HOW TO SWADDLE A BABY: STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
Swaddling can be beneficial for your newborn baby and it’s safe as long as you use the correct technique. In this blog we will give you a step-by-step guide on how to swaddle your baby, as well as giving you answers to some common questions and misconceptions about swaddling.
What is swaddling?
Swaddling is an ancient method of wrapping a baby up gently in a blanket or cloth, in order to help them feel calm, comfortable and cosy. When done correctly, baby should only have their body wrapped and not their neck or head. The idea is that being swaddled gives baby the same feelings of security and snugness that they had when in the womb.
Does swaddling have benefits?
Yes and no (depending on who you speak to…) Experts are divided about whether all the reported benefits of swaddling stand up to scientific scrutiny. However, many parents swear by the benefits of swaddling, saying that it helps baby sleep better, protects against the natural startle reflex, and reduces anxiety in babies, by imitating a mama’s touch.
Is swaddling safe?
While swaddling is perfectly safe when done in the right way, it can be harmful if the technique is incorrect. If you don’t stick to a few simple safety guidelines, the risks of swaddling can include:
Excessively tight swaddling that restricts your baby’s leg movement can lead to a condition called hip dysplasia, which is when the hip joint doesn’t form properly. This is why it’s important to make sure your baby’s legs can kick freely and move into their natural ‘frog-like’ position even when your infant is swaddled.
Babies can’t control their own body temperature as well as older children or adults. This means swaddling your baby too tightly or in thick blankets could lead to overheating. Avoid this by regularly checking that your baby is at a comfortable temperature for sleeping and removing layers if necessary. Signs that your infant may be too hot include damp sweaty skin or hair, flushed cheeks or skin that feels hot (not just warm). An overheating baby may also cry or seem restless.
How to swaddle: Step-by-step
- Spread the blanket out flat – in a diamond shape – on a changing table, bed or the floor, and fold down the top corner.
- Lay your baby face-up on the blanket, with his or her head at the folded corner.
- Gently put your baby’s right arm down by his or her side.
- Wrap the right corner over your baby and tuck it underneath your baby’s left side.
- Bring the bottom corner of the blanket up over your baby’s feet, towards the shoulders, leaving the neck and face uncovered.
- Next, gently position your baby’s left arm by his or her side and wrap the left corner over your baby, tucking it in under theleft side.