How to Wrap a Baby
After months of growing in tight quarters, all that space in the outside world may feel unfamiliar to your newborn.
You can help her feel warm and cozy during the first few days or weeks after birth by swaddling her in a blanket, which is meant to simulate the compact environment of the uterus.
The art of swaddling might take a little practice to perfect, but it can help to soothe your baby and prevent her from upsetting herself with her own startle reflex.
Things You’ll Need
- Thin receiving blanket
How to Wrap a Baby
Lay the blanket down in a diamond shape in front of you. While it is simplest to swaddle a baby using a square blanket, you can swaddle your baby with a rectangular blanket, too.
Fold down the top of the diamond about 6 inches and lay your baby on top of the blanket so the top folded edge is about level with his shoulders.
Bring your baby’s arm down near his left side gently and then bring the left corner of the diamond across his left side to his right. Tuck the blanket underneath his right side. Gently bring his right arm down near his right side and then bring the right corner of the diamond across his right side to his left. Tuck the blanket underneath his left side. Slide one hand into the top of the blanket in between the blanket and your baby’s chest to ensure there is adequate space to avoid breathing difficulties, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Fold the bottom of the diamond upward loosely and drape it behind your baby. Do not wrap the bottom of the blanket around her hips or legs. This area of her body shouldn’t be restricted because it can cause developmental dysplasia of the hip, explains the AAP. Swaddling your baby with her legs straight down can damage the soft cartilage of her hip sockets and make the joints looser than they should be, which leads to hip dislocation and subluxation, or partial dislocation. Ensure your baby’s hips and legs can move freely. Her legs should be bent at the knee, rather than forced to straighten at the knee by tight swaddling.
Tips & Warnings
- Ensure the sides of the blanket are tucked in adequately behind your baby so that the blanket does not come loose, because a loose blanket can cover your baby’s face and increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
- Stop swaddling your baby by 2 months of age because the risk of SIDS increases with swaddling beyond this point, advises the AAP.
- Watch for signs of overheating when swaddling your baby, such as sweating, damp hair, increased breathing rate and a flushed face.