Snuggled up Tight - Swaddling Methods to Settle Crying Babies

Why Swaddle?

Wrapping a baby up snugly simulates the pressure and environment that babies were familiar with in the womb.  A comprehensive review of all the scientific studies on swaddling published in 2007 concluded that in general swaddled babies arouse less and sleep longer.  One study that compared swaddling with massage found that excessively crying infants cried less when swaddled.  Another study found that swaddling can soothe pain in infants.

Swaddling Techniques Standard Method 4.jpg

Any Risks?

  • Care must be taken to avoid your baby overheating when swaddled. 
  • There can be risks of hip dysplasia, so it is important to take care with swaddling technique.  Make sure that your baby’s legs are not bound straight, that there is enough room for the legs to bend up and out at the hips.  If your baby has hip dysplasia or is at increased risk of hip dysplasia, please consult your doctor about swaddling before doing it.
  • To avoid the risk of sudden infant death it is important to ensure that swaddled babies are placed to sleep on their backs and swaddling should be stopped when the baby has started to roll (as it is much harder for them to get back off their tummy when they are swaddled). 

 

Swaddling Techniques

Standard method

  1. Place your muslin on a flat surface in a diamond shape (one corner pointing upwards. Fold the top corner down and place the baby on the muslin with the flat edge at the top in line with the base of the baby’s head. 
  2. Wrap one side of the muslin over the baby’s shoulder, across the baby’s chest and tuck it under the baby’s opposite arm and around under the baby’s body.  The wrap should be reasonably firm and the excess fabric should be tucked right in under the baby’s body.
  3. Wrap the other side across the baby’s shoulder and around under the baby’s body. 
  4. There will be excess fabric at the baby’s feet.  Fold this up and under your baby.

Hands up method

Hands up method_poster.jpg
  1. Alternatively you can swaddle your baby with her hands up, so that she still has some hand movement and can self settle with her hands.
  2. Place your muslin on a flat surface in a diamond shape (one corner pointing upwards. Fold the top corner down and place the baby on the muslin with the flat edge at the top in line with the base of the baby’s head.
  3. Tuck one of your baby’s hands underneath the folded down corner, so that it is resting at around chin-height but under the fabric. 
  4. Starting on the same side as the tucked in hand, wrap the muslin across the baby’s chest and tuck it under the baby’s opposite arm.  The wrap should be reasonably firm and the excess fabric should be tucked in under the baby’s body.
  5. Tuck the baby’s other hand underneath the folded down corner (on the other side), so that it is resting at around chin-height but under the fabric.
  6. Wrap the other side around your baby and tuck it under your baby’s body.
  7. There will be excess fabric at the baby’s feet.  Fold this up and under your baby.

Swaddle Suits

For any of you that have bred a budding escape artist (particularly as your little one gets older and stronger), there are some fantastic zip-up swaddle suits on the market that make swaddling a breeze. Some of the swaddle suits on the market allow a baby to have their hands up, which can assist them in self-soothing.

The International Hip Dysplasia Institute recommends that when choosing a swaddle suit you make sure that your baby’s legs can bend up and out at the hips as this position allows for natural development of the hip joints.

Here’s a link to one of my favourite awesome Aussie products: Swaddle Up from Love To Dream.  Nope, this isn’t a sponsored link, my hubby and I just loved these so much that I wanted to share them with you. www.lovetodream.com.au