Everything You Need To Know About Swaddling Your Baby
4 min read | 02 September 2019
The first few months of a baby’s life, also known as the fourth trimester, can be a very challenging time for parents.
When your baby arrives, there is a whole range of emotions that you experience, from pure joy at the life you have created, to a feeling of frustration at not being able to work our your baby’s needs or settle them to sleep. This is completely normal and we all go through it.
At this early stage of life, it is comforting for your baby if you can recreate the womb, to make them feel snug and safe. The best way to do this is by swaddling them for all day-time naps and night-time sleeps. When you swaddle your little one, ensure that your baby’s arms are tucked firmly in to avoid their startle reflex from waking them up. Swaddling can also help settle your baby down when they are overstimulated.
It is important to swaddle your baby correctly, leaving some room at the bottom of the swaddle to allow your baby to bend their legs up and out.
There are many different ways to swaddle your baby, but this is how I do it:
Lay the blanket in a diamond on a flat surface and fold the top corner down about 15cm.
Place your baby on their back with their shoulders in line with the top of the fabric.
Bring your baby’s left arm down and pull the corner of the blanket closest to your baby’s left hand across their arm and chest and tuck it under their back on their right side.
Repeat with the other arm and tuck under your baby’s back on the left side.
Fold the bottom end of the blanket and tuck it loosely behind your baby making sure that both legs can bend and spread apart naturally and that their hips can move.
Swaddles made of 100% cotton are my favourite as they can breathe and are soft and comfy. In the warmer months, a muslin cloth works best as it is light and won’t overheat your baby. In the cooler months, the thicker cotton bunny rug is more suitable as they provide that extra warmth required.
You will find that swaddling your baby early on will help them feel secure and enable them to settle themselves more easily. Swaddling is recommended up till the time your baby starts rolling, which is usually between 4-6 months of age.
Once this milestone occurs, you may want to transition your baby to a sleeping bag. I always recommend starting by keeping them in their swaddle but have their arms out. You may wish to give them a comforter at this time. After 3-4 days, you can transfer them into a sleeping bag. You can even use a muslin wrap across their tummy and tuck the ends into the sides of the cot, that way it feels tight and snug to them. It can take 4-5 days for them to adjust but it can also happen very quickly.