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Swaddling improves the duration of infant sleep

How to properly swaddle a baby to sleep

Wrapping a baby up in a light, breathable blanket so they can sleep is a practice that has been around for years. Commonly referred to as swaddling, this age-old tradition has helped millions of babies and parents get a few extra hours of sleep, something any parent can appreciate. Despite the many perks swaddling has, many parents think it’s an outdated practice and don’t know how to swaddle a baby properly. If you want to learn how to swaddle a baby, here’s a step-by-step guide.

A step by step guide to swaddling        

Swaddling simply means snuggly wrapping your baby in a thin blanket or cloth. The idea behind swaddling is helping your baby feel like how they felt while in the womb: safe and secure. Swaddling can be incredibly calming, can help soothe babies and even prevent unnecessary wake-ups caused by the baby’s startle reflex. Since the baby’s limbs are wrapped in the blanket, they can’t startle themselves awake with their flailing limbs.

  1. Swaddling might seem a bit daunting, especially if you have never done it before, but it only takes a few steps.
  2. Start by finding a level surface and spread the swaddle blanket in a diamond shape. Fold the top edge down to about 6 inches.
  3. Next, place your baby face up above the folded edge of the blanket, so their body extends straight down to the bottom corner.
  4. Straighten your baby’s left arm and wrap the left side of the blanket over the chest tucking it under the right arm and the back.
  5. Now bring up the bottom corner of the swaddle over your baby’s body and tuck it under the fold you made using the left side.
  6. Straighten the right arm and repeat the tucking process like you did on the left side.
  7. Lastly, loosely twist the bottom of the blanket and tuck it under your baby.
  8. Alternatively, you can use premade swaddles that take the work out of swaddling. The velcro and zips offer all the benefits of swaddling without any of the folding and tucking. 

Is swaddling safe?

Swaddling is safe; however, it can be risky if done incorrectly. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • The swaddle is meant to be snug, not too tight; you should be able to place 3 fingers between your baby’s chest and the blanket. It shouldn't be too loose that it might come undone at night and suffocate the baby.
  • Never swaddle your baby above their shoulders; the neck and head should always be free to move.
  • Use hip-healthy swaddling techniques to lessen the risk of your baby developing hip dysplasia. Your little one should be free to move their hips and knees, kicking as much as they want. Swaddling shouldn’t interfere with their natural leg position.

Conclusion

Swaddling is a practice that’s been around for hundreds of years. It’s the secret to having a happy, calm baby who sleeps more soundly. Mastering the art of swaddling can mean a little extra sleep for you and your baby.