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What does swaddle baby mean

Swaddling is a technique used for wrapping a baby in a blanket for warmth, comfort, and security. Nowadays, almost all moms are taught this technique in the hospital before being discharged.

Have you seen a baby wrapped as a cute package using clothing to restrict the movement of their limbs? Well, that is what we refer to as swaddling. It is quite an ancient method to wrap infants either using a blanket or clothing. I remember the first time I tried swaddling my baby, it seemed very complicated. However, with some tips that I will be sharing with you, I became a pro and so can you!  You may ask yourself, why should I swaddle my newborn?

Studies have shown that swaddling helps to keep the baby calm when they are overstimulated or when having their startle reflex. It also helps the baby feel the tightness and security they used to be familiar with while in the womb.

Studies have shown that swaddling gives babies’ better quality sleep, and they sleep longer.

Advantages of Swaddling

There are many advantages of using this method correctly which include but not limited to;

  1. It soothes the baby and makes them sleep longer.
  2. It ensures that the baby is secure and experiences less anxiety.
  3. It keeps the baby warm and comfortable.
  4. It prevents the baby from flailing their legs and arms hence they sleep more soundly.

So, since we understand how swaddling helps the baby and why it is a secure method for parents to adapt, it is important to know how to do it the right way.

There are different ways to swaddle a baby either with both arms in or out. Some of them are;

  • The Diamond swaddle
  • Square swaddle or quick swaddle
  • Sleep  sack swaddle

I will explain in detail about these different ways but let me first outline the guidelines on how to generally swaddle a baby.

How to Swaddle Baby

General step-by-step guidelines on how to swaddle the baby

STEP 1

Fold your swaddle blanket or clothing into a triangle and find a flat surface. Spread It out and place the baby at the center with the shoulders placed below the fold.

STEP 2

Place your infant’s right arm alongside her body while it is slightly bent. Take the right side of the swaddle and pull it safely across her chest. Ensure that the right arm is under the fabric. Securely tuck the edge of the swaddle under her body, leaving the left arm free.

STEP 3

Safely fold the bottom of the swaddle up, placing it over her feet. Safely tuck the clothing into the top of the swaddle.

STEP 4

Place her left arm alongside the body when it is slightly bent.  Wrap the remaining swaddle over her chest and arm.  Tuck the clothing under the baby to secure the swaddle and the baby will be successfully swaddled!

Here is a video to guide you on how to swaddle your baby in the right way;

  • Spread your swaddling blanket on a flat surface in a diamond shape (one corner pointing upwards). Fold the top corner down about 6 inches.
  • Lay the baby on their back with the head above the folded corner and neck below.
  • Bring one of your baby’s arms down while being slightly bent at the elbow. Pull the corner of the blanket adjacent to the straightened arm diagonally across the arm and chest and tuck it underneath the other arm and back. One of your baby’s arms should be covered and the other one free at this point.
  • Bring down the free arm. Pull the corner of the blanket next to the arm across the arm and chest. Tuck it under the body on the opposite side.
  • Fold the bottom end of the blanket up over the feet snugly and tuck behind the baby towards the shoulder. Make sure the baby has enough room to flex the legs and hips.

Ways to swaddle a baby

As earlier stated, there are different ways to swaddle a baby. Here are the step by step procedures when using each of them;

The Diamond swaddle

1)  Place the blanket or clothing safely on a flat surface in a diamond shape whereby the topmost corner is folded 6 inches down for the baby’s head.

2)  With the head on the folded corner, lay the baby down on their back.

3)  Safely pull the left side of the blanket over and tuck the baby ensuring that their hips are loose to prevent hip dysplasia.

4)  Carefully pull the bottom corner up and over the infant’s left shoulder.

5)  Wrap the last corner all around the baby and tuck her safely through the tiny blanket pocket created at the front.

At first, the baby may feel uncomfortable and even cry but once they feel safe in the swaddle, they calm down.

Square swaddle or quick swaddle

This is an alternative if you are not comfortable with the diamond swaddle and it is also a great one.

1)  Place the blanket on a flat surface in square shape while the top right corner is folded down 6 inches for the baby’s head.

2)  Lay the baby down on the back diagonally with their neck at the top of the fold.

