Monday, September 19, 2011

Swaddling 101, by Brett

When the twins were born, one of the most useful things we learned from the nurses during our stay in the hospital was how to swaddle a baby. Babies like to be swaddled, especially when taking naps, which they do frequently. We don't know what we would do without the swaddle. Babies have a startle reflex that lasts for their first few months. The swaddle keeps them from waking themselves up by mistake when they startle. Very useful.

When you start out, it may be hard to make the swaddle tight enough, or you may feel like you are crushing the baby. I struggled at first, but I had the advantage of twins: twice as much practice. I realized pretty quickly that a loose swaddle is one you will have to do over again, so I got good at swaddling tightly.

You will find your own techniques as you practice, but here are the basics to get you started.

1 large receiving blanket
1 baby
1 pair of quick, determined hands (besides the baby's!)

Step 1: Place baby (in this case Maya, wearing a stylish diaper) in the middle of blanket, with neck and shoulders just off the folded edge.

Step 2: Gently pin arms to sides. This step is pretty important, because if the baby is swaddled with bent elbows, they will escape pretty easily.

Step 3: Fold one side of blanket over baby, keeping arms pinned at or behind hips.

Step 4: Tuck blanket under baby's back and bottom. This is accomplished more easily if you roll the baby on side while you tuck.

Step 5: Fold bottom of blanket up. This part can be done somewhat loosely so that the legs can extend more fully.

Step 6: Fold last corner of blanket over baby.

Step 7: Tuck the last side of the blanket behind baby's back. Again, this is done more easily by turning baby onto side.

All done! One cute little baby burrito!

At this point, I pick the baby up and hold her vertically on my chest, which is comforting for both of us.

There you have it, Swaddling 101. Let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions. Good luck, and may the folds be with you.


  1. lol. I never thought I'd laugh so much while reading a swaddling guide. Thanks for the great lesson and the laugh.

  2. Very funny :) Cheers to Maya for helping demonstrate so nicely ;)