Everything You Need To Know About Baby Swaddling

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Wanting to know how to swaddle a baby? This post is going to teach you everything you need to know about baby swaddling.

What is swaddling?


Swaddling is a way that you wrap a baby up in a blanket. It is tight and reminds the baby of being in the womb. Having the blanket tight around them really soothes babies. This is how we had our babies sleep until their showed signs of rolling.

swaddled twins
Swaddled babies

Is swaddling safe?

Swaddling is safe when it's done right, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They have recommended that if you're going to swaddle, make sure to put your swaddled baby on his or her back to sleep.You'll also want to make sure your baby can't roll onto their back. You definitely need to care about safety when swaddling.

The swaddle needs to be tight enough that it can't come undone and cover your baby's face making it so they can't breathe. You don't want the swaddle to be too tight on baby's hips and legs though because that cause other problems.

What do you swaddle a baby with?

To do these types of swaddling techniques, we recommend using jersey knit ones. We love how the jersey knit ones are super stretchy, so you can pull them tight.

If you're wondering how to swaddle with rectangular blanket, you can also do the classic swaddle with a rectangular swaddle blanket. We don't prefer to use a rectangle one, but you can still do it. To do it with a rectangle you'll fold it in a triangle from one opposite corner to the other. There will be two points at the bottom.

Here are five options available to you:

Option #1 - Jersey Knit blanket

There are tons of different swaddle blankets. Different sizes, shapes, and fabrics. We prefer jersey knit, square, and 48"x48".

Option #2 - SwaddleMe

We used SwaddleMe for both of our babies starting a few weeks after they came home from the NICU. We didn't love swaddling in the middle of the night after feedings, so this baby swaddle came in handy. They're easy to use and our girl, Violet, loved them. We kept her in these for about 3 months. I think these worked well for her because she's super wiggly and these kept her more still.
 

At first we weren't sure how to use these, but our NICU nurse taught us how. This video will show you how to use swaddleme swaddles.

Option #3 - Love To Dream swaddle

Milo used SwaddleMe for a little while, then we found that he liked the Love to Dream swaddle more because he could have his hands up by his face.
 

Option #4 - Make your own swaddle blanket

We really love jersey knit, so I suggest getting some of that material, cutting it into the shape and size you want, then sewing off the edges. We made the one that you see in the pictures in this blog post. We had a jersey knit sheet we've never used, so we cut it up into a few swaddles. We did 48"x48", but your blanket doesn't have to be that big.

It's up to you what to swaddle a baby in, but there are tons of good options out there.

Option #5 - Muslin blankets

You can also use muslin blankets, they're just not our favorite. The muslin ones are light and thin. They're not very stretchy though. We found that it was really easy for our girl, Violet, to get her arms out of them, even as a newborn baby.

How many swaddle blankets do you need?

We recommend having 2-3 swaddle blankets per baby. That way if your baby gets spit up on one you'll always have a backup. Only having 2 swaddles per baby will cause you to do laundry often, but at least you won't have to store as many blankets.

How to swaddle a baby

These are our 2 favorite ways to swaddle our babies, Milo and Violet. We'll show you how to swaddle a baby step by step. This is also how you would swaddle a newborn. Milo was my helper in the pictures below. for reference, he weighs 13 pounds.

Swaddling Technique #1 - The Classic Swaddle

This is probably the easiest way to swaddle a baby and it's the way most people do. We learned this method while our babies were in the NICU.

Here are the steps to doing the classic swaddle:

1. Lay the swaddle blanket out in a diamond shape with the top corner folded over and place the baby in the middle with the top of the swaddle level with the babies shoulders

how to swaddle a baby step 1

2. Tuck one arm into the fold

how to swaddle a baby step 2

3. Wrap that side around the baby

how to swaddle a baby step 3

4. Take the bottom of the swaddle and bring it up, possibly tucking it around baby's shoulder

how to swaddle a baby step 4

5. Tuck baby's other arm into the fold

how to swaddle a baby step 5

6. Wrap that side of the blanket around the baby

how to swaddle a baby step 6

Swaddling Technique #2 - The Knotted Swaddle

In my opinion, this is the cutest way to swaddle a baby. Milo loves it because it's looser at the bottom which allows him to kick his feet around and wiggle more. If you're wanting to know how to swaddle with a knot at the bottom, we've included pictures and instructions below.

Here are the steps to doing a knotted swaddle:

1. Lay the swaddle blanket out in a diamond shape with the top corner folded over and place the baby in the middle with the top of the swaddle level with the babies shoulders

knotted swaddle step 1

2. Tuck one arm into the fold

knotted swaddle step 2

3. Wrap that side around the baby

knotted swaddle step 3

4. Tuck baby's other arm into the fold

knotted swaddle step 4

5. Wrap that side of the blanket around the baby

knotted swaddle step 5

6. Gather the material at the bottom and tie it in a knot

how to swaddle with knot at bottom

When to stop swaddling a baby?


If you're wondering when to stop swaddling a baby, remember to stop when they are showing signs of rolling. The duration for how long you can swaddle is different for every baby, though most babies roll from back to belly around 6 months. At this point you can transition them to a sleep sack. This will be more safe when baby can roll because it allows their arms to be free. They can then lift up and roll back onto their back if they need to.

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how to swaddle a baby

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