3)  While ensuring the hips are loose, pull the right side over and safely tucked under the baby.

4)  Carefully pull the left side over and tuck under the baby.

5)  Safely tuck the bottom of the blanket behind the baby and you are done!

Here is an illustration of how to go about it;

Sleep sack swaddle

This one is the simplest to learn once you have purchased the Sleep Sack Swaddle. The steps are pretty easy;

1)  Place the baby safely into the sleep sack.

2)  Carefully zip the sleep sack.

3)  Wrap and then Velcro.

It is however important to note that the steps also vary depending on the product purchased. There are several swaddling clothes out there but I will talk about the most preferred later on this article.

Most preferred swaddling clothes include the following:

The Miracle Blanket

-It is 100% cotton and it is easy to use because you do not have to worry about coordinating corners when wrapping the baby.

Here is a YouTube video describing how to do it;

How to swaddle baby for pictures

  • Spread a square shaped swaddling cloth on a flat surface in a diamond shape
  • Fold the top corner of the cloth a few inches downwards.
  • Place the baby on top face up with the head above the fold but shoulders below the fold.
  • Put your baby’s left arm slightly bent at the elbow against the body. Take the right side of the swaddle and bring it diagonally across the baby’s chest. Tuck it underneath the baby to secure it.
  • Fold the bottom of the swaddle upwards over your baby’s feet.
  • Put your baby’s right arm slightly bent at the elbow against the body. Take the left side of the swaddle and bring it diagonally across the baby’s chest. Tuck it underneath the baby to secure it.

How long to swaddle baby

Newborns sleep most of the time and can be swaddled 12-20 hours a day. As they grow older, they sleep less and therefore swaddling time is shorter. Swaddling should only be done for a few hours in general, with the exception of newborns.

What age swaddle baby until

It is safe to swaddle infants below two months old, but beyond that, it is not safe to swaddle them while awake because it can negatively affect their mobility and development. That said, you can swaddle your baby for naps and sleep if that is what works for her. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, swaddling should be stopped when the baby is 2 months old.

How to swaddle baby with arms out and with arms up 

  • Spread the swaddling cloth on a flat surface in a diamond shape
  • Fold the top corner of the cloth a few inches downwards.
  • Place the baby on top face up with shoulders above the fold.
  • Take the cloth corner to the left, under the left arm and tuck it under the baby’s body to the right.
  • Take the cloth corner on the bottom and bring it upwards covering the baby’s feet but leaving enough room for the baby to move her legs.
  • Take the cloth corner on the right, bring it under the baby’s right arm and tuck it under the baby’s body on the left.

What to swaddle baby with during summer and during winter

Summer:

Consider choosing muslin wraps, Cotton fabrics, and Bamboo fabrics.

Our best swaddles for summer are:

  1. Aden + Anais Classic Muslin Swaddle
  2. Love To Dream
  3. Miracle Blankets
  4. Embe
  5. Swaddle Me Kicksie
  6. Sleepy Wings

Winter

Consider choosing Merino wool fabrics.

Our best swaddles for winter are:

  1. ErgoPouch swaddle bag
  2. Merino kids cocooi newborn swaddle wrap and beanie.

Can you swaddle baby in crib

Yes! A baby can be swaddled in the crib.

How to swaddle baby for sleep

  • Spread a square shaped swaddling cloth/blanket on a flat surface in a diamond shape
  • Fold the top corner of the cloth a few inches downwards.
  • Place the baby on top face up with the head above the fold but shoulders below the fold.
  • Put your baby’s left arm slightly bent at the elbow against the body. Take the right side of the swaddle and bring it diagonally across the baby’s chest. Tuck it underneath the baby to secure it.
  • Fold the bottom of the swaddle upwards over your baby’s feet.
  • Put your baby’s right arm slightly bent at the elbow against the body. Take the left side of the swaddle and bring it diagonally across the baby’s chest. Tuck it underneath the baby to secure it.
  • Rock the baby gently, and within minutes your cozy baby will be in dreamland.
  • Place them on the bed or crib gently.

