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- Many people think swaddling is a complicated process, but with the right swaddle, it is easier than you might think.
- We break down how to swaddle a baby like a pro and offer up swaddle recommendations that get the job done.
- We personally like traditional swaddle blankets that are made by Aden + Anais and Little Unicorn, but the Swaddle Me Original is also super easy to use with its hook and eye closure.
When it comes to using a traditional swaddle, it can be a little tricky. You have to do what with what? I didn’t even know what a swaddle was until my delivery nurse showed me how to use one. Watching her wrap my son up with perfected finesse gave me the impression swaddling was easy. Plus, I gave birth to the little guy, I should be a natural. Boy was I wrong.
While swaddles are one of the most essential items a new parent needs, using one poses some challenges. Swaddles help soothe a crying baby, help your baby sleep longer (and you), and are perfectly safe to use. Yet, how do you actually wrap one?
Well, after you learn a few tricks, you’ll be on your way to receiving a master swaddler reward. Okay, this doesn’t exist, but if it did, I would definitely have one. After much trial and error, I could swaddle my son in five seconds flat.
Now, you can too when you follow these simple instructions. Below you’ll find step by step instructions for how to swaddle using a traditional wrap and how to swaddle using one with hook and loop closures.
Here are our favorite swaddle blankets:
- A traditional swaddle blanket: aden + anais Classic Muslin Blanket
- A fun traditional swaddle blanket: Little Unicorn Space Swaddle Blankets
- A hook and eye swaddle blanket: Swaddle Me Original
Keep scrolling to learn how to swaddle a baby.
How to swaddle using a traditional wrap
Aden + Anais
If your baby hasn’t arrived yet, you can practice with a doll. But if you have a real baby, the practice is more fruitful.
Gather your baby and a traditional swaddle like the aden + anais Classic Muslin Blanket or the Little Unicorn Space Swaddle Blankets. Now this bit of instruction might seem odd (of course, you need a baby), but as a new mom I was pretty clueless, so I’m hoping that others are too.
You’ll want a swaddle with soft, breathable material that’s easily stretched. The best part about these super cute swaddles is you can use them for a stroller blanket or as a blanket during tummy time. I used the swaddles long after my little ones no longer needed to be swaddled.
Here’s how to swaddle a baby like a pro:
- Lay the swaddle blanket on a firm surface such as your mattress without the cushy bedding.
- Take one corner of the swaddle blanket and fold in the shape of an upside-down triangle or diamond about a half way down the swaddle.
- Place your baby on the blanket with his shoulders on the edge of the folded down part.
- Gently hold his hands down to the sides of his body as you take the left side of the fabric and pull tightly across his body and cover one arm.
- Slightly lift up the right side of his body and tuck some of the fabric in under his body. Still holding his arms straight so he doesn’t squirm out.
- Pull firmly on the untucked fabric for a tight fit. This is the first trick of mastering the swaddle.
- After this, take the bottom of the fabric and tuck into the top, by the baby’s chest.
- Next, take the untucked fabric and stretch tightly across to the other side. You’ll now cover the baby’s other arm.
- Okay, here’s the next trick to mastering the swaddle. You need to gently turn your baby over on his stomach and pull the swaddle again. Do this quickly.
- You repeat the turn and pull until no fabric remains. Remember to pull tight.
- Tuck the end of the fabric into the swaddle.
- You now have the cutest baby burrito.
Some important techniques to keep in mind when swaddling
Crate & Barrel
- As a mom, I worried about making the swaddle too tight, and my D- swaddling efforts didn’t give my baby or me any rest. But when his papa wrapped him tightly, he slept, yes, like a baby. I then began to follow his example and became a master swaddler.
- The muslin fabric is stretchy and soft, so don’t worry about it hurting your little one. What you need to worry about is making sure the wrap is secure. If it isn’t tight, your little Houdini might break free.
- Before you start to swaddle, make your baby is sleepy but awake. Wrapping a squirming baby is no fun for anyone.
- During the winter months, you can wrap your baby burrito in another muslin swaddle for extra warmth.
- Remember to swaddle with straight arms or ones resting on his chest.
- Don’t let the fabric swaddle touch the cheeks.
- Diaper only or a soft onesie is preferable. This way you don’t have to worry about bulky clothes bothering your baby when swaddled.
Now, that you have the steps to swaddle like an Instagrammer with a large following, you’ll have a much happier baby (and mom too).
How to swaddle using hook and loop closures
If the traditional swaddle is too much for you, get your swaddle on with a simpler one.
Thankfully, swaddles come in all shapes and sizes, so you’re bound to find one that works. For beginners, the Swaddle Me Original is oh so easy to master and comes in cute designs. It’s really a score all around.
Follow these simple techniques to swaddle your baby:
- Lay the swaddle on a flat surface.
- Open the adjustable wings and spread them out.
- Lift open the pouch and slide the baby’s legs inside.
- Make sure the baby’s hands are along his sides
- Close the wings over the chest and secure with the hook and loop closures (Velcro).
- Plop in the pacifier, turn on the sound machine, and place the baby gently in the crib.
- Exit stage right or rather creep stage right.
That’s really all there is to it. I found the traditional swaddle better for stronger babies and better value over the long run because the muslin blanket fits babies until they begin to roll over.
Once babies roll over, you should stop swaddling for safety reasons. But by then, your baby has learned (hopefully) to self-soothe, a skill something swaddle makers claims being wrapped encourages. And I think they’re right.
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