Knowing how to swaddle your baby is an important (and potentially life-changing skill) to know, especially during the newborn phase! The great news is that if you’re curious about how to swaddle a newborn, all you truly need is a muslin swaddle blanket, a baby, and your two hands to get the job done. 


You don’t need to figure out the best way to swaddle on your own! We’ve provided step-by-step swaddling instructions for parents to help them make sure they do it right, as well as answering some of the most common questions parents have about swaddling a baby.

shop swaddles >

Knowing how to swaddle your baby is an important (and potentially life-changing skill) to know, especially during the newborn phase! The great news is that if you’re curious about how to swaddle a newborn, all you truly need is a muslin swaddle blanket, a baby, and your two hands to get the job done. 


You don’t need to figure out the best way to swaddle on your own! We’ve provided step-by-step swaddling instructions for parents to help them make sure they do it right, as well as answering some of the most common questions parents have about swaddling a baby.

shop swaddles >

 

what is “swaddling”?

If you’re a new or expecting parent, you may not know what exactly it means to swaddle a baby. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot with little explanation. We’ve got you covered.

Swaddling is an age-old practice of wrapping infants with a blanket snugly around their body. It is known for helping to soothe babies. Many believe that swaddling has such a calming effect on newborns because it mimics how they felt in their mother’s womb. Little ones often find this comforting, and swaddling quickly becomes a parent’s go-to to help their baby settle down, go to sleep, and stay asleep. 

Another benefit to swaddling is that it helps prevent infants waking themselves with their moro reflex. The moro reflex (also known as the startle reflex) occurs when there is a sudden disruption causing an infant to “startle.” They react by throwing back their head, extending out their arms and legs, crying, then pulling the arms and legs back in. 

is swaddling safe?

In fact, swaddling can be an effective technique to help calm infants and promote sleep when done correctly. It is also linked with helping to reduce the risk of SIDS in children that are not yet able to roll over on their own. 

When swaddling infants, you still need to make sure that you are following safe sleep guidelines such as: laying your infant to sleep on their back in their own space (like a crib or bassinet) and using a firm mattress with no loose sheets or blankets. 

The only catch is that at a certain point in a child's development swaddling is no longer safe. As soon as your little one starts rolling over or even attempting to roll over, it’s time to STOP swaddling right away and transition to something else, like a wearable blanket or footie pajamas.

what is the best type of blanket to use for swaddling a baby?

Choosing the right swaddling blanket is important. You want fabric that is soft, breathable, and not too firm. We recommend using a cotton muslin swaddle blanket. Swaddling with a muslin blanket is perfect because it is an extremely breathable fabric that helps to prevent overheating, as well as, providing more stretch so your baby will be less confined. 

how to swaddle with muslin blanket in four easy steps 

Now, it’s time to answer that burning question of, “how to wrap a baby?” Follow these swaddling instructions to make sure your little one is wrapped up safely:

Baby laying on a swaddle blanketBaby laying on a swaddle blanket

step 1

Remember, we recommend swaddling with a muslin blanket. Get it out and fold the swaddle into a triangle by folding back one corner. Place your baby in the centre with the shoulders just below the folded corner.

Swaddled baby with one arm outSwaddled baby with one arm out

step 2

Place your baby’s right arm alongside the body, slightly bent. Take the same side of the swaddle and pull it securely across your baby’s chest, keeping the right arm under the fabric. Tuck the edge of the swaddle under the body, leaving the left arm free.

Last step in how to swaddleLast step in how to swaddle

step 3

Fold the bottom corner of the swaddle up and over your baby’s feet, tucking the fabric into the top of the swaddle by their shoulder.

fully swaddled babyfully swaddled baby

step 4

Place your baby’s left arm alongside the body, slightly bent. Take the same side of the swaddle and pull it securely across your baby’s chest, keeping the left arm under the fabric. Tuck this side of the swaddle underneath your baby.

Now that you have the basic swaddle steps down, here are some more common questions parents have about swaddling:

what if I don’t have a muslin swaddle blanket?

While we recommend swaddling with a muslin blanket, it isn’t the only option available! In fact, it is even possible to swaddle your little one without a blanket! At hospitals and birth centres, you’ll find nurses that are swaddle pros, but it’s okay if swaddling with a muslin blanket (or any blanket) isn’t your strong suit. Thankfully, there are “pre-wrapped” swaddles out there just for you. These are often compared to swaddle sacks or pouches that come with fasteners such as velcro or zipper. For example, velcro swaddles work as perfect alternatives for parents who don’t want to mess with learning how to swaddle with a blanket.

how to swaddle with arms out?

