How do you swaddle a baby for parents and caregivers
Stop, take a breath and prepare yourself for this super easy read covering a hot topic, how do you swaddle a baby.
We don't want to overwhelm you with useless information. Caring for your newborn is the most important job in the world, and we are here to make it easier.
If you're a new parent, you can continue your research with some of our other exciting articles. Explore our blog library and discover new ways to keep your little one safe, happy, and healthy.
Today we have an easy step-by-step guide that covers start to finish on how to swaddle your newborn correctly.
Now, let's get swaddling.
What is swaddling?
Let's address the elephant in the room. What exactly is swaddling?
Don't sweat it for any newbie parents out there if you don't know what swaddling is. It's a specific term that describes wrapping your baby up in a swaddling blanket to help them feel more comfortable.
In layman's terms, it's essentially turning your munchkin into a baby burrito that helps them feel snug and cozy.
Why should I swaddle my baby?
A swaddled baby is a happy baby.
Why? Swaddled babies tend to feel more comfortable, resulting in longer sleep and less crying. So it's basically like baby kryptonite; they can't resist the calming effects of swaddle blankets.
Swaddling has been around forever. It's not a new digital-age discovery. Families have been swaddling babies for (probably) thousands of years.
Baby's love swaddling because it resembles a mother's womb and is known to calm infants.
Although this doesn't mean all babies are in the swaddling fan club.
It's important to point out that while some babies love the womb-like feel of a swaddle, other babies may equally dislike it or feel uncomfortable in their burrito-like state. Stop swaddling your baby if they show signs of discomfort, irritability, or even anger.
Signs of discomfort and overheating can include rapid breathing, heat rash, flushed cheeks, damp hair.
An essential step-by-step guide on how to swaddle a baby
Swaddling your baby isn't difficult and can be done in a few easy steps.
Spread out and position the blanket and lay it completely flat. Then fold over one of the blanket corners -the top is best.
Place your baby in the middle of the blanket, laying them face up, with their head above the folded corner.
Pull and wrap the right corner of the swaddle blanket (keep the right arm at their side in a straight line), then tuck the end of the blanket underneath your baby's body. Congrats, you have completed half of your baby burrito.
Pull the bottom corner of the blanket and cover your baby's legs and feet. Keeping your baby's feet cozy is essential to keeping them snug and happy.
Finally, wrap the left corner of the blanket over your baby's body (with the left arm at their side in a straight line), tuck it under, and leave their beautiful head and neck uncovered.
Ensure that the swaddle blanket isn't too tight or constricting on the legs and hips. You want them to be able to move their lower body. If wrapped too tightly, it can cause hip dysplasia or dislocation.
The Mayo Clinic has an incredible picture guide resource on how to swaddle your baby for anyone who is a visual learner and needs a pictorial guide.
You've just learned the most straightforward steps that answer your burning question "How do you swaddle a baby." Let's continue reading to look at a few safety considerations to be mindful of after swaddling your baby.
Safety protocols and guides after swaddling your baby
You've successfully swaddled your baby, congrats! When you're ready to lay them down for their next swaddled nap or bedtime sleep, remember a few safety tips.
Laying them down to sleep
Always place your little one on their back in their crib (with or without a swaddle). Placing babies on their back to sleep reduces the risk of SIDs. Ensure there is no extra bedding, toys, or blankets in your baby's crib.
Don't swaddle too tightly
When wrapping your sweet pea up to resemble a really cute burrito, make sure to practice hip-healthy swaddling. You don't want the swaddle to be too tight on their hips or legs as it can cause hip problems.
Don't worry, though. There's an easy way to check this. If you can place two to three fingers between the swaddle and your baby's chest, then it's perfect. Not too tight and not too loose.
Check their temperature
Check to make sure they aren't too hot while swaddled. If you notice rapid breathing, damp hair, sweating, or flushed cheeks, your baby's temperature is too high, and they are overdressed.
Because swaddling can inhibit your baby's natural "startle" response (the ability to wake themselves up), this can increase the risk of SIDS.
If you have specific concerns about swaddling and your baby's health, speak to your baby's doctor or pediatrician.
What kind of swaddle should you use?
When choosing a swaddling blanket to keep your baby warm, you want to buy a breathable fabric. A natural, breathable fabric prevents overheating and feels comfortable on your baby's chest and body. Linen, cotton, muslin, or a cotton blend are ideal materials.
There are more products to choose from than swaddle blankets, though. Wraps or a sleep sack are sometimes easier to use and offer the same benefits as swaddling. Weigh the pros and cons and consider what works best for you and your family! A sleep sack is an easy-to-use option if you want other family members to help babies feel snug easily.
When do you stop swaddling infants?
Let's not mince words. The American Academy of Pediatrics says you should stop swaddling infants when they can roll over or show signs they are ready to roll over, which commonly happens when they are two months old.
If you have specific questions about your little one and their specific growth or health needs, contact your baby's doctor.
Frequently asked questions
Do I swaddle my baby with their arms up or down?
The proper and safe technique for swaddling babies is with their chubby little arms straight at their sides. You don't want their arms outstretched, outside the swaddle, or crossed on the baby's chest.
Swaddling with their arms at their side, tucked into the blanket, ensures a safely swaddled baby. If your little one hates having their arms tucked into the swaddle, it's best to skip it altogether. Swaddling isn't suitable for every baby's body!
Do I need to swaddle my baby?
Not at all! Swaddling is not a requirement to keep your baby happy and healthy. Some babies benefit from the soothing effects a swaddle provides, while other babies may seriously dislike the tight embrace of the swaddle wraps.
Swaddling a baby doesn't guarantee they will get better sleep.
The best soft sole shoes for babies
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