How to swaddle a baby

with this step-by-step guide and a little practice, you’ll be a master swaddler in no time.

The reflexes of newborn babies often startle them easily and tend to wake them during sleep. Many parents have found that wrapping babies until they’re three to four months old (the time when these reflexes begin to disappear) helps reduce strong startle reactions and improves sleep.

 

When choosing a wrap, pick a light, breathable cotton or muslin material, measuring about 1.5 x 1 metre wide. Your baby will want room to move their arms, so stretchy material allows freedom of movement while providing security. Just check the wrap isn’t too loose, as this runs the risk of covering your baby’s head and face.

Follow these simple tips:

  • Position your baby on the wrap with their hips and knees relaxed

           -   They should look a bit like a frog

  • The wrap should be a light material with the top of the wrap at your baby’s shoulder height
  • Wrap your baby’s upper body as shown in the video
  • Allow room around the hips for movement
  • Don’t wrap your baby’s legs tightly and straight down, or pressed together

           -   At this early stage, the hip joint can be loosened too much, potentially causing DDH

  • Do not use sleep sacks or pouches that tighten around your baby’s thighs
  • Ensure your baby’s feet are at the end of the mattress, and that the blanket is tucked firmly into the end so it cannot come loose and mask your baby’s head during sleep.
The safest place for your baby to sleep is on their back, in their own sleep environment. For more information on safe sleeping, refer to Safe Sleeping Environments. If you feel uncomfortable wrapping your baby, that’s OK. It can just be a technique to assist in calming your baby for sleep and will often keep your baby sleeping longer. Every parent is different.

 

Safety Alert: Wrapping your baby’s lower body too firmly can interfere with normal growth and hip development. Research indicates wrapping increases the risk for developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH). For information on how to wrap, follow the directions below, watch the video, or read our Wrapping Your Baby brochure.