Baby swaddles: the elusive technique made easy for new parents
Parents have been swaddling their babies for more than thousands of years. Whether you’re a new parent or a seasoned one, you would appreciate the extra nap that swaddling your baby in our recommended technique will bring you.
Swaddling a baby might seem like a math puzzle to many parents and helpers like godparents, uncles, aunts and siblings. Wrap this, tuck that. It can feel not very clear, especially when you’re up for a 2 AM feeding. Learning and practicing the art of swaddling your baby will help you get more sleep. It will also help your baby feel more secure and comforted, just like they were in the mother’s womb.
How to swaddle a baby
This easy-to-remember Down Up Squared swaddle technique makes the seemingly difficult task of wrapping a baby easy to accomplish!
Why do we need to swaddle babies?
Touch is our most primitive and reassuring feeling. The first S of the 5 S’s, swaddling, reminds babies of the womb’s embrace, and it’s a similar experience to being cuddled skin-to-skin. Still, its significant advantage is that it envelops a baby’s body with a soft caress that can soothe them for hours while sleeping, and they can’t be in your embrace.
Infants have very little control over their arms. Swaddling prevents your little one from whacking themself in the face and getting even more upset. It also prevents them from startling themselves and interrupting sleep. Once wrapped, the infant can be calmed soothed by the other S’s (Side-Stomach, Swinging Shushing, or Sucking)
What you should know before swaddling a newborn
When you’re just learning to swaddle, it’s best to practice it when the baby is calm or already asleep.
The first step to calming a fussy baby is to give them a cozy hug. That’s precisely what swaddling does. It embraces your baby and is the best way to begin before you even touch a swaddling blanket!
Down up squared: the most effective baby swaddle technique for infants
The best swaddling trick is a straightforward approach. Termed as the Down and up squared baby wrap to help parents remember the steps: Down, up, down and up! You can call it the DU2 steps.
How to swaddle a baby
As explained below, you will learn from this step-by-step guide for swaddling a baby.
1. Place a light cotton blanket on the bed. You can use a 44 by 44 inch square piece while orienting it like a diamond, with one point facing the north. Fold the north corner down. The north tip should land near the center of the blanket. Place the baby on the blanket, their neck placed right above the edge of the top fold.
2. Holding the right arm against their side, grab the blanket about four inches from the right shoulder. Then, pull it snugly down and across the baby’s torso. Tuck it under the baby’s left butt. It should look like half a V-neck sweater. Next, grab the free blanket beside their left shoulder. Tug it firmly away from the body to remove any slack. The right arm should now be straight and snug against their side. Just like swaddling is the key to calming, the first DOWN is the foundation of baby swaddles. Fix it snugly, or the whole wrap will come undone.
Note: Don’t be alarmed if the baby’s cries escalate when you start this or any swaddle technique! You’re not hurting them. They don’t understand that she’s only seconds away from happiness.
3. Now, holding their left arm against their side, bring the point at the bottom of the blanket straight up and place it on the left shoulder. Tuck the fabric’s edge snugly around the left arm. Again, grab the blanket next to their shoulder and pull it straight out, away from the baby’s body, to eliminate any slack.
Note: The blanket should be loose around their legs, but their arms should be snugly straight inside. Bent arms will make the baby wiggle out, and that makes them cry even more.
4. Grab the fabric just a few inches from the left shoulder and pull it down a smidge. The small flap should come down to the upper chest to form the other half of the V-neck. Lightly press that smidge against their breastbone, like you’re holding down a ribbon while making a bow.
Note: Don’t bring this fold down to your baby’s feet! It’s just brought down to the chest.
5. Grabbing the smidge on the chest, take the last free blanket corner and pull it straight out, away from the body, to remove any slack. Then, lift that corner up and directly across their forearms as a belt. The blankie should be large enough for this part to wrap all around the body. Then, snug it tightly and tuck it into the front of this “belt.”
Note: The final step is not directly up. It is an up and across movement. The arms should be held snug and straight, but the legs should be loose enough to bend at the knee and open at the hips.
Is swaddling good for babies?
Yes, swaddling is excellent for babies. Swaddling babies reminds them of the womb and skin-to-skin contact with the mother. Swaddling correctly newborns is a great solution to calm them and help them sleep.
Do you swaddle a baby with their arms up or down?
It’s advised to swaddle the newborn with their arms down and to the sides rather than across their chests. Wrapping with the arms down reduces the likelihood that your baby will wiggle out of the swaddle or bunch it up to their face.
Many parents and guardians never learn to swaddle their newborn correctly. That can be concerning because incorrect swaddling may accidentally worsen their crankiness or implicate a health hazard. Luckily, you have us to show you safe swaddling. It may be confusing at first, mainly if the baby is upset or struggling. But you get the hang of it after 5 or 10 tries; hang in there!