Swaddling: It’s one of those life skills that looks easy enough…that is, until you try it. The good news? Like so many things in life (and, let’s be honest, parenthood), swaddling a newborn is all about practice— so don’t think your baby can’t nestle into a good swaddle just because your first few attempts don’t go according to plan.
The trick to mastering the swaddle is simple: It’s all about taking it step-by-step. Because many of us simply see the finished product, it can be tough to grasp the actual process behind it. That’s why we’ve enlisted a swaddling expert to break it down into simple steps.
Kate Arquilla, a NICU nurse, mom, and the founder of Bumble Baby, provided her top tips to achieving the perfect swaddle — they take so much guesswork out of the equation (since new parents have neither the time nor the mental energy to mess with guesswork). Her steps are so easy to follow — and the best part is, she was kind enough to help us put together a handy little video so you can see her tips in action.
Here’s a play-by-play of how Kate swaddles:
- First up, you want to put your swaddling blanket down on a flat surface and fold down the top corner.
- Place your baby down on the blanket with his neck on the fold line.
- Gently bend your little one’s arms till they meet his face.
- Fold over the first side of your swaddle, then fold the bottom of the blanket under.
- Take your time to adjust the unfolded side of the blanket before the final fold.
- Finally, fold over the remaining side, and tuck that last fold underneath your baby.
…And that’s all there is to it! Totally do-able, right?
We enlisted the help of you(!)— our customers and community of moms — to fill us in on your other top swaddling tips and tricks. Of course, these are personal opinions and not medical advice, so if you have any questions, be sure to run them by your doctor!
“Nothing better than a baby burrito! To me, perfect swaddle means it’s tight, cozy and Houdini-proof to soothe/calm a new baby. My fav blankets for getting it right are stretchy, breathable and of course, super soft.” – @sammyganz
“My tip is to ask your postpartum nurse to teach you before you leave 🙂 I’m a pro at it and love teaching families before they’re discharged” – @hannaheve3
“One important tip is to make sure it’s not swaddled too tight around his/her legs. After you do the final wrap and tuck, make sure baby can still move both legs into the ‘frog’ position!” – @_paigehilton
“Swaddle tighter at the shoulder and loser at the legs and do it fast! Or else they will wiggle out” – @lyubovkrupko
“For the perfect swaddle, ask your mom to do it.” – @kirsaldana
“For best results, practice at that time in your pregnancy when you put the “waddle” in swaddle (that’s me right now).” – @elle8ch
“The best swaddle for a brand new baby is one that allows for feeding cues. You can tuck a newborn’s elbow into a tight swaddle (not tight below the hips though, they need to be able to move for digestion/joint health) and keep their fist near their mouth so it’s easy to see when they’re hungry. That way they won’t get TOO hungry! It’s an awesome way to establish a good feeding relationship with your lil’ bb. Mine was born yesterday and cluster fed most of the night until he got a nice tight swaddle with one hand up and his legs free. Then he slept from 3-7!” – @heyheylbj