How To Swaddle A Baby | The Ultimate 5-step Guide

How To Swaddle A Baby The Ultimate 5-step Guide.jpgIf your baby is crying and having trouble sleeping, swaddling is the perfect solution for your sweet pea. This traditional technique has helped thousands of parents worldwide to put their babies to sleep and calm them. In fact, the method is so prevalent in the UK that 1 out of every 5 babies is swaddled in their first few weeks! 

However, if you don't know how to swaddle a baby in a perfect way, swaddling won’t help you much. There are multiple techniques to wrap up your baby, but we brought you a 5-step process, tested and approved by hundreds of parents. Before entering the step-wise guide, let's learn more about this technique.

What Is Swaddling?

Swaddling is a traditional technique that has been in use for centuries. In simple words, wrapping a baby in a thin, breathable cloth is swaddling. You may have seen babies in the hospital swaddled in a light cloth with only their heads protruding, the same as traditional swaddling. Since 4000 BC, parents have used this technique to calm their babies. 

The procedure may seem simple, but if you want to know how to swaddle a baby perfectly, it is best to judge several factors first. The type of material, natural positioning, and correct procedure are the ones that you must keep on the top of your priority list.

What Benefits Are Associated With Swaddling

Parents have testified that swaddling has helped their children sleep better, get calm, and settle quickly. While some parents consider swaddling ineffective, the prolonged usage of the technique from 4000 BC till now, proves that it served the purpose for most parents. Here are the significant benefits you'll get for your baby using swaddling. 

  • Swaddling helps babies adjust to the environment once they are out of the womb. Furthermore, it secures and helps them feel safe. 
  • Newborns keep flailing their arms, which may wake them up from sleep with a startle reflex. Being cooped up in a cloth would improve their sleep routine by preventing all that. 
  • Babies need to stay cozy and warm before their internal thermostat kicks in. Swaddling helps maintain their body temperature and prevent uncomfortable situations for your baby. 
  • Swaddling keeps the babies calm even when they have colic.

The 5-step Guide To Wrap Your Baby Like A Pro

Now that you know the benefits of wrapping a baby, it is time to answer the burning question of "How to swaddle a baby?" By following the 5-step plan, you can easily give your babies the calmness they never experienced before. 


The first and most crucial step to wrap your baby is the selection of the cloth. The type of material would influence several swaddling to a great extent. If you use a thick fabric, the baby's body temperature will increase and cause 

However, choosing a silk cloth would be difficult to manage, and the swaddle would keep getting loose. Therefore, it is suggested to choose linen or cotton cloth. Next, cut it into a square and tailor its sides. Now put the cloth in a diamond shape on a flat surface and fold its upper corner. 


If you want to know how to swaddle a baby in the best way, this step is extremely crucial. Once the cloth is at the optimum position, the upper folded portion will become more of a straight line. In this step, you need to hold the baby and place it face up so that its neck is alongside the folded line.  


Now that the baby is resting at the place, you need to work on its arm placement. Take the left arm and gently hold it straight down alongside the body. Take the left corner of the cloth, wrap it over the body, and tuck it beneath the baby on the other side. Remember, the folded fabric should not make the swaddle too tight.


It is time to move to the bottom corner of the swaddle. Take the bottom corner and wrap it over the legs and body. Now tuck the corner behind the right shoulder. Make sure you leave some space so the baby can move its legs freely. 


The final step is to wrap the remaining corner of the swaddle while straightening the right arm alongside the body. Tuck the corner snugly by pulling it across the whole body. The last tuck should be a little tight so that the swaddle never unravels when the baby moves. 

Is Swaddling Safe? 

No doubt, swaddling is an old technique. While there are numerous benefits if you swaddle your baby ideally, the mixed feedback from parents has definitely worried some individuals. People are asking whether swaddling causes SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The American Academy of Pediatrics stated that swaddling isn’t a direct cause of SIDS. According to them, swaddling helps babies sleep better, and decreased arousal can increase the risk of SIDS. 

Furthermore, if the baby sleeps on their side or stomach in a swaddle, it may cause complications. That means even with a whole load of benefits, there are suspicions about whether it is entirely safe or not. Fortunately, minimizing such risks becomes easy if you know how to swaddle a baby perfectly. 

Swaddling Safety Tips

When it comes to safety tips, an ideal approach to making a swaddle is the first thing to prioritize. Once you know the correct procedure, follow these tips to ensure nothing goes sideways!

