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How to Swaddle a Baby


Before I had kids, when I was pregnant with Miss Magoo, I babysat for my husband’s cousin. She had a toddler and a baby. The first day I babysat, the baby started fussing and needed his diaper changed. I got him unswaddled and changed, but for the life of me I had no idea how to swaddle him up again. And since he loved being swaddled, I needed to find out how to swaddle a baby. When Sarah came home, I asked her to show me how to swaddle him, and she did.

I’m so glad I learned, since it made all the difference in Miss Magoo’s sleeping when she was swaddled and couldn’t hit herself with her hands and wake herself up. Little Man hated being swaddled, but so far Baby Girl is loving it too.  So today I’m sharing with you how extremely easy it is to swaddle a baby!

swaddle1You’ll want to use a stretchy blanket. Some people love the waffle blankets, but I really adore my Aden and Anais Knock off Blanket.

Lay it down so that it’s in a diamond shape.

swaddle2Fold the top corner down towards the middle so that the point is right about at the middle. Some of this will depend on how big your blanket is and how big your baby is. What you’re wanting is to get a long span from side to side.

swaddle3Lay your baby in the middle.  Somehow, Baby Girl knows what’s coming, so she always puts her arms up and makes funny faces. This is not because she doesn’t like it- she loves being swaddled. She’s just a little stinker (but really, even her crazy faces are cute, right?)

swaddle4Gently lower your baby’s arm and then pull the blanket snugly across the baby. Tuck the blanket securely under your baby.  At this point, you can pull the bottom corner up so that baby’s legs are secure as well, but I’ve found that Baby Girl will kick until she either gets her legs free or pulls the entire swaddling down off her, so I don’t do that.

Important note: you don’t want to swaddle a baby’s legs tightly! In fact, there has been more and more research showing that baby’s who have their legs swaddled tightly have much higher rates of hip dysplasia.  So if you do swaddle baby’s legs, make sure that from the hips down baby is able to move easily.

swaddle5Repeat the process with the other corner of the blanket, pulling it snugly across your baby.

swaddle6That’s it! Sarah called this the burrito wrap, and after working at Fiesta Ole during high school, I can tell you that it’s a pretty apt name. The first couple of times you swaddle your baby (if you don’t start right out of the womb) she might fight it a little bit. Just lay your hand on her chest and calm her- she’ll soon realize that it means sleeping, and accept it readily. Baby Girl loves being swaddled. Just look at her grin in the first picture!

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