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Step-By-Step Guide For Swaddling Newborns & Babies

When it comes to swaddling your baby, parents have a lot of questions. Am I doing it right? Can swaddling hurt a baby's arms?  Should you swaddle with arms in or out?  Do babies wear clothes under a swaddle? Can you swaddle a baby too tightly? How long can you swaddle a baby at night? Should I swaddle my newborn at night?! The list goes on and on! We understand why. Every parent wants to do what’s right when it comes to our little ones, and swaddling can seem a bit tricky at first. Once you get the hang of how to swaddle a baby however, you’ll have a better understanding of the benefits and why this ancient tradition continues to this day.

For starters, swaddling is meant to mimic life inside the womb where baby has lived so snuggly for the past nine months. It’s that wrapped, tight feeling that helps baby feel comfortable, safe and secure as she gets used to life outside the womb. Swaddling also helps flailing arms and legs that can trigger their startle reflex (also known as the Moro reflex) that can wake her up during precious sleep time. 

One of our favorite things about swaddling has to be the cuteness factor - because who doesn’t love that little baby burrito look - adorable!

If you’re interested in how to swaddle a newborn and how to properly swaddle a baby, keep reading for our swaddle steps and some common how-to swaddle questions.

How do you swaddle a baby step by step?

  1. Make a diamond shape with your swaddle blanket. Fold down one of the corners about ⅓ of the way down. Place baby on her back in the center with her shoulders below the fold, keeping her head and face clear. 
  2. Cover your baby’s right side from shoulder to toes with that side of the blanket. Wrap it around her, arm in, and tuck it underneath the other side nice and snug.
  3. Pull up the bottom of the blanket and tuck that in under the new fold. It should be snug but also allow room so her legs and feet can kick. 
  4. Take the left side and do the same. Pull it over baby’s shoulder and arm and wrap her up until she looks like a yummy little burrito. Remember, the point is to mimic the feeling in the womb.

With swaddling being such a popular way to get baby to sleep, some parents can’t help but wonder is it okay to not swaddle a newborn? And even ask why shouldn't you swaddle your baby? Of course every family has to make decisions based on what works best for them, but once you learn how to swaddle baby for sleep, and trust that you are the expert on your own baby, you’ll be amazed that you can swaddle your baby like a champ. Pretty soon you’ll know how to swaddle a baby with arms out, how to swaddle a baby rectangle, and even how to swaddle when you’re half asleep.

One last thing, some Do’s and Don’t of Swaddling are this: 

  • Don’t swaddle with a blanket that’s not meant for swaddling
  • Don’t swaddle baby so that fabric covers their nose, mouth, or face
  • Don’t swaddle baby’s legs so tight that they can’t move them - they should be able to kick freely
  • Don’t swaddle baby’s arms over their chests, they should always be on their sides
  • Don’t swaddle baby once they start rolling over
  • Do put baby to sleep on her back - always
  • Do ensure that you can place two fingers underneath the top fold comfortably - this way you’ll see that baby is nice and snug but not too snug

When it comes to swaddling, there are lots of options out there. Our Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack makes things easy thanks to our detachable swaddle wing that can be used as a weighted baby swaddle or sleep sack. The gentle weight naturally reduces stress and increases relaxation through deep-pressure stimulation to give your baby feelings of security and comfort. It’s 100% natural, soft cotton for temperature regulation and has a two-way zipper for easy diaper changes. 

With some practice, parents get the hang of swaddling pretty quickly. We always suggest practicing while baby is calm or even sleeping. It may take a minute to get used to, but once you get the hang of how to swaddle with a blanket, you’ll see how cozy and calm baby will be! 

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