How to swaddle baby in blanket

  • Spread the blanket on a surface in a diamond shape and fold the top corner down to about 6 inches.
  • Place the baby on top at the center, on their back. The neck should be below the folded edge.
  • Pull one side of the blanket over the arm and across the baby’s chest and tuck it on the opposite side under the other arm.
  • Fold the bottom of the blanket over the baby’s feet, leaving enough space to move the legs freely and tuck behind the baby’s shoulder.
  • Pull the remaining corner of the blanket across the baby’s chest and tuck underneath.

How to swaddle baby in muslin cloth

  • Fold the muslin cloth into a triangle
  • Place the baby on top in the center with the head above the fold
  • Place the baby’s right arm slightly bent alongside the body. Pull the swaddle corner next to the arm diagonally across the baby’s chest, with the right arm under the fabric. Tuck the corner of the swaddle under the body, leaving the left arm free.
  • Fold the bottom of the swaddle upwards over your baby’s feet and tuck on top under the chin.
  • Keep the baby’s right arm slightly bent alongside the body. Take the swaddle corner of the same side and bring it across the baby’s chest, keeping the right arm under the fabric. Tuck the corner of the swaddle under the body.

Swaddle when baby can roll over

Once the baby starts to roll over swaddling should be stopped. After that, it should only be done with one or both arms out to help the baby to push themselves up and keep the face from the mattress.

Swaddle baby at night

Babies can be swaddled at night, but there is a need for monitoring to prevent them from rolling on their tummy, which could cause them to suffocate. Even a swaddling blanket that unwraps could cover the baby’s face and cause them to suffocate.

Swaddling could also cause overheating, so layering should be light depending on room temperature and how the baby feels. Signs that a baby is overheated include; flushed cheeks, damp hair, heat rash, excessive sweating, and rapid breathing.

Also, do not put a swaddled baby in your bed; instead, put them in their crib.

Swaddle baby before and after feeding

There is no right or wrong way to do it; it depends on how your baby prefers it. Some babies get so cozy and sleepy if you swaddle them before feeding, so they end up not feeding well. Other babies get agitated and wake up if you swaddle them after feeding.

Best swaddle baby blankets

Swaddling is an old age practice that has been passed down the generations of mothers. It creates a womb-like environment for the baby and is especially beneficial for sleep time. Studies show that babies are calmer and have more quality sleep when swaddled.

Swaddling garments have undergone improvements over the years, and today we have the best swaddle blankets in various styles, fabrics, and colors that will suit your baby’s every need.

Types of Swaddle blankets:

Blanket

It is the original swaddle. It’s a traditional square shaped blanket with a minimum of 45 inches on all sides, which is folded and wrapped around the baby’s body to keep them tight, snug, and secure.

Swaddle sacks

These swaddles combine a sleep sack (loose, wearable blanket that babies wear to bed) and traditional swaddles. They are perfect for moms who find the traditional swaddling skills difficult because they have Velcro (hook and loop) and snap closures, keeping the baby snug.

Stretchy pods

These are made from stretchy fabric and with a zipper. You put the baby inside and zip up the pod, keeping the baby swaddled. They have no arm or leg openings, but they are very flexible.

Factors to consider when choosing the best swaddle:

Material: you want a breathable fabric that will not overheat and make your baby sweaty. Cotton is the best. Also, choose the material depending on the weather; cotton muslin is great for summer while fleece and merino are ideal for winter.

Ease of use: you may opt for swaddle sacks or pods if you find the traditional swaddle challenging to use. They are also easy to use by caregivers who may watch your baby.

Size: blankets are usually in different sizes. Choose a blanket that is the appropriate size for your child. A tradition blanket should have a minimum of 45 inches on every side. Other blanket types have the size, age, or size indicated by the manufacturer.

Functionality: if you want a blanket you can use for a long time, a traditional blanket is ideal. It is also multifunctional in many other ways, unlike a swaddle sack.

Versatility: some swaddle sacks offer options for traditional swaddling and transitioning.

After considering these factors, we came up with the following list of the best swaddle blankets:

  1. Love To Dream Swaddle Up
  2. Miracle Blanket Baby Swaddle
  3. Halo Adjustable 3-Way Sleep Pack
  4. Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle Blanket
  5. Swaddle Me Original Swaddle
  6. Ollie Swaddle
  7. Ergobaby Swaddler Swaddling Blankets
  8. SwaddleMe Pod
  9. Halo MicroFleece Sleepsack Swaddle
  10. SwaddleMe Wrap Sack

Best swaddle baby carriers

Carriers are fabrics used by parents to keep their babies close to the body while keeping the arms free.

