How to Swaddle your Baby

Date Posted:19 December 2017 

Must learn "How to swaddle and wrap your baby"

Swaddling your baby

Swaddling or wrapping your newborn baby can help settle them to sleep and reduce awakenings. While swaddling is pretty easy to do, there are a few rules to follow for your baby’s safety.

Swaddle your baby in a lightweight cotton or muslin wrap to avoid overheating.

Why swaddle?

Swaddling can help calm a baby – it is thought that swaddling helps recreate the restricted space in the womb.

Some studies have shown that swaddled babies wake less frequently and sleep longer than non-swaddled babies.

Swaddling may also help reduce the risk of sudden infant death by keeping babies on their back during sleep.

When to swaddle?

Swaddling is for very young babies - from birth to when they begin to show signs they can roll over (usually 4 to 6 months old but sometimes younger).

When not to swaddle?

Stop swaddling once your baby can roll onto their tummy or if your baby does not seem to like it. An alternative to swaddling is to use a safe infant sleeping bag.

Don’t swaddle your baby if they share a sleep surface with another person. Babies should not be wrapped while sleeping in a baby sleeping bag.

How to swaddle?

  • Use a lightweight cotton or muslin wrap to swaddle your baby. Rugs and blankets are not safe for swaddling as they may cause overheating.
  • Prevent overheating by making sure your baby is not over-dressed under the wrap. If the weather is warm, your baby may only need a singlet and nappy. In cooler weather, your baby may need a lightweight jumpsuit.
  • Newborn babies are usually swaddled with their arms folded across their chest. Once their startle reflex is gone (usually around three months), leave your baby’s arms free so they can self soothe.
  • Do not cover your baby’s head and face. This is to prevent your baby from overheating and from the wrap blocking their breathing.
  • For effective swaddling, the wrap must be firm but not too tight. It should allow your baby’s chest to rise normally during breathing.
  • The wrap should not be too tight around your baby’s hips and legs. Studies have shown that tight wrapping with the legs held straight can lead to hip problems such as hip dysplasia or dislocation. If swaddled correctly, your baby’s legs should be able to bend at the hips with the knees apart.

Step-by-step swaddling your baby

Step 1: Fold the swaddle into a triangle, and place baby in the center with shoulders just be-low the fold.Image title

Step 2: Place baby’s right arm alongside the body, slightly bent. Take the same side of the swaddle and pull it securely across baby’s arm and chest, tucking the fabric under the baby. Leave the left arm free.

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Step 3: Fold the bottom of the swaddle up and over baby’s feet. Tuck the point of the fabric into the top of the swaddle.

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Step 4: Place baby’s left arm alongside the body, slightly bent. Take the remaining swaddle, and wrap it over baby’s arm and chest, tucking the fabric under baby to secure the swaddle.

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Always put your baby to sleep on their back to reduce the risk of sudden infant death.


Pregnancybabybirth (2017, March), “Swaddling your baby”. Retrieved from

Adenandanais (n.d.), “How to swaddle”. Retrieved from


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