the baby swaddle blanket.

Tips To Follow While Swaddling Baby:

It is always a good idea to be safe before starting any new habit or practice. These are the tips you must remember before you swaddle your baby:

  • Always consult your doctor about swaddling, as it is best to seek professional advice before dealing with any kind of practice for your baby.
  • Swaddling is for the first few weeks after your delivery. As your baby grows older, use swaddling technique only during the nap time. After a few weeks, avoid swaddling as it might restrict the growth in babies or hamper the motor skills.
  • Do not panic if your baby has taken her hands out of the blanket. Some babies do not like their hands to be restricted. Next time, leave your baby’s hands outside when you are swaddling.
  • Always remember that not all babies might prefer swaddling. If your baby becomes irritated or extra fussy, remove the swaddling blanket.
  • Never swaddle your baby if the room is hot! Doing so can raise your baby’s body temperature and increase the chances of SIDS.

We hope the discussions on how to swaddle a newborn baby will help you understand the basics as well as the important health aspects swaddling offers. Enjoy a happy motherhood!

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