Baby Swaddle 101: How to Get It Perfect Every Time

baby swaddle

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If you’ve never swaddled a baby before, it can be pretty intimidating. How do you know if you’ve done the baby swaddle correctly? Is your baby swaddled too tightly or too loosely? Is a baby swaddle even something that every parent needs to use? Swaddling is an ancient practice that will help both you and your baby be more comfortable. It is possible to do it wrong, but if you learn about how to do it and are careful, you won’t have any problems comforting your baby with a swaddle.

The History of the Baby Swaddle

New born baby is covered by a swaddled blanket

Image by Gerad Noble from Pixabay

Swaddling of babies has been practiced all over Asia, North and South America, and Europe for centuries. We have references to the practice that go back to the second century AD, and swaddling could be done either by wrapping cloth bands alone around an infant or by using the clothes to secure the child to a wooden board.

Some cultures swaddled primarily to keep the baby warm, especially in cold climates. Others did it to keep the child from moving, especially if its mother needed to carry the child around while she worked. Baby swaddling was recommended in most midwife references and medical textbooks up until the end of the nineteenth century. The only place in the world where the practice of swaddling babies has not been regularly practiced is in tropical climates, and this seems to be linked to the temperatures. Swaddling in these areas would simply be too hot for the infant.

Why We Ever Stopped

Why We’re Doing It Again

How Does Swaddling Help?

swaddled infant for a pictorial

Image by Bill Kasman from Pixabay

From the early 20th century, people mainly put children on their stomachs to sleep. In the early ’90s, research linked Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, to stomach sleeping and parents were told to put their children on their backs. The problem with back sleeping for babies is that they tend to have a more difficult time falling asleep, tend to wake up more, and also tend to be startled when they do awaken. As mothers watched their children, it became clear that the babies did not feel as safe and secure on their backs as on their stomachs.

Thus the baby swaddle came back ull circle, and we’ve again embraced the wisdom our ancestors knew for many centuries. In the last few years, the baby swaddle, sleep sacks, and all kinds of related products have become wildly popular as parents see the value of the swaddling for themselves.

As great as the baby swaddle is, it’s important that you swaddle your child correctly. If the baby swaddle is not done right, it can be dangerous. It’s possible to swaddle a child so tightly that you cut off the flow of blood to their feet and lower legs. Another possible danger is hip development dysplasia. This happens when the hips don’t grow properly into their socket, and this can happen if babies are swaddled too tightly while their hips are in a bad position.

It is important to swaddle carefully, but there’s no reason to fear using a baby swaddle. If you learn the different techniques, practice, and go easy until you have the hang of it, you can enjoy all the benefits of a baby swaddle without any danger.

Types of Swaddles

There are three major baby swaddle types – the diamond, the square, and the sleep sack methods. All of them will work just fine: it depends entirely on what you are comfortable with and what your baby prefers. Some babies will resist one method only to be completely won over by another.

Diamond Baby Swaddle

To use this method, it’s best to buy a specific diamond baby swaddle blanket. The dimensions of a diamond swaddle should be perfect for using this wrapping method.

Step One

Step Two

Step Three

Square Baby Swaddle

This swaddle is a bit faster and dirtier than the diamond swaddle, but sometimes that’s just what you need. An advantage of this method is that you can use any square blanket to do it as compared to the diamond swaddle which really requires a special diamond baby swaddle to do work correctly.

Step One

Step Two

Step Three

Sleep Sack Swaddle

This swaddle method requires you to buy a special sleep sack baby swaddle. However, once you have acquired this particular piece of equipment, you will likely find this method to be the easiest of all.

All the Steps at Once

Do All Babies Take to Swaddling?

Shocked face of a new born baby covered by a swaddle blanket

Image by wendymathews from Pixabay

Unfortunately, no. There are some babies who simply hate being constrained, but don’t worry. If your baby is one of these, he or she will let you know right away. It’s always a good idea to try a couple of different swaddle methods if you find that the first one doesn’t work, but don’t despair if your baby rejects them all. There are some babies who do.

When Should I Stop Swaddling?

Once your baby knows how to roll over, you should stop swaddling. This is because the baby may roll over in the swaddle and be suffocated by the blanket. Also, once your baby is about two months old, swaddling may actually begin to harm the development of their muscle movements. If your baby is starting to hold their head up a lot or if has become very active when on their stomach during play time, it’s probably time to think about stopping the swaddle. In many cases, this is also when the baby starts finding the swaddle less comforting and begins to resist it.

How to Make the Change

Naturally, if your baby has been swaddled for the first two months or so of life, they’re going to be a bit unhappy when you stop using the baby swaddle. This transition time will be tough, but you can do it! Knowledge is half the battle, so knowing that your baby may be more wakeful for a little while will help you manage psychologically.

Try Slowly Ramping Back

Try a Transition Swaddle

Try a Different Sleep Sack

Are There Any Babies Who Should Not Be Swaddled?

There are a few times and situations where swaddling is just not a good idea. Here’s what you need to know:

Hot Climates

Early Rollers

High SIDS Risk Babies


Active Resistors

The Verdict

A person put a swaddle to a new born baby

Photo by Isaac Taylor from Pexels

The baby swaddle is a great way to comfort your infant, keeping them warm, protecting them, and helping both of you get more sleep. Swaddling is an ancient technique that humans have been practicing for centuries, and when done right it is completely safe as well as helpful.

Unless you live in a hot environment or co-sleep with your infant, there’s no reason not to give swaddling a try. Watch the videos and wrap loosely until you get the hang of it, being especially careful about your baby’s knees. Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be an old pro at it, and you’ll be teaching new moms all about the baby swaddle in no time.

Featured Image: Image by Stephanie Pratt from Pixabay


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