By Vanesa Sallego
Swaddling has been found to be an effective way to soothe a fussy or colicky baby, as well as a way to help your baby sleep better. This method for wrapping your baby, which mimics the warmth and comfort they felt in the womb, needs to be done properly in order to be effective and safe.
The following are step-by-step instructions on how to swaddle a baby.
- Get started: Spread a large, thin blanket out with one of the corners slightly folded over. Lay your baby on his/her back on the blanket with the head at the edge of the folded corner and pick up one corner of the blanket and bring it across the baby’s body while holding your baby in place. Tuck the blanket underneath your baby.
- Cover the feet: Pull the bottom point of the blanket upwards. You want to leave enough room for your baby to be able to move his/her feet freely. Swaddling too tight can increase the risk of hip dysplasia, overheating, and respiratory infection.
- The Final Step: Pick up the other corner of the blanket while continuing to hold your baby in place. Bring the blanket across your baby’s body and tuck it underneath the baby so that only their head and neck are showing.
A Few More Pointers on Safe Swaddling
Once your baby is properly swaddled you’ll want to take these precautions to help keep them safe and comfortable:
- Always place a swaddled baby on his or her back. Placing them on their stomach may make it difficult for them to breathe. Stomach sleeping has also been linked to a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Stop swaddling your baby once they learn how to roll. If your baby has learned how to roll onto his or her stomach, it is no longer safe to swaddle them.
- Check for signs of overheating. Overheating is not only uncomfortable, but has also been linked to an increased risk of SIDS). If the room temperature is warm or if your baby shows signs of overheating, like sweating, looking flushed, or feeling warm, avoid swaddling.
- Don’t cover the face or neck. The face and neck should always be exposed when swaddling your baby to avoid overheating or suffocation.
If you’re not sure that you’re swaddling your baby properly, speak to your doctor or midwife.