Thursday, February 6, 2014

How to Swaddle a Baby

We originally posted this article in March 2009 - I really think this is a great swaddling technique and thought I'd repost.

After the birth of both of my sons, it took quite a while to get good at swaddling. Even with a ton of practice, I was never able to get the wrap as tight as the nurses at the hospital. These days, there are a lot of special swaddling wraps and blankets out there (I tried a few with my second son), but I still think a good old fashioned cotton blanket works the best and is the most practical since it has so many other uses after those brief swaddling days are over.

I frequently hear from parents about how wonderful our standard size blankets were for swaddling their infants. Our baby blankets are larger than most so they work out great for larger babies. I've also heard from few parents of smaller babies that our blankets worked out great for them as well because they could double wrap their child as instructed by their pediatricians.

I recently found out about a swaddling technique that works really well with our standard size blankets, so I thought it would make a great post. This technique is sometimes called the Aussie Swaddle (it was posted by an Australian mom on a baby forum a while back). There are a few variations to this swaddling technique, but you'll get the general idea. This technique works best with a rectangular shaped receiving blanket (just like our standard size blanket) in a lightweight all-cotton fabric (double-sided or thicker blankets, and some synthetic fibers like polyester, don’t breathe as well and may generate too much heat). This swaddling technique is more comfortable for many babies because it keeps their hands/fists up next to their face rather than straight down by their sides.

1. Lay blanket out on a flat surface lengthwise as shown. Fold down a flap of fabric at the top and place baby in the middle of the blanket with shoulders on the fold.


2. Place baby’s right hand under the folded flap (or you can start from the left side).

3. Keeping your baby’s hand covered with the flap (at about shoulder height), pull down the top corner of the flap and tuck under baby’s right leg.

4. Take the outer edge of this new flap of blanket and wrap it around your baby’s body and tuck under at the left side.


5. Now place baby’s opposite hand under the first original flap.

6. Flip up any extra fabric at the bottom of the blanket to create a flap at the bottom.


7. Keeping you baby’s hand covered with the flap (at about shoulder height), pull down the top corner of the flap and tuck under baby’s body.


8. Take the outer edge of this new flap of blanket and wrap it around your baby’s body to create the swaddle.

Swaddling generally works well for the first couple of months. Some people say you should stop swaddling around the time your baby starts to roll over, but I remember stopping before that milestone - it all depends on your baby. As always, check with your pediatrician for advice and resources. And please become familiar with and follow all current SIDS recommendations when putting your baby to sleep, including:

· Place infants to sleep on their backs on a firm mattress with no other objects in the crib/bed
· Avoid overheating the baby
· Keep baby’s environment smoke/tobacco free
· Ask your pediatrician for more recommendations and resources

I hope that this swaddling technique works for some of you! I'd love to see any photos or feedback.

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