You may have called your baby a ‘bundle of joy’ numerous times, but only first-time parents know the struggle of wrapping them in a perfect bundle using a swaddling cloth. Once you master the art of swaddling, you can calm your crying infant and make them feel cozier in their sleep. Making a burrito wrap out of your little one mimics the environment of the mother’s womb and hence helps them sleep calmly. So if you have been struggling with the piece of cloth and need step-by-step instructions on wrapping your infant correctly, we are here to help. Read on!
Basic Swaddle Steps
Here are a few things to keep a note of while purchasing the swaddle cloth for your newborn.
- The minimum size required for swaddling is 40 by 40 inches (100 by 100 centimeters). You can attempt it with other cloth materials, but a proper swaddling cloth is recommended for breathable fabrics like muslin cotton.
- Some saddlers also come with Velcro fasteners to ensure it doesn’t open if your child tries to wriggle out of it.
Note: Make sure you consider your baby’s age and your area’s climate before buying the swaddling cloth.
- You need to start by spreading the swaddling blanket out on a flat surface like the bed or changing table, whichever is convenient for you.
- Now pull one corner and fold the piece of clothing into a diamond shape.
- The blanket’s upper corner should also be folded downwards, resembling the superman symbol outline.
- The infant should be laid on its back on the diamond-shaped cloth so the triangular part points towards downwards.
- Keep the infant in the middle of the blanket, and make sure your newborn’s head is supported by your hand when you swaddle them up.
- Also, while swaddling, ensure that your baby’s face is not hidden by the blanket and that nothing obstructs their breathing.
- Raise your child’s left arm and tuck the cloth on their side.
- Stretch out your child’s left arm and gently straighten it. Hold it lightly against their left side.
- A second option is to fold the arm over the chest as if carrying the baby. However, if you bend your baby’s arms, they may be able to escape later.
- Wrap the baby in the swaddle and pull it to the right.
- For a snug and comfortable fit, wrap your infant by dragging the corner of the cloth on their left side (your right) over their body and tucking it under their right armpit.
- The child’s left arm should be placed by the blanket at their side.
- Put the infant’s right arm on the side. Do the same thing with the right arm as you are done with the left. Put it gently on the baby’s side and keep it there.
- If you fold over the blanket’s corner, it will become caught between the baby’s right side and arm.
- A variation on this is to fold the right arm over the chest, but keep in mind that doing this will make it much simpler for the infant to escape from the swaddle.
- Wrap the blanket around the infant and tuck the other end under his or her left arm.
- Wrap the baby’s upper body tightly yet gently, ensuring both arms are secured.
- Ensure that your hands fit comfortably between the baby’s chest and the blanket.
- Once the baby is all wrapped, make sure you can fit two fingers in the wrap to ensure they don’t feel strangled.
- Pull the swaddle’s bottom closure tight. Cover the baby’s feet by loosely folding or twisting the bottom of a blanket.
- Get the tail and slip it in between the legs of your infant.
- You can also draw one blanket edge over the baby’s torso and tuck the bottom corner over the baby’s feet.
Swaddling correctly allows ample room for the baby’s feet and legs to move about inside the swaddle. Overheating and hip dysplasia are the two harmful side effects of swaddling incorrectly (1). Here is how to avoid it to ensure your child sleeps cozily without any health problems.
Use Caution When Swaddling
Make sure your infant always sleeps on their back. Babies are more likely to suffer from Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) if they sleep on their stomachs or sides (2). Since swaddled infants are less likely to turn over on their own and are in more danger of suffocation, they must be kept on their backs at all times.
Note: Swaddling has not been shown to prevent or lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. However, if you do it right, this is an excellent way to help your child sleep better (3).
Till When Is Swaddling Effective?
After your baby reaches the two months benchmark, swaddling is no longer necessary. If your baby can roll over independently, swaddling won’t hold them anyway. Also, when swaddled, a baby’s safety is significantly compromised if it rolls over onto its stomach. So make sure you wrap them only when you are sure they will not try and turn over in their sleep.
Swaddling is a common practice ensuring your infant feels cozy and snug and sleeps well. However, most new parents are scared to wrap their little ones because they worry it might cause discomfort. It also might seem challenging to gauge how tight you need to cover so your baby can feel snug and not uncomfortable. It is all about practice and trusting your parental instincts to see if your child expresses discomfort after being swaddled.