The reality is that swaddling is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Thankfully, there are different swaddling techniques you can try. One of them is to swaddle with your baby’s arms out. This can be especially helpful with older babies who no longer suffer from the startle reflex, yet still crave the secureness that a swaddle provides to help them sleep.

Swaddling an infant with arms out is simple: prepare your swaddle as you normally would, but instead of aligning the swaddle fold at the shoulders, you need to move to below the armpits. From there, swaddle as you normally would.

how to swaddle with one arm out?

Sometimes swaddling is trial-and-error, and you might find that arms in doesn’t work but neither does arms out. Try doing one arm out instead! This might provide your baby the little bit of wiggle-room freedom they want while still securing them in the swaddle.

If you’re wondering how to swaddle an infant leaving an arm out, it’s simple! Just follow normal swaddling techniques but leave one arm untucked. It might work best to leave out your child’s dominant hand (if you know which one that is yet).

how long can you swaddle a baby at night?

Swaddling at night is completely safe until a child starts to show signs of being able to roll over. Rolling over is a major developmental milestone! It is also a sign that your swaddling baby days are almost over. For most children, they typically start rolling over around 4 months, but it is possible for children to start much sooner. If your little one rolls over while swaddled, not being able to use their arms to roll themselves back, increases their chances of suffocation. Read more about how to transition out of the swaddle when the time comes here.

can you swaddle a baby too tightly?

While swaddling your baby too tightly is unlikely, it is possible. If you’re concerned, we recommend the “two-finger test.” Simply place two fingers between the swaddle and your baby’s chest. If your fingers fit easily beneath the fabric, you’ve achieved the just-right swaddle fit.

You want the swaddle secure around your little one’s chest, but you want to keep the hip area looser. This encourages proper hip mobility and development while decreasing their risk of developing issues such as hip dysplasia.

can you breastfeed a swaddled baby?

It is not recommended that you breastfeed (or bottle feed) a swaddled baby. There are a few reasons for this. One, research shows that many babies actively use their hands to nurse to help them locate the nipple. This helps to promote a proper latch and encourage a milk letdown. Second, swaddling infants tend to make them snug and cozy to help them sleep! You don’t want your little one dozing off before they have gotten enough to eat. Finally, since many infants start to associate their swaddle with sleep, you don’t want to add feeding into that association as well! The best time to feed your little one (breast or bottle) is when they are awake, alert, and unswaddled!

Now that you have the swaddling steps down and your burning questions answered, you’re ready to start safely swaddling your little one!

 

what is “swaddling”?

If you’re a new or expecting parent, you may not know what exactly it means to swaddle a baby. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot with little explanation. We’ve got you covered.

Swaddling is an age-old practice of wrapping infants with a blanket snugly around their body. It is known for helping to soothe babies. Many believe that swaddling has such a calming effect on newborns because it mimics how they felt in their mother’s womb. Little ones often find this comforting, and swaddling quickly becomes a parent’s go-to to help their baby settle down, go to sleep, and stay asleep. 

Another benefit to swaddling is that it helps prevent infants waking themselves with their moro reflex. The moro reflex (also known as the startle reflex) occurs when there is a sudden disruption causing an infant to “startle.” They react by throwing back their head, extending out their arms and legs, crying, then pulling the arms and legs back in. 

is swaddling safe?

In fact, swaddling can be an effective technique to help calm infants and promote sleep when done correctly. It is also linked with helping to reduce the risk of SIDS in children that are not yet able to roll over on their own. 

When swaddling infants, you still need to make sure that you are following safe sleep guidelines such as: laying your infant to sleep on their back in their own space (like a crib or bassinet) and using a firm mattress with no loose sheets or blankets. 

The only catch is that at a certain point in a child's development swaddling is no longer safe. As soon as your little one starts rolling over or even attempting to roll over, it’s time to STOP swaddling right away and transition to something else, like a wearable blanket or footie pajamas.

what is the best type of blanket to use for swaddling a baby?

