How to Swaddle a Baby With a Blanket: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Swaddle a Baby With a Blanket: Step-by-Step Guide

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to put your baby down knowing they’re going to sleep longer and cry less? After reading our guide on how to swaddle a baby with a blanket step by step, you’ll feel confident and capable of swaddling a newborn for naptime or bedtime!

Swaddling a baby helps them calm down by keeping them warm and secure. They’re unable to startle themselves awake, and as a result, they drift away into a calm, sleepy state - so you can get some much-needed rest yourself. Or, maybe you use naptime to catch up on some chores around the house. 

Either way, once you know how to swaddle a baby properly, you’ll feel as if it's your superpower in getting your little one to relax for naptime. We’re going to cover everything you need to know about newborn swaddling below. But before we teach you how to swaddle a newborn, let’s talk about why you should do this in the first place. 

Why Learn How to Swaddle a Baby With a Blanket?

Why is it that some newborns go down without a fuss, while others scream, wail, and fuss to no end? Maybe it’s their temperament. Or, it could be that they just need to be swaddled!

This little tactic has been used by caregivers for as long as mothers have been giving birth - since as early as 4000 BC! And it’s clear to see why this technique has stood the test of time. The benefits of swaddling newborns are profound. 

When a baby is swaddled, it recreates the primal feeling of being warm, snug, and safe inside its mother’s womb. As a result, fussy newborns instantly calm down and coo with joy before sinking into a deep state of bliss and relaxation. 

It also provides gentle compression around the torso, which helps settle their startle reflex! If a newborn’s head moves too quickly or suddenly it can trigger their moro reflex, where they wake up and throw their arms out as if they're falling. As you can imagine, it’s not a very pleasant feeling!

The beauty is in how easily babies fall asleep - and how long they stay asleep. But while swaddling a baby is commonplace before naptime or bedtime, you can rely on this technique anytime your little one is fussing or crying for seemingly no reason. 

How to Swaddle a Baby Step-by-Step: Proper Technique for Swaddling a Newborn

After reading about the benefits of swaddling a newborn above, we can sense how eager you are to learn how to swaddle a baby properly. So let’s not waste any more time! Below, we’ll guide you through how to swaddle a baby step by step. First - let’s talk about what you should be swaddling your baby in.

First, Get the Right Swaddle

Your baby deserves the best - and from the moment you realize you’re pregnant, you do everything in your power to give it to them. Their swaddle is no exception. And that’s why you can start by heading over to Caden Lane for the best selection of baby swaddle wraps online.

We use an oversized, buttery soft, stretchy fabric that your little one will absolutely love. It’s gentle and skin-safe so you can rest assured you’re putting their health and happiness first. 

And with so many different styles to choose from, the perfect bamboo swaddle blanket is here in our catalog just waiting to be discovered. You can even create something as unique as they are by getting a swaddle blanket with their name! We make personalization as simple and straightforward as possible. And speaking of simple and straightforward, that’s what you’ll enjoy when swaddling a baby with Caden Lane blankets. Here’s the first step in our guide on how to swaddle a newborn…

Step 1) Lay the Blanket Flat in a Diamond Shape

If you don’t have a swaddle on hand and need to swaddle your baby now, don’t sweat it - just get any large, thin, square blanket you can find. Ideally, it would at least be a baby blanket to ensure your little one is comfortable and cozy. Lay the blanket down flat in a diamond shape - with corners of the blanket pointing to 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock.

Step 2) Fold the Top Corner Down 6” or So to Create a Straight Edge

Now, we’re going to remove the top point of the diamond we’ve just created. Fold that corner down about 6” to create a flat, straight edge up top. Depending on the size of your blanket, you may need to fold it down less or more - all that matters is you create a straight edge up top.

Step 3) Place Your Baby Down on the Blanket With the Nape of Their Neck on the Folded Edge

Now comes the fun part - putting your little one in the swaddle you’re creating! Place them on the blanket on their back, with the nape of their neck on the folded edge you’ve just created. The sweet spot is for their neck to be on the blanket, but their head to be off the blanket.

Step 4) Pull the Right Corner Over Your Baby’s Chest & Wrap it Under Their Left Arm

Next, take the right corner of the blanket and pull it across the baby’s body, covering their chest. Tuck it under their left arm nice and snug. You will likely have a lot of extra blanket, so you’ll want to roll your baby over to get as much of the excess blanket wrapped underneath them as possible. 

