How to Swaddle a Baby

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Little ones are often comforted when they’re swaddled—but you’ve got to get it right. Here’s how to properly wrap your baby burrito.

Swaddling Safety Tips

When using a swaddle, always do so carefully. Should a blanket come unwrapped, it becomes a suffocation hazard and puts baby at a greater risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by having loose cloth in his sleep space.

To avoid danger during naps and at nighttime, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises putting baby down to sleep on his back. It’s also a good idea to stop swaddling before he learns to roll over (around the 4-month mark), so he doesn’t turn onto his tummy and get stuck face-down without his arms out to help him roll back over.

Transitional swaddles are another option to consider if you want to continue safe swaddling once baby hits the rolling milestone. These wraps allow for an arms up position inside the swaddle (which still helps with the startle reflex), or you can opt to keep one arm out (or both) depending on how your baby is best soothed. Once your wee one has fully grown out of the swaddle phase, you can move to a sleep sack (also known as a wearable blanket) for warmth and general comfort.

Finally, keep the swaddle blanket loose around the hips to prevent hip dysplasia; baby’s legs should be able to bend up and out at all times.

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Easy and Secure Swaddling Technique

STEP 1

Spread a large, lightweight blanket (muslin is a popular choice to avoid overheating) on a flat surface.

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STEP 2

Fold the top corner of the blanket down to form a triangle with the bottom corner. Place baby in the center of the triangle, with his shoulders just below the fold.

swaddle1STEP 3

Place baby’s right arm, slightly bent at the elbow, flat against his body. Take the left side of the wrap and bring it across your baby’s chest, tucking the edge of the wrap under his body.

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STEP 4

Pull the bottom of the blanket up, and tuck the fabric into the top of the swaddle.

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STEP 5:

Bring the right side of the wrap across baby’s chest, tucking the fabric underneath to secure it.

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By Sarah Granger

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