February 02, 2020 3 min read

Swaddling baby is an old technique used widely across the globe. Swaddle blankets come in variety of fabric, however the most common two are Bamboo Muslin Swaddling Blanket and Cotton Muslin Swaddling Blanket. For the first time-parents figuring out how to do it yourself can be intimidating, we know, we’ve been there. Here’s a step-by-step guide to swaddling a baby like a pro, how to make sure you’re doing it safely, and when it’s time to stop.

What is swaddling and what are the benefits?

  • A swaddle helps baby feel safe and secure as it adjusts to life outside the womb. 
  • Swaddling helps prevent baby from flailing arms or her legs, which can trigger her startle reflex.
  • A swaddle keeps baby cozy and warm until her internal thermostat kicks into gear. 
  • Swaddling can help baby to sleep better.

Swaddling the right way may seem a little daunting, but wrapping up your baby only takes a few steps.

  • Spread your baby’s blanket out on a flat surface with one corner pointing up, like a diamond. Fold the top corner down about 6 inches.
  • Place your baby face-up on the blanket. Her head should sit above the folded corner, and her body should extend straight down toward the bottom corner.
  • Straighten your baby’s left arm. Then take the left side of the blanket and wrap it over her left arm and chest. Tuck the blanket underneath her other arm and back. At this point your baby’s left arm will be covered but her right arm will be free.
  • Fold the bottom corner of the blanket up over your baby’s body and tuck it under the first fold, under her chin. Straighten your baby’s right arm and pull the right side of the blanket over your baby’s body and tuck it under her left side.
  • Loosely twist the bottom of the blanket and tuck it underneath your baby.

A few important things to keep in mind: The swaddle should be snug, but not too tight. You should be able to place two to three fingers between your baby’s chest and the blanket, and the blanket should be loose around hips so legs can move freely.

Swaddle blankets that are too loose or that come unwrapped during sleep could cover a baby’s face and create the potential for suffocation. The risk is compounded by the fact that swaddled babies tend to sleep extra soundly. So if their face does get covered by a swaddle blanket, they might be less likely to wake up and change positions.

Swaddle blankets that are too snug, especially around your baby’s hips, aren’t good either. Tight swaddles force her legs into an unnaturally straight position that can damage her hips, joints and cartilage. To encourage healthy hip development, the bottom of the swaddle should be loose enough for your baby’s legs to stay bent up and out, like they naturally would in a newborn lying on her back without a swaddle.

Like the idea of swaddling but don’t want to use a blanket? Swaddle sacks (also referred to as cocoon) with Velcro tabs or zippers deliver the same benefits without the need for any folding or tucking. The specific instructions vary depending on which wrap you buy. But they generally tend to be easier to master than blankets and are much less likely to come untucked.

At Zero To Three Club, we speak swaddling. Choose bamboo or cotton muslin swaddle blankets from our many designs and color scheme, which conveniently packed in packages of two, three, four or even five swaddles.

This article was written with reference to What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect the First Year.