Step 5) Pull the Left Corner Over the Baby’s Chest & Wrap it Under Their Right Arm

You’re going to do the exact same thing on the other side of the blanket. Pull it across their chest and tuck it under their right arm. The goal is to get a snug wrap job so your baby can’t move around too much.

Step 6) Fold the Bottom Corner Up and Tuck it into the Top of the Blanket

The final folding step is to now take the final corner - the bottom - and bring it up your baby’s body, tucking it into the wrap you’ve created across their chest up top. That’s it - just three simple folds are all it takes to swaddle a baby!

Step 7) Assess the Swaddle and Adjust as Needed

By now, you’re just about done swaddling a newborn. It’s time to take note of the job you’ve done and assess whether it needs to be redone. It’s also important that you give your baby enough leg room to move a bit - but not so much that they can undo the swaddle on their own. You’ll get better and better with each attempt, so don’t get discouraged if you struggle at first - they’re not judging you!

Additional Advice for Swaddling a Baby: FAQS on Newborn Swaddling

There you have it - how to swaddle a baby step by step. Pretty simple, right? Before we bring our conversation to a close today, we want to give you some additional advice for swaddling a baby. We’ve got some of these questions about newborn swaddling so frequently that we’re answering them below once and for all:

How Long Should Newborns Be Swaddled?

Swaddling is going to be your secret weapon in keeping your newborn calm. But once your baby is able to roll over on their own, you’ll no longer be able to swaddle them. 

Doing so would increase the risk of suffocation or SIDS, as they won’t be able to move their head if they roll on their stomach face down. At that point, you’ll have to resort to other techniques to get your baby ready for naptime or bedtime. 

Do You Put Arms Up or Down When Swaddling a Baby?

This is an interesting question because you’ll find proponents who fall on both sides of the fence. The fact of the matter is your baby will have their own unique preference as to whether you should swaddle them with arms up or down. Experts suggest that most babies prefer arms up because that more closely resembles their experience in the womb, so start there.

Is it OK to Swaddle a Newborn at Night?

Yes! As a matter of fact, this is the best way to put your baby down for bedtime. As you now know, swaddling a baby helps them feel safe and secure. It can get them to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer - so you can enjoy a good night’s rest yourself.

However, it’s just important to swaddle your baby safely - using the advice we provided above. Always remember to put your baby down on their back when swaddling. Your baby’s hips should be able to move freely. And, make sure your baby isn’t overheating in their swaddle. This leads us to the next question we want to address…

Do You Swaddle a Baby With Clothes On?

Yes, you do swaddle a baby with clothes on. But what clothes should they wear for swaddling? It depends on the temperature. If you’re going out for a chilly morning walk, you’ll want to make sure they’re bundled up nice and warm. Maybe you’ll dress them in some zippered footie pajamas, a newborn knot hat

On the other hand, if it’s a hot summer night and you want to keep them safe and comfortable, they’ll need to be dressed in breathable, lightweight fabrics. You may dress them in a newborn body suit. Whatever you need, you can find it in our newborn neutral clothes collection at Caden Lane.

This same advice goes for the blanket itself that you’re swaddling newborns in, which we’ll discuss next.

What Sort of Blanket Should be Used When Swaddling a Baby?

Again - this depends on the setting. However, all the toddler blankets at Caden Lane are great for swaddling babies. After their swaddling phase is over, you can use the blanket for tummy time, naptime, bedtime, car rides, walks, you name it!

Generally speaking, though, you want the blanket you’re swaddling newborns in to be thin and lightweight. It should be stretchy enough to accommodate different size babies, too. You may be able to find swaddle-specific blankets that are pre-folded with hook-and-loop closures. But with our detailed guide on how to swaddle a baby step by step, you don’t really need those!

Wrapping Up Our Guide on How to Swaddle a Baby With a Blanket Step by Step

Now that you know how to swaddle a baby with a blanket, you should feel more confident in swaddling a newborn for the first time. It’s pretty simple with just a few easy steps standing between you and your first successful swaddle. And while those first few attempts may be a bit loose or unkempt, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. At a certain point, swaddling a baby will become second nature - you won’t even think about it while doing it!

So, what are you waiting for? The only thing left to do now is grab the perfect newborn accessories for swaddling at Caden Lane. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to swaddle a baby properly and make fussy, sleepless nights or afternoons a thing of the past!

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