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Step-by-step guide on how to swaddle a newborn baby


If you want to create conditions for your newborn that resemble those of the womb, then you should learn how to swaddle a newborn.

This tradition is as old as time and it helps recreate a comfortable and familiar environment for the baby, which positively impacts their mental and physical development.

How to swaddle a newborn in the hospital

In most modern hospitals, the baby stays in the same room as their mother.

You will spend all your time together with your precious little one: learning how to feed, bathe, change diapers, and clothes.

Many hospitals still recommend swaddling for new moms, primarily for psychological reasons.

This method helps the baby adapt more gently to the new and unfamiliar world, reminding them of the peaceful and safe time they spent inside their mother’s womb.

Don’t worry about how to swaddle a newborn in the hospital: the nurses and midwives will teach you all the nuances and show you several of the most relevant methods. And if you forget something, you can always refresh your memory by reading this article.

How to swaddle a newborn: step-by-step guide with pictures

We offer you 3 main ways to swaddle a newborn with a blanket:

  • tight
  • wide
  • loose

If you want to learn how to swaddle a newborn with their head covered, then read about the tight swaddle. This is often practiced and demonstrated by midwives in the hospital.

The steps to swaddle a newborn with their arms in (step-by-step photos) are as follows:

  • Spread the fabric diagonally so that the top corner of the sheet can cover the baby’s face. The lower corner of the blanket will cover the baby’s tummy and legs, while the fabric on the side is placed over the arms and body.
  • Place the baby’s right arm against their body, take the side edge of the fabric, and wrap it tightly around the baby’s body diagonally, tucking the end of the blanket under their back on the left side.
  • Repeat the same with the other side.
  • Straighten and join the baby’s legs, and then fold the bottom edge of the fabric up onto their body.
  • Wrap the lower ends of the blanket around the baby’s body and secure them.

Swaddling is great for a baby during their awake periods as it provides some room for movement, with their arms remaining partially free and their legs not being straightened or tightly fixed. This results in something like a cocoon in which the little one can move around.

Another type of swaddling is free (therapeutic) swaddling, which is practiced for hip dysplasia.

In cases of this condition, parents need to learn how to swaddle the newborn’s legs at home by fixing them in a spread position at a 60-degree angle. Several blankets, special pants for the baby, and a pillow are used for this.

In some cases, if the baby is sensitive to movement and wakes up from their own arm movements, they can be swaddled separately in a blanket.

How to swaddle a newborn in hot weather

With the arrival of hot weather, many parents wonder if they should swaddle their little one in a blanket.

The traditional tight swaddling can cause overheating, so it’s better to avoid it in hot weather.

Here’s how to swaddle a newborn in the summer. During this time of year, an open swaddling method is practiced, which is similar to wide swaddling. In this case, the baby’s arms remain outside (not in a free cocoon), and nothing restricts their movement.

Only the legs are fixed, so this method is often called “swaddling without arms.”

To swaddle your little one using this method:

  • Fold your blanket in half.
  • Place it so that the edge is near the baby’s chest.
  • Fold the left side of the fabric to the right, behind the back.
  • Repeat with the right side.
  • Lift the bottom edge of the fabric to the waist, spread it out, fold it behind the back, and secure it.

This method is considered one of the gentlest for a newborn. It is suitable for awake periods and provides comfort in hot summer weather.

To ensure that this procedure is beneficial for your baby, pay attention to the fabric from which the blankets are made. It should be natural, ensuring that your little one does not suffer from rashes or allergies.

It’s also important that the fabric allows air to circulate and absorbs moisture, allowing the skin to breathe.

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