This decision is up to you and your baby. Some babies love to be swaddled, while other will fuss more when they feel confined. As your baby gets older, they will outgrow the need or desire to be swaddled. As babies get older, they like to stretch out or move into different positions as they sleep.
The following is a step-by-step guide for swaddling a baby.
Take a thin, soft blanket and fold it in half, corner to corner, to form a triangle. Cotton receiving blankets are great for this.
Place your baby on the blanket with the long side at the top of their shoulders and the pointed end at their feet.
Fold the top right side of the blanket across your baby's body and tuck the corner point under them near their waist or bottom. Keep their left arm slightly bent and tucked in the blanket at their side.
Fold the bottom edge of the blanket up over your baby's feet and chest. Tuck the point into the top of the bundle that you made with the first fold.
The last step is to take the other top corner across your baby's chest. Place their arm slightly bent at their side and wrap the remaining blanket behind your baby's body to hold it in place.
When swaddling a baby, always use a lightweight blanket that can be secured snugly enough to give your baby a sense of security. A blanket that is too thick will not fold correctly. Don't swaddle your baby too tightly or cover their face.
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Many babies like to be swaddled, especially when they are newborns. Swaddling mimics the close and secure feeling of being in the womb. Babies in utero have their knees tucked in toward their chest and their arms in close.
Babies don't have a lot of room to move around in the womb, and they are used to this position when first born. When swaddled, babies are tucked into the same position that they grew accustomed to in the womb and are comforted by the snug, warm feeling of the blanket surrounding them.
Some new parents also find that swaddling their baby makes it easier for them to hold while they are breastfeeding. Others parents swaddle their baby after they are finished eating so that they can have more skin-to-skin contact. Studies have shown that there is no adverse effect associated with swaddling your baby while they nurse.
For many new parents, swaddling gives the baby and parents a well-deserved opportunity to sleep peacefully. When your baby is comforted and sleeping well, you'll have a chance to get some tasks done around the house. If your newborn is having difficulty falling or staying asleep, swaddling might be a good option to try.