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Kids

How To Swaddle A Baby

In this article

As wonderful and exciting as welcoming your new child into the world can be, even before your baby is born, one of the first choices you’ll have to make for them is how you intend to help them get to sleep – should you swaddle a baby? Or perhaps you should try co-sleeping, or resting your baby in one of our top cot mattresses?

A traditional method of helping your baby get to sleep, swaddling is certainly still popular around the world. But if you’ve never had to swaddle a baby before, you might not be sure of the best way to do it.

And that’s exactly why we created this in-depth guide on how to swaddle a baby, along with all you’ll need to consider, from safety and swaddling duration to the risks and benefits of the swaddle technique itself. So that by the end you’ll have what it takes to give your baby the best shot at giving you both a healthy night’s sleep.

Baby swaddled with parent's hand around it.

Is it safe to swaddle a baby?

Swaddling is considered an extremely low-risk practice for babies all around the world, provided you’re following safe sleeping and swaddling guidelines for your child.

Most advice states that you should always place your baby down to sleep on their back and that it’s unsafe to put your baby on their front or side to sleep, especially when they are swaddled.  However, it also says to stop swaddling when your baby shows the first sign of naturally rolling over.

Alongside this, swaddling is not a necessity and may not be suitable for every baby. Some infants resist swaddling, so you should check your baby’s response in order to decide if swaddling is right for them.

If your baby appears uncomfortable or agitated when swaddled, it may be best to forget about swaddling or try alternative soothing techniques such as gentle rocking.

How to swaddle a baby with a blanket

Now that we’ve touched on what swaddling is and whether or not it’s safe to do so, let’s look at the best way to swaddle your baby with a blanket. By practicing our steps below, you’ll be ready to swaddle your child to help them get a good night’s rest:

  1. Lay your chosen swaddling blanket down on a flat, safe surface 
  2. Fold the blanket into a flat square or diamond shape, tuck down the top point, and then smooth it out
  3. Put your baby on the light blanket with its back to the ground and start your baby blanket origami
  4. Tuck your baby’s right arm down beside their body and then tuck that side of the blanket up and over the right arm and across their front over to the left, tucking it snugly underneath their left side. You want to wrap your baby firmly enough to feel snug and secure but loosely enough for your little one’s legs to be able to fall into the natural frog-like position. And don’t forget to keep your baby’s neck and face clear at all times
  5. Next, bring the bottom corner of the blanket along underneath your baby so that it folds up vertically but never over your baby’s neck or face
  6. Then lay their left arm down at their side, and bring the blanket up over the left arm across the front and up and across to the opposite side of the baby. Pin it behind the right side. Congratulations, you now have yourself a baby burrito!

Things to be aware of when swaddling

When done right, swaddling enhances the sleep of infants by making them feel as if they were inside their mother’s womb.

But it should be noted that wrapping a baby in too much cloth, too tightly, or for long periods may cause hip dysplasia or even suffocation.

The swaddle should be secure without being tight, so your baby can move their legs freely. Also, make sure their face is exposed and always lay babies on their back while sleeping.

How long can you swaddle a baby?

Generally, you want to stop swaddling your baby as soon as they show rolling signs. On average, your children will demonstrate starting to roll between 2 to 6 months. Sometimes, it could happen as early as 8 weeks, for some babies it happens later.

Baby being layed in its cot after being swaddled.

Co-Sleeping vs. cot : Making the right choice for you and your family

Once your baby has started rolling and the swaddling stage is over, as new parents you will now have to decide whether you want to co-sleep with your baby or lay them down in a separate cot to sleep.

Co-sleeping with your child brings many positive aspects such as strengthening the bond between parent and child but does come with substantial risks including SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

A cot or moses basket on its part provides what some people call ‘separate together.’ This refers to when children have their own space within their parents’ bedroom. Modern cots and cot bed mattresses are considerably less dangerous than ones used years ago and perfectly safe for your child to use.

Cots are safer than co-sleeping and it is generally considered safe for a new mum to sleep in the same room as an infant who is sleeping in a cot. This allows you to enjoy some of the benefits of co-sleeping during room-sharing, such as better bonding for both mum and baby and shorter night feeding distance, without having to worry about the dangers of co-sleeping.

Choosing cot bed mattresses and kids’ beds

Your baby should sleep on a cot bed mattress that is firm enough, fits properly in the frame, and has no gap such as may be present with pillow top ones where the baby might get entangled. Your baby’s mattress should also maintain a comfortable temperature - babies can overheat as fast as they can freeze.

Kids beds should also offer comfort and safety, as such, they should be low to the ground so they don’t hurt themselves falling out (which will happen eventually), and guardrails should be fitted as an extra safety measure, but these are available for different kids' bed sizes.

Top of baby's head as it's being swaddled.

Buy your child’s first bed from our range

With all that information, you should now have a much better idea of how to swaddle your child and what to consider when looking for your child’s first cot and bed. And, naturally, we have fantastic selection of cots and mattresses for you to choose from in our range.

Just remember that what works for one child is not necessarily going to work for another. So make sure you do your homework and pick what feels right for you and your new arrival. Our complete guide to buying your child a kids' mattress will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.

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