Swaddling Your Baby 101

Swaddling Your Baby 101

Let me set the scene for all you mamas: We're lying squirmy baby on the bed doing our best to wrap them into a tiny replica of a burrito. Arms are flailing, legs are kicking, and you're finding it impossible to swaddle the way you were taught in the hospital. You give it up and settle for lying baby down in the crib in just their jimmies, and are overjoyed (read devastated) when they wake up an hour later.

Take a breath and remember you are SO not alone! Swaddling can be frustrating if you don't have the right tricks, techniques or tools to get the job done right. Stay tuned if you're looking for a little insight into the how-to's of swaddling baby to make sure everyone is getting a restful sleep.

Why Should I Swaddle?

The ever important question: Why am I doing this anyway? First off, because baby's LOVE it. Baby's are used to tight spaces and being compact. When you swaddle baby, you are helping them to feel secure and warm, just like when they were in the womb. When babies are first born they are not able to regulate their own temperature, so swaddling ensures that they will stay at that perfect temperature for a happy little one. Babies are also born with something called a startle reflex, which put simply, means they startle themselves awake. You'll usually see this happen when a baby is unswaddled, because they'll make an exaggerated jump and probably throw their arms or legs out before waking up. Swaddling helps to keep everything in nice and tight so that they won't easily wake themselves up. When babies are swaddled it helps to keep them calm, and help them to feel safe.

How do I Swaddle?

There are a few different choices you have as far as swaddling baby. The truth is, you may have to try a few different ways before settling on what works for your baby. Each one of the following swaddles has the same basic rules with slight variations. Keep in mind that with all of these techniques wrapping around the hips and legs should NOT be too tight. Wrapping baby's legs too tight can lead to hip dysplasia by putting too much pressure on their joints. A lot of moms are also concerned about when they should stop swaddling baby. A good rule of thumb is once your baby learns to roll over on their own, you may want to stop swaddling to make it safer for baby while sleeping (usually around 2 months). At this time you can start using a sleep sack, like the Aden & Anais Muslin Sleeping Bag.

Here are a few simple techniques for making sure baby is wrapped up safe and sound!

Hands Up Swaddle 

This is for new babies who still love to have their hands up close by their face. This swaddle will keep baby from trying to wiggle out to their hands after they've been wrapped. Baby's arms should be wrapped tight enough to where they stay up by the face, and the legs should be lose enough to where they have some mobility.
  1. Start with your square blanket with the top corner up by baby's head, and fold over the top corner so it rests at the nape of the neck.
  2. Tuck one hand inside the top fold so it remains up by baby's face, and fold that corner behind baby's back.
  3. Bring up the bottom corner by baby's feet and tuck into the fold underneath baby's unwrapped arm.
  4. Tuck in the other arm into the top fold and pull tight at the elbow leaving the tail of the corner unwrapped
  5. Take the unwrapped corner and bring it all the way behind baby's back and tuck in the front.

Classic Swaddle 

is the standard for all babies who need to be wrapped in tight to calm the tears and help them sleep soundly. This is a great technique to use that keeps baby's arms tight by their sides to reduce waking up at night. Good tip for this swaddle is to keep the blanket away from baby's cheek to avoid triggering baby's rooting reflex, which may wake them up unnecessarily.
  1. Start with a square blanket with the top corner up by baby's head, and fold over the top corner so it rests at the nape of the neck.
  2. Take one side corner, keeping arm to their side, wrap the corner underneath baby's back and pull tight.
  3. Take bottom corner by baby's feet and pull across body, and tuck in unwrapped shoulder. Make sure that baby's legs are comfortable and not scrunched up too tight, they should still be able to move them within the swaddle.
  4. Take the last corner, keeping arm to their side, and wrap behind the back and tuck in the front.
Arms Out Swaddle is a great choice for a baby who insists on having their arms free. This way baby is still wrapped up warmly while having the freedom to move their arms throughout the night. This would be a great swaddle to use with swaddling clothes or a swaddling sack, because they have an easy fold over/velcro function that make this super quick!
  1. Start with a square blanket with the top corner up by baby's head, and fold over the top corner so it rests at the nape of the neck.
  2. Lift baby's arms up on either side of the head, and take one corner and tuck behind baby's back.
  3. Take bottom corner by baby's feet and pull across body, tucking behind the back on the unwrapped side. (If you wanted to wrap one arm, you could wrap up and behind the shoulder and tuck behind the back at this stage.)
  4. Take the last corner, and wrap behind the back and tuck in the front. (If you chose to wrap this arm, make sure it's kept by their side, and pull tight, but wrap the same way.)