Choosing the right swaddling blanket is important. You want fabric that is soft, breathable, and not too firm. We recommend using a cotton muslin swaddle blanket. Swaddling with a muslin blanket is perfect because it is an extremely breathable fabric that helps to prevent overheating, as well as, providing more stretch so your baby will be less confined. 

how to swaddle with muslin blanket in four easy steps 

Now, it’s time to answer that burning question of, “how to wrap a baby?” Follow these swaddling instructions to make sure your little one is wrapped up safely:

Baby laying on a swaddle blanketBaby laying on a swaddle blanket

step 1

Remember, we recommend swaddling with a muslin blanket. Get it out and fold the swaddle into a triangle by folding back one corner. Place your baby in the centre with the shoulders just below the folded corner.

Swaddled baby with one arm outSwaddled baby with one arm out

step 2

Place your baby’s right arm alongside the body, slightly bent. Take the same side of the swaddle and pull it securely across your baby’s chest, keeping the right arm under the fabric. Tuck the edge of the swaddle under the body, leaving the left arm free.

Last step in how to swaddleLast step in how to swaddle

step 3

Fold the bottom corner of the swaddle up and over your baby’s feet, tucking the fabric into the top of the swaddle by their shoulder.

fully swaddled babyfully swaddled baby

step 4

Place your baby’s left arm alongside the body, slightly bent. Take the same side of the swaddle and pull it securely across your baby’s chest, keeping the left arm under the fabric. Tuck this side of the swaddle underneath your baby.

Now that you have the basic swaddle steps down, here are some more common questions parents have about swaddling:

what if I don’t have a muslin swaddle blanket?

While we recommend swaddling with a muslin blanket, it isn’t the only option available! In fact, it is even possible to swaddle your little one without a blanket! At hospitals and birth centres, you’ll find nurses that are swaddle pros, but it’s okay if swaddling with a muslin blanket (or any blanket) isn’t your strong suit. Thankfully, there are “pre-wrapped” swaddles out there just for you. These are often compared to swaddle sacks or pouches that come with fasteners such as velcro or zipper. For example, aden + anais' essential wrap velcro swaddle work as perfect alternatives for parents who don’t want to mess with learning how to swaddle with a blanket.

how to swaddle with arms out?

The reality is that swaddling is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Thankfully, there are different swaddling techniques you can try. One of them is to swaddle with your baby’s arms out. This can be especially helpful with older babies who no longer suffer from the startle reflex, yet still crave the secureness that a swaddle provides to help them sleep.

Swaddling an infant with arms out is simple: prepare your swaddle as you normally would, but instead of aligning the swaddle fold at the shoulders, you need to move to below the armpits. From there, swaddle as you normally would.

how to swaddle with one arm out?

Sometimes swaddling is trial-and-error, and you might find that arms in doesn’t work but neither does arms out. Try doing one arm out instead! This might provide your baby the little bit of wiggle-room freedom they want while still securing them in the swaddle.

If you’re wondering how to swaddle an infant leaving an arm out, it’s simple! Just follow normal swaddling techniques but leave one arm untucked. It might work best to leave out your child’s dominant hand (if you know which one that is yet).

how long can you swaddle a baby at night?

Swaddling at night is completely safe until a child starts to show signs of being able to roll over. Rolling over is a major developmental milestone! It is also a sign that your swaddling baby days are almost over. For most children, they typically start rolling over around 4 months, but it is possible for children to start much sooner. If your little one rolls over while swaddled, not being able to use their arms to roll themselves back, increases their chances of suffocation. Read more about how to transition out of the swaddle when the time comes here.

can you swaddle a baby too tightly?

While swaddling your baby too tightly is unlikely, it is possible. If you’re concerned, we recommend the “two-finger test.” Simply place two fingers between the swaddle and your baby’s chest. If your fingers fit easily beneath the fabric, you’ve achieved the just-right swaddle fit.

You want the swaddle secure around your little one’s chest, but you want to keep the hip area looser. This encourages proper hip mobility and development while decreasing their risk of developing issues such as hip dysplasia.

can you breastfeed a swaddled baby?

It is not recommended that you breastfeed (or bottle feed) a swaddled baby. There are a few reasons for this. One, research shows that many babies actively use their hands to nurse to help them locate the nipple. This helps to promote a proper latch and encourage a milk letdown. Second, swaddling infants tend to make them snug and cozy to help them sleep! You don’t want your little one dozing off before they have gotten enough to eat. Finally, since many infants start to associate their swaddle with sleep, you don’t want to add feeding into that association as well! The best time to feed your little one (breast or bottle) is when they are awake, alert, and unswaddled!

