Do you have a new baby in your life? Whether you've recently had your first child or you've taken to babysitting an infant, there are a few things that you need to know to help you take care of the little bundle.
Babies enjoy being swaddled. It calms them and prevents them from accidentally startling themselves with their own limbs (which sounds amusing but also results in a crying baby). Wrapping them up like cute little burritos gives them a sense of a security.
But how do you swaddle a baby?
Many of us have the experience of putting the baby at the center of the blanket and then staring blankly because we don't know what to do next. Fold it like wrapping paper? Fold it like an actual burrito? That's not right...
Don't worry, we're here to help. Keep reading to learn how to swaddle a baby the right way.
First: How to Swaddle a Baby in a Blanket Step-By-Step
Once you get the hang of swaddling a baby, you'll be able to do it at lightning speed. Newborns are easiest as they don't do much moving, so you'll be able to get the swaddle tight more easily. Because they enjoy it, they don't fight it as much.
As the child progresses through its infancy, it will still enjoy being swaddled, but it will have more control over its limbs and it may fight back.
Here are the basic steps of swaddling.
1. Set up the Blanket
When you start your swaddle, lay the blanket down in a diamond position (meaning that the corners are at the top, bottom, left, and right rather than in a flat top). Fold the top corner down far enough that the new triangle will go down to the baby's mid-back.
Place the baby on the blanket with its head resting on or just past the edge of that folded corner. The baby should be on its back.
2. Fold 1
Take the right corner of the blanket into your hand. With your other hand, gently hold the baby in place.
Bring the corner of the blanket over and across the baby and tuck it underneath the baby's back. The baby's right arm should be tucked and the left should be free.
3. Fold 2
The baby's feet should have plenty of space between them and the bottom corner of the blanket. This is going to be somewhat of a burrito move. Fold that bottom corner up to cover the baby's feet, being careful to not cause too much pressure.
The baby's legs and hips should be able to move in the swaddle to avoid injury.
4. Fold 3
Hold the baby with a gentle hand over the top of the foot fold. With the other hand, take the free corner of the blanket. Fold this corner over the baby and pull it over the baby's body, tucking its free arm. Tuck the corner under the baby.
You've completed your swaddle when only the baby's head and neck are exposed.
How to Handle a Swaddled Baby
When your baby is swaddled, it's in a safe and sturdy position. You can carry the baby in the swaddle, but ensure that its neck is always supported (as the swaddle doesn't support the head).
Hold the back of the swaddle closed when you're swaddling your baby like this regardless of whether you're holding it upright or cradling it. When the baby is ready to be put to bed, make sure you rest it on its back with the bottom tucked under the baby so it can't break free.
A swaddled baby should never be placed on its side.
It's not uncommon for a baby to wiggle an arm out during the night. If this happens and the baby wakes up, just re-tuck to calm it again.
How Long Should You Swaddle a Baby?
The swaddling time for a baby depends on the baby. As a general rule, you want to swaddle until the baby is able to roll onto its belly without help. This is because the baby may be able to free its limbs just enough to roll and end up on its stomach. Because of the swaddle, the baby may get stuck in this position.
An infant should never sleep on its stomach, especially unsupervised.
Babies tend to be able to roll onto their bellies by the time they're 5 to 7 months old, though some start as early as 3 or 4 months. Infants this age may fight the swaddle (even before they can roll) but they still enjoy it once they're in it.
What If I Have Trouble Swaddling?
Some babies are resistant to the swaddle and some parents just never get the hang of it. It's also difficult for older children or babysitters to swaddle if they haven't mastered the technique.
You can get swaddling products that can make the process easier. Some people consider this cheating, but it's really an efficient way to make your baby comfortable in a quicker way.
Pick what works for you and your baby. When the goal is comfort and a restful night of sleep, it doesn't matter how you get there.
Swaddling a Baby for the First Time? No Problem!
You want to keep your little bundle of joy safe and comfortable so that it (and you) can get a good night of sleep. A tight (but not too tight) swaddle will feel like a comforting hug for your baby and allow it to rest and feel secure. Learning how to swaddle a baby will help you both sleep better!
If you're looking for beautiful and comfortable swaddles for your baby, we might have something for you. Visit our site to check out our inventory and swaddle your baby in style.