What Should I be Using to Swaddle?

It's important to use lightweight, breathable fabrics for swaddling baby to make sure they don't get overheated while sleeping. Because their little bodies are still working on regulating their temperature, fabrics like muslin, cotton, or bamboo are perfect for swaddling. Make sure and choose a blanket with a little bit of stretch to it, so that you'll be able to have a tightly tucked baby. Here are some of our favorite swaddling blankets in some adorable prints to make sure your little one is as snugly and as sweet as can be! Aden & Anais Cotton Swaddles are the original, award-winning, 100% cotton swaddling perfection.

Aden and Anais Cotton Swaddle - For the Birds This adorable 4-pack of pastel pink perfection will make sure that your little angel is bundled up in adorable. With four distinct prints, you will never get over seeing your babe in these blankets!

Aden and Anais Classic Cotton Swaddle - Rock Star With light blues and grays this 4-pack of swaddling blankets will make sure that baby is wrapped up in style! Cute stripes and stars making swaddling baby feel like a dream come true.

Aden & Anais Bamboo Swaddles are silky smooth, and are sure to be soft and comfortable for baby.

Aden and Anais Bamboo Swaddles - Moonlight So in love with this color palette in this 3-pack of swaddles. The gray-blue is perfect for your baby boy or girl.

Aden and Anais Bamboo Swaddles - Mela These prints are absolutely to die for! In the bright orange and navy, we're obsessing over the mosaic pattern, the peacock feathers, and the graphic flowers! So perfect for Spring!

Little Unicorn Cotton Swaddles are made to impress with bold patterns and a soft, comfortable feel. Little Unicorn Single Cotton Swaddle - Cave Art A unique and fun print to use for swaddling baby! We love the wild, adventurous feel of this print in the gray color.

Little Unicorn Single Cotton Swaddle - Lava Lava Such a cute change up to your standard patterns for swaddle blankets. This volcano print in a fun color scheme will me perfect to help keep your little one feeling safe and secure.

Little Unicorn Deluxe Bamboo Swaddles are soft, lightweight, and durable enough for any baby. Little Unicorn Single Deluxe Bamboo Swaddle - Pink Lady I mean seriously? These cute flamingos are just too cute! This sweet swaddler is sure to brighten up any day.

Little Unicorn Single Deluxe Bamboo Swaddle - Pineapple Just in time for us to welcome warmer weather, you can welcome in this adorable fruity print to your swaddling. Such a cute, graphic design!

Kickee Pants Swaddles are a bit heavier, but just as soft and stretchy which is perfect for your baby.

Kickee Pants Swaddle Blanket - Jade Symphony A beautiful light teal color with the white trim, and a simple feminine pattern will be a great way to wrap up any little one.

Kickee Pants Swaddle Blanket - Peacock Multi Animal This swaddle blanket features a fun mix of baby's favorite animals all in a silky soft blanket they will fall asleep in night after night.

Kickee Pants Swaddle Blanket - Melody  Peacock The plum and pink peacocks are so sweet and sassy! We love these birdies to help you snuggle up with baby.

Kickee Pants Swaddle Blanket - Twilight We are over the moon for these rocket ships! The maroon and navy is the perfect color combo for this adorable print.

Swaddling doesn't have to be a struggle between you and your little one! Especially with some simple swaddling techniques and some adorable blankets, you can become a baby-burrito-making machine in no time at all!

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