Why do we swaddle?
For a baby who has spent their entire life inside a snug, warm womb, getting used to the outside world can take a bit of time. Swaddling is aimed at helping your baby transition to a new environment by simulating the cosiness, warmth and security of being back inside mum.
We only swaddle for the first couple of months of a baby's life. After that, your baby's limbs become more motive and they'll want more freedom as they start to grow. Don't stress about the timing: you'll know when to stop swaddling when your baby starts to resist being wrapped up or works their way out of the blanket.
What do I need to swaddle?
- Choose a lightweight cotton or good quality flannel blanket. The dimensions you should aim for are roughly 100cm x 100cm, see products below
- A large flat surface area works best, like a table or bed.
How to swaddle
- Lay the blanket out and position it to make a diamond.
- Take the top corner and fold it over towards the centre of your diamond. Bigger babies will have a smaller fold, and smaller babies a bigger one.
- Lay your baby down so that they rest the top of their neck on the crease of the fold.
- Hold your baby's right arm by their side, then bring the left corner of the blanket over their body and tuck it snugly beneath their back.
- Bring the bottom corner up to enclose baby's legs in a little pouch. They should have enough room to kick up and out.
- Hold your baby's left arm down and bring the right corner over their body. Tuck the blanket snug beneath their back.
- If you have enough blanket left over, you can bring the corner all the way around baby and up to tuck it into the fold by their chin.
- When laying your baby down, always place them on their back
- Avoid using heavy knits or fleece, which can restrict breathing if they bunch up around your baby's face.
- Try to limit swaddling to sleep times or night time. Babies need opportunities to move freely throughout the day to develop their motor skills.
- Make sure to leave enough room for your baby to move their legs up and out. Too much restriction in this area can lead to poor development in the hips, a condition called hip dysplasia.
- Loose blankets can be a SIDS risk, so make sure you swaddle safely. You might take a few times to get it right, but you'll soon get the hang of it.
- There are a few ways to swaddle, and you'll find one that works best for you both. In the end your goals are to make sure your baby is snug, comfortable and safe.