How to swaddle baby the right way
Is there anything sweeter than a tiny baby wrapped snug as a bug? A snuggly, swaddled babe sleeps better, but there is a right and wrong way to wrap your bub.
To help, we’ve put together all the information parents need to know on how to swaddle baby the correct way, to protect their growing bodies and keep them safe. You may have already been shown this during antenatal classes, from a family member or friend of during your stay in hospital.
Here’s a guide to safe swaddling.
Is it safe to swaddle?
The reason most maternity health professionals recommend swaddling is to help babies adjust to life outside the womb. Some also like to refer to the first three months of a baby’s life as the 4th trimester of pregnancy. Keeping their little arms from flailing, which is known as the ‘startle reflex’, can stop babies from waking themselves.
Red Nose (formerly SIDS and Kids) says wrapping can also help keep babies in the recommended back position during sleep. The organisation explains there are some clear guidelines to follow when swaddling your baby:
- Make sure your baby is on their back, with their feet at the bottom of the cot.
- Ensure your baby is wrapped from below the neck – their face should never be covered.
- Use lightweight wraps, like cotton or muslin – blankets can cause overheating.
- You should make sure the swaddle is wrapped firmly, but not tightly. Loose wrapping could lead to your baby’s face becoming covered.
- Don’t overdress your baby under the wrap – just a nappy and singlet in warm weather and a lightweight grow suit in cooler weather is enough.
- Once your baby outgrows the startle reflex, at about three months, leave their arms free.
- Stop wrapping once your baby begins showing signs they are ready to roll over.
- Don’t wrap a baby if they are sharing a sleep surface with another person.
- Do not wrap a baby and then put them in a sleeping bag.
What impact does swaddling have on hip development?
In a recent survey of Australians, more than half admitted to never having heard of hip dysplasia. Yet, one in 50 Aussie babies is being treated for the condition.
It can mean months or years of medical treatment for children because the ball and socket of their hips don’t fit together. Healthy Hips Australia recommends that every baby has their hips checked at birth, then at six weeks, six months and 12 months old.
How to safely swaddle
Healthy Hips Australia recommends the following safe swaddling methods:
Diamond: Secure the baby’s arms individually. Twist the bottom of the wrap loosely so the legs are free to move within a sack, and tuck under your baby.
Square: Secure the arms individually. Fold up the bottom of the wrap loosely over the chest, to create a pouch for free leg movement, then tuck under your baby.
Sleep sack or pouch: Select those designed for free leg movement.
Perfect Little Bundles stock a range of beautiful muslin and jersey wraps ideal for swaddling a newborn.
Our soft multi use Blushing Beauty Organic Muslin Wrap is made from the finest quality Organic Cotton Muslin ideal for a newborn baby girl. Light weight, breathable and easy to use. They are super soft and gentle on baby’s skin.
Our soft multi use Alpha baby wrap is made from the finest quality Organic Cotton Muslin. Light weight, breathable and easy to use. They are super soft and gentle on baby’s skin. A simple and beautiful way to swaddle your baby.
Our Eucalypt Baby Jersey Wrap and Beanie set is filled with gorgeous hand painted Australian flora & fauna. It measures approx 100cm x 100cm and comes with a matching beanie.
The Emotion and Kids Muslin Wrap is pretty in pink wrap is ideal for babies, whether its for swaddling, shading, or privacy when feeding. The unique fine weave super soft 100% cotton muslin wrap is comfortable and delicate, extra large size 140 x 120 cm is perfect for swaddling
The Emotion and Kids Muslin Wrap Twinkle, twinkle little star…this fun navy star wrap is ideal for babies, whether its for swaddling, shading, or privacy when feeding. The unique fine weave super soft 100% cotton muslin wrap is comfortable and delicate, extra large size 140 x 120 cm is perfect for swaddling.