Looking for a way to soothe your newborn? Every baby is different, but research shows that swaddling—a technique that mimics the coziness of the womb—can keep baby warm and comfortable and limit their limb movements, which can help him sleep better and longer. While swaddling can be quite challenging, mastering the technique is important. There are certain points that parents need to know about swaddling to ensure baby’s safety, even as they routinely swaddle the baby. Just as with every other practice, swaddling has it benefits and risks as well.
Using a Swaddling Sleep Bag
Note that each product may be slightly different, but here’s the gist!
Spread the sleep sack out and place baby on it with his/her shoulders aligning with the top of the wrap. Tuck his/her legs into the pouch and place his/her arms straight on her sides. This wrap is 3-way adjustable, which allows for both arms in, hands-to-face, one or both arms out. Wrap the larger right wing across her torso and tuck beneath her left arm. The upper surface of this right wing has the Velcro loops.
The left wing has two fabric strips with the Velcro hooks. Wrap the smaller left wing across the torso over the right wing and fasten the left wing Velcro hooks on to the right wing Velcro loops, ensuring the blanket creates a snug fit over baby’s chest.
Using an Swaddle Blanket
Spread out a large, thin blanket and slightly fold over one corner. Lay baby face up on the blanket, placing his head at the edge of the folded corner. While holding your baby in place, pick up one corner of the blanket. Bring the blanket across your baby’s body and tuck the blanket beneath him.
Fold the bottom point of the blanket up, leaving room for your baby’s feet to move freely. While holding him in place, pick up the other corner of the blanket and bring it across his body. Tuck the blanket beneath him, leaving only his head and neck exposed.
Using a Sleep Bag or Sleep Sack
Sleep bags and sacks are generally wearable blankets for babies, since there shouldn’t be loose blankets in their bassinet. They’ll keep baby warm, but aren’t quite as womb-like as a swaddle version!
Tips for Keeping a Swaddled Baby Safe
- Always place a swaddled baby on his or her back to sleep.
- Do not dress your baby too warmly for sleep.
- Stop swaddling when your baby learns to roll onto his or her stomach.
- A swaddled baby on his or her stomach might have difficulty breathing—and stomach sleeping may increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Keep in mind that swaddling can cause a baby to overheat, too. If you have questions about how to safely swaddle your baby, consult your family doctor or pediatrician.
- Do not allow anyone to smoke near your baby.
- Do not put your baby to sleep on any soft surface (sofa, chair, waterbed, quilt, blanket, sheepskin, etc).
- Check your crib for safety and use a crib that meets current safety standards with a firm, tight-fitting mattress.