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Information and inspiration for parents and caregivers of babies, toddlers and preschoolers

How to swaddle your baby

Most newborns love being swaddled. It makes them feel warm, snug and cozy, like they felt in the womb. Swaddling calms them down and can help them sleep better. (Calm and sleep are good for both baby and parent!)

For most babies – not all, but most – swaddling is a magical, soothing spell of comfort. (To make it official, the American Academy of Pediatrics  says that, “when done correctly, swaddling can be an effective technique to help calm infants and promote sleep.”) A nurse, midwife or doctor may have shown you how to swaddle your newborn, but watch our video above for a quick-and-simple refresher course on the art of the swaddle.

Beyond the how-to, here are a few swaddling things to keep in mind:

  • Back to sleep. Placing your baby to sleep on their back is the best advice for all sleep situations, and always when they’re swaddled.
  • Snug like a hug. Most babies do best with a snug swaddle, and a too-loose blanket can become a safety hazard. Keep your baby’s arms straight and securely wrapped so that they can’t wiggle them out. Their legs can have a bit more room to move .
  • When to say when. Even a newborn who really loves being swaddled needs time every day for skin-to-skin contact and to stretch and be free. As your baby gets older, you can reduce the amount of time they’re swaddled. And while there’s no standard age at which you should stop swaddling, a rule of thumb is to stop when your baby starts to be able to roll over, or when they can stay calm without swaddling, which usually happens between three and four months.
  • The AAP also says that wearable blankets, sometimes called “sleep sacks,” are a good, safe method to keep your baby warm and cozy at sleep time.

As with everything related to your child’s health and development, check with your health care professional if you have questions or concerns.

 

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