As you are gradually embarking upon this new kingdom of babyhood, you keep hearing about swaddling, swaddling blankets, swaddling techniques, etc. You know you’ve heard the word swaddle before and that it involves a baby and a blanket. But that’s about it! Your mom, aunt, best friend and neighbor have recommended it and tell you that you absolutely, without a doubt, need to swaddle your baby! You find yourself hoping on the internet and frantically searching, “How to Swaddle a Baby.” No need to panic! Here at Audrey and Bear, we have your back, as well as your baby’s, too! We make personalized baby blankets and have swaddled a baby or two...or thousand. Let’s make sure that baby of yours will be swaddled correctly and enjoy some safe snoozing hours…hint, hint – maybe you will, too!
What is Swaddling?
Swaddling is an age-old practice of wrapping infants in blankets or similar cloths so that movement of the limbs is tightly restricted (Wikipedia).
Fast forward to today’s day and age…a safe way to snuggly secure your infant and create a womb-like environment. Your baby has been developing in-utero for the past 9 months and highly enjoys that warm and cozy environment. Entering the “real world” is overwhelming and overstimulating in so many ways for a newborn. Swaddling will prevent the flailing and startling of your newborn’s arms and legs; therefore, leading to a more sound and peaceful sleep.
How to Create the Perfect Swaddle
Come along on our “How to Swaddle a Newborn Baby” journey and you’ll be a master swaddler before you know it.
There is no one perfect way to swaddle a baby. Every baby is unique and has specific needs/desires. Life circumstances sometimes dictate what swaddling technique will actually be used at that point in time. With a few tricks up your sleeve and tools in your “Mommy/Daddy Poppins Bag”, you’ll be ready to tackle whatever comes your way.
Audrey and Bear swaddle experts and moms recommend a stretchy fabric…this is #1 in our book when it comes to swaddling a newborn. A stretchy fabric will allow you to get the most snug and firm wrap, as well as provide your baby with a breathable and comfortable material. These swaddling methods are tried and tested by Audrey and Bear moms and we are confident in our techniques and stand the effectiveness and security our swaddle blankets provide.
How to Swaddle Step by Step:
Step 1: Lay blanket flat with pattern facing down and fold the top corner about 1/3 of the way down.
Step 2: Place baby down where you just folded the corner. Make sure the baby shoulder is about an inch down from the edge of the blanket. Fold down their left arm to their side.
Step 3: Pull the left side of the blanket up and over the left shoulder all the way down to their right hip, this should be wrapping across baby's chest, and then tuck under.
Step 4: Baby's legs should be somewhat secured with half of the blanket swaddled and you can now fold the bottom of the blanket and bottom corner up towards the right shoulder.
Step 5: Lay down baby's arm and pull the right side of the blanket up over the right shoulder all the way down to the hips and tuck the blanket underneath the baby.
So you’ve gone through these steps multiple times and attempted the perfect swaddle too many times to count, and you still can’t get it down pat. “Keep Calm and Swaddle On!” Close your eyes, take a deep breath and try it again. You’ll get it! Your baby will realize that, “Hey, I need this and now I feel better” and magically, you’ll both feel calm, cool and collected. Swaddle champion! But maybe you never get to that point….
Startling and flailing limbs! Questions start running through your mind...Is that normal? Do all babies do this? What should I do about it? My baby looks so scared and helpless!
This is known as the Moro reflex. It is a normal baby reflex, commonly known as the “startle reflex”, that indicates a normal and developing nervous system. Pediatricians will evaluate your baby for the Moro reflex, along with other baby reflexes. It is defined as “a reflex reaction of infants upon being startled (as by a loud noise or a bright light) that is characterized by extension of the arms and legs away from the body and to the side and then by drawing them together as if in an embrace (Merriam-Webster). You may have heard the phrase "baby burrito". Once you have snuggly swaddled your baby you will see why.
Thanks to swaddling and the ideal swaddle blanket for baby, the Moro reflex can take a backseat. Ohhhh “baby whisperer”, yes we are referring to you, will easily maneuver through the swaddling motions, rock and snuggle baby, give them a kiss and watch as they drift off into dreamland. Ahhhhh, easy as putting yourself to bed, right?! Maybe not right away, but with LOTS of practice and more and more experience under your mommy/daddy belt, you’ll be a swaddling professional in no time! Maybe you and your baby can even start sleeping through the night!
Does Swaddling Work for Every Baby?
Swaddling is not a guarantee for every baby. While it makes sense to create a womb-like environment for baby to help with their transition to the big, big world, it is not fitting for every baby. If you’ve exhausted numerous swaddles and swaddling techniques and baby is still resisting, it’s time to move on. It is possible your baby does not like having his/her movements restricted and prefers a sleep sack or a gently wrapped light weight blanket.
- Creates womb-like environment
- Eases newborns transition into the big, big world
- Prepares baby for sleep
- Prevents babies from startling themselves (Moro reflex)
- Provides warmth and security
- Keeps babies hands secure so they can’t scratch their face
Baby Safe Swaddling
Back is best! Make sure you are putting baby down to sleep on his/her back on a flat sleeping surface. Swaddle blanket should be secured with no loose material posing a risk to baby. There should be no other items inside baby’s sleeping area.
Once baby is rolling over swaddling is no longer recommended and you can transition to a safe sleep sack. Pay close attention to baby’s increased movement and motor skills during the day as this will help serve as a good indicator when you should stop swaddling them. This typically occurs around 2-3 months of age.
As always, consult with your pediatrician as to what is best and recommended for your baby and their specific needs and conditions. This is true, especially for a baby with any type of medical condition.
Wishing You Well
We hope you found this post helpful and you find success on your swaddling journey. Don’t forget, if it doesn’t work for you and your baby, don’t fret! Keep on working to find out what works for your baby. Parenting would be easy if every baby was the same and things just worked…it’s far from easy!
What is easy?! We can tell you…loving baby, cuddling with baby, kissing baby, rocking baby, taking pictures of baby, wanting what is best for your baby, staring at baby for ridiculous amounts of time wondering how you could love one tiny human so much….Easy!
You’ve got this!