How to Swaddle Your Newborn – Newborn Care Series

how to swaddle

It seems like every new parent I care for in the NICU is unsure how to swaddle. They always make the same remarks.

“I’m not really sure how to do a swaddle.”

“Maybe you should do the swaddle so he stays warm.”

“I haven’t really mastered how to swaddle.”

It is actually so much fun for me to teach parents how to swaddle their newborn. They seem so unsure of themselves in the beginning and then when they finally get it their eyes light up. 

“You’ll be a pro in no time,” I tell them. & so will you. In the first lesson of my newborn care series, I’m going to show you a few different ways to swaddle. There is no one way to swaddle – everyone does it differently!

For video demonstration scroll to the bottom!

Step one: Fold down top corner

How to swaddle
How to swaddle

Lay your swaddle blanket flat in a diamond shape. Take the top corner and fold down. For a small baby, do not make the fold as big.

**For swaddling I recommend these soft receiving-type blankets. The muslin kind seem to be too rectangular to get a good swaddle. 

Step 2: Align baby’s shoulders with top of blanket

How to swaddle

Pro tip: For a smaller baby, I like to place them just a little off center to make one side a little shorter. See photo above.

Step 3: Pull shorter side over the baby.

how to swaddle
How to swaddle

First bring your baby’s hands to midline. You don’t want them to be down.

Pull the shorter side over the baby.

Pro tip: If you have a problem with the hands getting loose, gently tuck the blanket under the hand and pull tight.

Roll your baby in the opposite direction that you’re pulling and tuck the side under the baby.

Step 4: Two different options

Option 1 – Fold bottom corner up and tuck under baby.

From here, take remaining side, fold over and tuck under baby. If there is extra fabric you may be able to tuck into top of swaddle.

Option 2 – Fold other side over baby and tuck.

From here, fold up the bottom and wrap around the back of the baby.

An alternative approach

In this approach, you’ll start with the bottom of the swaddle first. 

how to swaddle

If there’s too much fabric just fold it down. It is a good idea again to move the baby off center to create a short side.

Pull the short side over the baby and tuck. Then pull the last side snugly over baby and wrap around. 

how to swaddle

Check out the video demonstration if you need further practice!

Not sure what happened to my camera in the last two videos, but at least you can still see! Hope this was helpful!

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how to swaddle
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