  • Make sure you keep the swaddle neither too tight nor too loose. A tight swaddle is seen creating joint problems such as hip dysplasia. Whereas, a loose swaddle will always keep unraveling, which is frustrating.
  • If the baby sleeps on the side, it will cause digestive problems. So, always keep the baby on its back in a swaddle. 
  • Remove the swaddle and transition to a crib if the baby can roll independently. 
  • Always use a breathable, soft, and thin cloth to prevent overheating. 

Think Outside The Blanket With These Alternative Swaddling Techniques

Swaddling is a tried-and-true technique for comforting and soothing newborns, but it's not the only way to provide your little one with a sense of security and comfort. In fact, there are a variety of alternative swaddling techniques that can be just as effective as traditional swaddling and may even offer some unique benefits. Here are a few alternative swaddling techniques to try:

1. The Sleep Sack

If you are new to swaddling, the sleep sack will help you assess how to swaddle a baby without making a mess. A sleep sack is a wearable blanket and a great alternative to traditional swaddling. It's a zip-up bag for your babies that keeps them warm and snug while they sleep. These cozy sacks come in a variety of sizes and materials. Many sleep sacks are designed with unique features like swaddle wings or adjustable shoulder straps. Therefore, they can help mimic the feeling of being swaddled.

The best part is that it allows your baby to move their legs and hips freely. So, it minimizes the risks of hip dysplasia and improves healthy development. Sleep sacks can also be a good option for parents who worry about the safety of loose blankets in the crib.

2. The Swaddle Shirt

If you're looking for a more streamlined swaddling option, a swaddle shirt might be just what you need. A swaddle shirt is a garment with built-in flaps that can be wrapped around your baby's arms for a secure fit. Some of these also have an elastic bottom—keeping your baby's legs and feet covered and warm.

A swaddle shirt can be easier to use than traditional swaddling blankets—especially for parents who are new to swaddling. Additionally, swaddle shirts can be a good option for babies who throw a tantrum when wrapped up, as the flaps can be adjusted to allow for more movement.

3. The Double Swaddle

If the babies are particularly fussy or prone to startle reflexes, a double swaddle might be just what they need to feel calm and secure. If you know how to swaddle a baby using traditional techniques, the double swaddle would be an upgrade for you. Unlike traditional swaddles, this one involves two blankets. One is to wrap your baby's arms and chest, and another for their legs and feet.

Start by swaddling your baby's arms and chest with a traditional blanket. Ensure to leave enough room for their legs and feet to move freely. Now, use a second, larger blanket to wrap your baby's legs and feet while tucking the blanket under its bottom. The biggest pro of double swaddling is that it provides your baby with an extra layer of warmth and security, which can be especially helpful for babies with colic. 

Frequently Asked Questions Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Why Does My Baby Not Like to Be Swaddled?

When newborns make it out in the world, the environment isn't necessarily the same as the womb. In swaddling, they lay down with their arms straight. However, in the womb, their curled-up position made them comfortable. This sudden change in the environment and their previous position in the womb is the reason why they resist being swaddled. 

2. How Long Should I Swaddle My Baby?

Experts say the best duration to swaddle your baby is between 0 to 12 months. But, the ideal opinion is to swaddle your baby until it cannot roll on its own. After that, it is best not to wrap your baby as it can cause health problems. 

3. When to Stop Swaddling?

To stop swaddling, you first need to take one arm of the baby out and check for a day. In the case of resistance and discomfort, likely, your time of swaddling the baby isn't over yet. But if the baby doesn't change its behavior much, you can proceed with the second arm.

4. How to Tell If The Swaddle Is Too Tight For My Baby?

One way to tell if the swaddle is too tight is by checking if your baby can move their arms or legs. Additionally, the swaddle may be too tight if they seem uncomfortable or fussy. If it keeps disentangling, it might be too loose.

What Should I Use To Swaddle My Baby?

As for the cloth, cotton and linen would serve best for swaddling. It does not matter what type of cloth you choose; ensure it is thin and breathable. As for alternatives, there are a variety of options for swaddling your baby, such as:

  • Swaddle blankets
  • Swaddle sacks
  • Adjustable swaddle wraps


Swaddling improves your baby's health by keeping it calm and enhancing its sleep schedule. However, that is possible only if you know how to swaddle a baby correctly. The upper five steps are the best strategy to keep your baby snug while sleeping. Ensure you follow all of them to get the best results. Furthermore, the alternative ways above would help you choose a substitute if traditional swaddling isn't your cup of tea.

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