Types of swaddle baby carriers:

Wraps: these are very long stretchy fabrics that you organize and wrap around your body over the shoulder and around the mid-section to create a carrier. They give a swaddle-like design which feels like the womb environment to a baby. Most of the wraps come in one-size-fits-all and adjust to all body types, but they require practice until one is able to wear it right. While wraps are great for newborns, older babies feel a bit too restricted. Wraps are more comfortable, distribute weight evenly, and can be worn for long durations.

Slings: they are wide fabrics that go over the shoulder and across the torso creating a pouch for the baby to sit in. Slings are much simpler and faster to use and are mostly suited for hot weather because they are airy. However, they do not evenly distribute weight and therefore, they should only be used for short periods.

The wraps and slings should be stretchy, comfortable, breathable, and safe. Our best wraps and slings are:

  1. Boba Wrap Classic
  2. Solly Baby Wrap
  3. CuddleBug Baby Wrap
  4. Moby Classic Baby Wrap
  5. Happy! Baby Wrap
  6. Baby K Tan Baby Carrier
  7. Kea Babies Baby
  8. Maya Lightly Padded Sling
  9. Moby Ring Sling
  10. Nakalai ring sling
  11. Wild bird x babylist ring sling
  12. Sakura bloom ring sling

How to swaddle baby for naps and for sleep

The following is a simple routine you can adapt every time you want to put your baby to sleep or nap.

  • Turn on some soothing white noise.
  • Swaddle the baby snugly with their arms down
  • Nurse your baby or give them a pacifier
  • Rock them gently and watch your baby drift to sleep within minutes
  • Put them down gently on the crib as you rock them.

Baby Swaddle Love To Dream

We cannot tell you all about swaddling your baby without mentioning the fantastic Love to Dream Swaddle Up. It is a fitted swaddle from Love to Dream Company, made of cotton and elastin.

The swaddle up is designed to keep the baby in the most natural position, which is, with their arms up when lying face up. It is the opposite of traditional swaddling, where the arms are on the sides or over the chest. When swaddling is done with arms on the side, the baby feels restricted, frustrated, and are likely to wake.

Love to Dream swaddle keeps the baby’s arms up and also prevents rolling. This position is beneficial according to medical experts, because the baby can soothe themselves by stroking their cheeks or sucking on their hands.

Another benefit is that you don’t need to do any difficult wrapping techniques or have loose blankets that are risky in a baby’s crib. Also, it has a two-way zipper, which lets you open from the bottom, giving you access to the waist down. This makes diaper changes fast and without interrupting your baby’s sleep.

The Swaddle up received recognition from International Hip Dysplasia (IHDI) for being a Hip Healthy product because their swaddles have plenty of room for the baby to move hips and legs.

On Amazon, it is ranked # No.1 in Nursery Swaddling Blankets and has a 4.6/5 rating by 1,715 customers.

Love to Dream Swaddle is safe, easy to use, and comfortable for the baby. They also have swaddles for transitioning, summer, and winter.

Features:

  • Suitable from birth to 6 months
  • Natural sleeping position
  • Promotes longer and better sleep
  • The shape of the bag gives room for the hips to move freely
  • Reduces the risk of rolling
  • Twin zipper design
  • Machine washable

Swaddle baby legs/baby legs straight

According to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI), the baby’s legs should never be wrapped straight down and pressed together. They say swaddling infants with the hips and knees in an extended position may increase the risk of hip dysplasia and dislocation.

Instead, they recommend that when swaddling, the baby’s legs should be able to bend up and out at the hips to allow natural development of the hip joints.

Swaddle baby advisory NHS

NHS (National Health Service) recommends that if parents and caregivers choose to swaddle their baby, the baby should not be swaddled too tightly and that it should leave enough room for the hips and knees to move freely. Additionally, the baby’s face should not be covered, and care should be taken to ensure that the baby does not get too hot.

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