When the nurses hand over your newborn at the hospital, they are wrapped in a neat little secure package. This practice is known as swaddling a baby. It helps the infant sleep soundly if you can do it right.
It can take a while for new parents to get the hang of it. Don’t wrap it tight enough, and the little one will escape. Wrap it too tight, and you’ll feel like you’re hurting them.
Don’t worry we can teach you how to properly swaddle a baby without causing them harm. Follow along as we take you through the correct steps.
What is Swaddling?
Swaddling is an ancient practice of wrapping your child in a thin cloth like a small baby burrito. Not only is it adorable to look at, but it has a wide array of benefits for the little one.
How Does it Benefit the Baby?
It’s hard for a baby to adjust to being out of the womb. They’re used to being wrapped tight in a warm hug. Swaddling the child can simulate the same feeling.
If they’re wrapped up tight, they can’t flail their little arms and legs. So, they won’t startle themselves awake. This means both you and the baby might get a good night’s sleep.
Is it Safe?
Swaddling isn’t without its risks. The blanket can unravel as the baby sleeps and cover the child’s face. Since they’re in a deep sleep, the danger won’t wake them up.
If you wrap the baby too tight, it can hurt their hips and joints. You’ve got to know how to swaddle a newborn right to avoid any of these issues. It can cause some anxiety.
Spread the Blanket on a Flat Surface
Take a look at these baby swaddles and choose one that you like. Lay it down on a flat surface with one of the corners pointing straight up. It should resemble a diamond when you’re done.
Fold the top corner down a few inches and grab your baby.
Place the Baby
Place the baby face-up on the blanket that you’ve prepared. Their head should sit above the fold you made. Their bottom half will extend down toward the bottom corner.
Straighten Their Left Arm
Once you straighten the baby’s left arm, bring the left side of the blanket up over it. Tuck it under their right arm and back.
The right half of the baby should still be free, but don’t worry. We’ll fix that in the next step.
Bring the Bottom Up
Pull up the bottom corner and tuck it into the other fold you made right where their chin is. Straighten the baby’s right arm the way you did the left and tuck it under their left side. That’s all there is to it.
If you’re still worried about swaddling the baby, we have a few additional tips that might ease your mind. Ways to tell if you’re wrapping it too tight or to stop the little from overheating.
Don’t Make it Too Snug
It’s difficult to wrap the swaddle too tight, but it’s not impossible. The bottom needs to be loose enough where the baby’s legs can spread out. Again, if they’re forced to stay too straight, it can damage the little one’s developing joints.
To test how snug the blanket is, stick two to three fingers in the crease between the baby’s chest and the blanket. If it’s hard for you to accomplish this, chances are your baby isn’t too comfortable.
Always Place the Baby on Their Back
It doesn’t matter if you’re swaddling the baby or not, the best way to put them to bed is to place them on their back. By doing so, you’ll reduce your child’s chances of experiencing SIDS.
Never allow the baby to sleep on their stomach. It can cause airway obstruction, overheating, and carbon dioxide build-up. All of these things lead to death.
Make Sure They Don’t Overheat
Whatever you do, don’t let the baby overheat. Make sure that the temperature in the room is comfortable. The swaddle and PJs are enough to keep the baby cozy.
You don’t need to add on any extra blankets. If the baby’s hair is damp or their face is flushed, do what you have to do to cool them back down.
Don’t breastfeed While You Swaddle
Don’t swaddle the baby while you breastfeed. It’s not dangerous to them per se. They won’t choke because you decided to make sure they were as secure as possible while they ate.
The problem is that they might drift off to sleep while you feed them. Their stomach won’t get full enough, so they won’t get the nutrients that they need.
You’ve got to make sure that the baby stays active and stimulated while they enjoy their dinner. Swaddling will have the opposite effect.
How to Properly Swaddle a Baby and Make Them Feel Secure
Knowing how to properly swaddle a baby can help keep them secure while they sleep at night. For many parents, the idea of wrapping their little one up nice and tight is nerve-wracking. Nobody wants to hurt their child by accident.
As long as you follow the steps that we’ve laid out for you and always test the baby’s swaddle, we promise that you won’t bring them any harm.
Are you looking for more ways to care for your little bundle of joy? We have tips that will walk you through every step of their life. Check our blog to learn more.