Now that you have the swaddling steps down and your burning questions answered, you’re ready to start safely swaddling your little one!

a step by step guide to swaddling a baby

The beauty of swaddling a baby is in its simplicity. If you have muslin and two loving hands, you can’t go wrong. Learning how to swaddle a baby step by step requires love and attention, but how to wrap a baby is probably easier than you may think. The key to swaddling a baby is really just about finding swaddle techniques and establishing swaddle steps routine that both you and your little one are most comfortable with.

If you’re wondering what is the best way to swaddle, look no further than the soft muslin blankets that makes swaddling infants not just easy--but adorable, too. The answer to how to wrap a baby in a blanket doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, discovering the ins and outs of swaddling with a muslin blanket is one of the safest and most effective ways of calming and soothing a baby.

Pediatricians suggest swaddle techniques and proper swaddle methods so that new parents can offer their newborns and infants safety while they sleep. The best part about learning how to swaddle with a muslin blanket is that muslin is soft-to-the-touch and incredibly breathable, meaning that baby won’t overheat. Muslin also provides a bit of stretch, making it a less confining material for common swaddling methods. Following the below swaddling instructions will ensure that both baby and parents find comfort at nap time and bedtime!

shop swaddles >

 

swaddling methods in just 4 simple steps

Baby laying on a swaddle blanketBaby laying on a swaddle blanket

step 1

Fold the swaddle into a triangle, and place your baby in the center with the shoulders just below the fold.

Swaddled baby with one arm outSwaddled baby with one arm out

step 2

Place your baby’s right arm alongside the body, slightly bent. Take the same side of the swaddle and pull it securely across your baby’s chest, keeping the right arm under the fabric. Tuck the edge of the swaddle under the body, leaving the left arm free.

Last step in how to swaddleLast step in how to swaddle

step 3

Fold the bottom of the swaddle up and over your baby’s feet, tucking the fabric into the top of the swaddle.

fully swaddled babyfully swaddled baby

step 4

Place your baby’s right arm alongside the body, slightly bent. Take the same side of the swaddle and pull it securely across your baby’s chest, keeping the right arm under the fabric. Tuck the edge of the swaddle under the body, leaving the left arm free.

The swaddling instructions you need to swaddle infants isn’t lengthy or complicated. In fact, knowing how to swaddle a newborn is one of the most time-honored traditions in all of parenting history. Learning how to swaddle with a blanket is an essential part to life with a newborn. And the benefits of knowing how to swaddle with a blanket allow your baby the same type of snuggly comfort they grew accustomed to in the womb. Swaddling techniques help you recreate a place of warmth and familiarity for newborns, all the while offering you, the parent, peace of mind--and hopefully some more lengthy bouts of shut-eye.


most commonly asked questions on how to swaddle a baby

How to swaddle a baby with arms out

Swaddling isn’t one-size-fits-all, and sometimes, you might find that swaddling infants isn’t the fit for you. But swaddling with a muslin blanket might be as simple as trying a swaddling style that’s right for your baby. Learning how to swaddle with arms out might be your baby’s favored mode of swaddling. To do so, simply prepare your swaddle as you normally would, but instead of aligning the swaddle fold at the shoulders, instead move to below the armpits. From there, swaddle as you normally would.

Is swaddling safe?

Swaddling is deemed safe because it is said to prevent the likelihood of SIDS. And because babies are prone to experiencing the startle reflex, putting safe swaddle techniques into place at bedtime and naptime can create a safe and comfortable environment for newborns and infants.

Can you swaddle a baby too tightly?

It’s unlikely that you might use a swaddle method that’s too tight, but to test your swaddle, a quick swaddle technique for testing is to use the two-finger test. Simply place two fingers between the swaddle and your baby’s chest. If your fingers fit easily beneath the fabric, you’ve achieved the just-right swaddle fit.

Can you breastfeed a swaddled baby?
It’s not recommended to swaddle your baby while breastfeeding, but the reason might not be what you think. It’s not suggested to swaddle your baby while breastfeeding for the simple fact that your infant might get too cozy and fall asleep. And though that’s not a bad thing, it can become an issue if it means your baby isn’t getting enough food. If your chosen feeding journey is breastfeeding, try to keep your baby awake and stimulated throughout the feeding process so that they can enjoy all the nutrients they need.
How long can you swaddle a baby at night?
You can go as long as 4 to 5 months swaddling infants at night.