Published August 17, 2010 by
As a new parent, you are going to have lots of questions. You’re going to wonder how other parents make everything look so easy. One of the areas you or your husband may find yourself clueless about is just how the nurses at the hospital have the little ones wrapped up so nicely in their baby blankets. It’s called swaddling. And rest assured, other parents had to learn how to do it too.
No one’s born knowing how to swaddle a baby. It’s actually a tradition that’s gotten passed down from ancient cultures. Grandmothers have been teaching new mothers how to wrap up their babies for security and warmth for ages. Picture a baby in a papoose on her mother’s back and you get the idea. Swaddling is simply wrapping your baby up in a blanket like a little burrito. It’s easy to do once you get the knack.
There are many reasons you might want to swaddle your baby (other than the fact that it makes them look so darn cute!). Babies up to a month old who are swaddled feel more secure and comforted. If you have a baby who wakes at every noise and doesn’t sleep well, the feeling of being swaddled may be enough to comfort her. Swaddling will also keep his little hands from scratching him as he flails around, but keep in mind that after one month of age, the swaddle is not recommended. Babies one month old and up need free range of motion in order to grow properly.
Swaddling a baby makes them feel secure and comforted
1. Start your swaddle with a soft baby blanket. Lay it down on a sturdy surface like a bed or his changing table. The floor works well too. Fold over the top corner of the blanket.
2. Now, place baby on his back in the center of the blanket with the fold at his shoulder line. You are now going to begin the burrito fold.
3. Place baby’s arms by his side and fold the left side of the blanket over towards the right.
4. Tuck it securely under baby’s right side.
5. Then take the bottom portion of the blanket and tuck it up under baby’s right shoulder. Baby’s left arm should be left out of the wrap at this point.
Up until this point, most people are fine. Here’s the tricky part.
6. Instead of just folding the entire remaining right side of the blanket over baby and tucking it in, you first have to take the top portion of the unwrapped blanket and bring it over baby’s heart. Then you can take the remaining portion of untucked blanket and drape it across baby.
7. Tuck it into the back of the left side by baby’s shoulders.
Practice a few times before baby’s born (use a doll or your dog) and you’ll get it down. The nurses in the hospital will show you how to do it, but at that point you’ll be so tired and overwhelmed with the newness of everything you won’t be paying attention.
Swaddling a tiny newborn is a warm and cozy way to help them stop crying and rest easier. It’s worked for centuries, so it will probably work for you too. Get comfortable with the technique and soon you’ll be the seasoned parent who’s asked to demonstrate for the newest of new parents!