How to Swaddle a Baby

by Ivory Soap on 05/28/2011

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The key to a good swaddle is the blanket.  I prefer the flannel 3×3′s I was given at the hospital.   I don’t find that I can get stretchy materials tight enough.

1.  Lay blanket square turned so it looks like a diamond.  Fold down the top corner as shown below.

2.  Place baby a little right of center, with her head sticking up above the fold. (Please, forgive my camera cord in these shots, it’s hard to swaddle and photograph at the same time.)

3.  Roll baby to her right side, being sure to tuck her left arm straight down to her side and pin the right arm to her side with your left hand.

4.  Wrap the right side of the blanket across baby and behind her, tightly.

5.  Let baby roll onto her back, effectively holding the blanket tight for you.  (If you don’t get a tight wrap with her arms pinned to her sides, do it again.  This is the key step to the whole process.)

6.  Bring up the bottom corner.

7.  Bring the left side across baby.

8.  Roll baby to your left and bring blanket around back.   Tuck it around, or (if you’re silly like me) continue to roll baby across the surface until the blanket wraps around completely.

9.  Voila!  Baby burrito. *Zzzzz…*



{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica May 28, 2011 at 6:41 am

Your little one is beautiful!

Carol May 28, 2011 at 8:01 am

We love the swaddle at this house. Lovely, lovely, sleeping babies. My 20-year old niece finds it hilarious and calls it head-on-a-stick. :)

Meg @ Little Bit of Life May 28, 2011 at 8:37 am

I’ve been reading for awhile and love the site! This is the only thing that saved our sanity when our twins were born. They would be quiet for HOURS.

Kat May 28, 2011 at 10:55 am

I was adamantly against swaddling, until the night Mr. Boom told me to step aside and proceeded to swaddle Chirp Chirp in an attempt to thwart her crying and heartfelt distress.
Instant silence–which I took to mean he’d killed her.
Then gurgles, burbles, smiles–then sleep.
She was swaddled a lot after that, and we all loved it.
The end.

Jessie May 28, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Last summer when Max was born, it was HOT. High 80′s to low 90′s every day – and what did he want? To be swaddled constantly. I’d have to change that little blanket because he’d sweat through it, but he was happy!

Becca May 28, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Ya know, I’ve read over and over to swaddle with arms down at their sides like that, but my kids hated it. Both of them preferred the arms crossed method. It’s basically the same, except you tuck their little hands up into the folded corner, then wrap the blanket around.
Congrats on the baby!

Lindsay May 28, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Kat – we have the SAME story! 2 weeks of non-stop nighttime crying and hubby took out the “happiest baby on the block” at 2am, read the chapter titles and proceeded to follow all the steps, including swaddling. HAPPY baby. We swaddled her until she wouldn’t fit in the blanket anymore.
Another tip we found from our little Houdini’s – instead of wrapping the first side all the way around their body and behind, wrap just that arm in the blanket, making a sleeve-ish thing. Then swaddle as directed. But I agree about the trick – we had a 3×3 flannel for my fall baby, and my friend made us 2 3×3 muslin blankets for my spring baby. They work like a charm!

Portia McCracken May 28, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Great story, Kat!
And great how-to description, Ivory. Swaddling is still somewhat controversial (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swaddling). But if it works for your baby, great.

Robin May 29, 2011 at 6:13 am

This is how we do it in the hospital! My only two-cents worth is we usually don’t pin their arms to there side; most babies we let them have their hands near their face (told it’s more natural position for them/comforting). Only exception is scratchers-they get pinned just to keep them from tearing up their face until we can get the parents to trim their nails..

Lindsey M. May 29, 2011 at 1:01 pm

my kid LOVED to be swaddled, but only in one particular stretchy fleece blanket. i had no idea there was a controversy about it! we called him a baby burrito – and did it the same way as in your tutorial. congrats on your little darling! you sure make a beatiful baby!!!

Javalady May 30, 2011 at 8:32 am

I love this !! I remember swaddling mine. All three of mine loved being in a sling more than being swaddled, so just try a few ”things” until you find what soothes your child.

Foxmom May 31, 2011 at 6:48 am

I’m all about the Miracle Blanket. We got 2 to use with our twins and I just loved it. They could wiggle out of the standard hospital blankies too easily and bigger ones were just too big but the Miracle blankets were awesome. $30 a piece though so not cheap but they last really well. We still have the two we bought to use with future kiddos. :)

Rachel July 18, 2011 at 12:47 am

Cute baby! I’d never even heard of swaddling. Never did it with my first child. When my twins came along one of my boys would only sleep when he was swaddled, he LOVED it. Very happy baby, and happy mommy. We got one of the little swaddlers that you velcro together…very easy.

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