Swaddling takes practice and does not come without making errors the first few times. We recommend you start practicing on a baby doll before you try to swaddle a baby. Here are a few of the most common mistakes, and tips to help you get started.  In part 3 of 4 in this series, you will how to swaddle with a variety or different blankets.

Mistake 1: Not Swaddling Baby’s Armsphoto 2

Common Reasons: Parents think baby will be uncomfortable or that baby won’t like it.

  • Swaddling arms in is beneficial to their quality of sleep.
  • Keeps baby from scratching and whacking his face all night. Newborns are still trying to figure out how their
  •  arms work and can really keep a baby up at night.
  • For an older infant, once they continually work their arms out of the swaddle, you can start leaving their arms out of the wrap.
  • Older infants will find their hands and fingers to suck on, offering them soothing that they can provide for themselves. You can start by leaving one arm out and see how baby does.

Mistake 2: Not Swaddling Tight Enough

Common Reasons: Parents think that if the swaddle is too tight, then baby will be uncomfortable

photo 1

  • Infants want to be close in a womb like atmosphere which a swaddle mimics.
  • Do not restrict jerky movements that can wake baby.
  • A swaddle that is too loose can also be a safety issue. If an infant has the ability to wiggle their way out of the wrap, they will leave behind loose blankets in the crib that can become bunched and end up near the baby’s face.

Mistake 3: Swaddling too High

Common Reasons: Not knowing how to properly swaddle.

  • Swaddling too high on an infant body can also create a safety issue. It is important to always swaddle below the shoulders to keep the swaddle from coming up near the face.
  • The shoulders create a barrier that keeps the swaddle down and in place as to not create any bunching issues near the airway.

Mistake 4: Swaddling for too Long

Common Reasons: Baby likes to sleep swaddled; parents don’t know when it’s time to stop swaddling.

  • When a baby can roll over it is time to say good bye to the swaddle. W
  • When a baby can break out of a swaddle it create a safety concern. Older babies are strong and there will be a time to say goodbye to the swaddle.

 Swaddling Tips

 Here are some tips to promote safe swaddling.

  • Always check the temperature- you always want to be aware of the temperature in the home. The swaddle will count as a layer of clothing so you never want a baby to overheat. If at any time they seem flush, red or hot to the touch, you will need to remove a layer of clothing. It is okay to swaddle a baby in just a diaper. The ideal temperature of a nursery is 68-72 degrees F.
  • Arms down not crossed- when swaddling a baby, you want their arms down by their side and not crossed in front of them. The only exception to this is for preemies. Preemies should be swaddled with their arms of their chest.
  • Keep the blanket below the shoulders- the blanket should not be close to the baby’s face. It can be a safety issue and it can also cause the rooting reflex to happen if a blanket rubs a baby’s cheek.
  • Loose around legs- you want to make sure that the wrapped part of the blanket is above the baby’s legs so that he is free to move them around for proper development.
  • Use a blanket big enough- if you swaddle with a blanket that is at least 40×40 you should be able to successfully swaddle a baby.