How To Swaddle Your Baby

This post was written by Libby Cain | Nurse, midwife, lactation consultant, and childbirth educator.

Generations of parents have wrapped their babies to comfort and settle them. Today, there are concerns about the tight cocooning of newborns. It is thought to cause overheating as well as parents being unable to see a baby’s hands in their mouths, showing early hunger cues.

I believe there are plenty of benefits to swaddling new babies, but it should be done right. Babies feel secure by wrapping them just as they were in the womb. Their innate startle reflex is restricted, so their arms and legs don’t jerk them awake. Swaddling also promotes proper hip mobility and development, which decreases the risk of developing issues such as hip dysplasia.

From first-hand experience, when upset premature and newborn babies have their arms and legs gathered up into their body in a close hug, they are soothed within seconds. This is similar to a swaddle, the feeling of being enveloped and secure.

Swaddling wraps should be made from natural fabrics such as merino, cotton, or muslin, as the fibers breathe, preventing babies from getting too hot. For the same reason, a baby shouldn’t ever be put to bed with a hat on, as this prevents them from regulating their body temperature through their heads.

And while a swaddle should feel secure, it shouldn’t be too tight. It is important that parents can see if a baby is sucking its hands, an early hunger cue. It is a good idea to leave one hand out of the cloth so little one can do this. By pinning both hands inside the swaddle, parents can only look for more subtle feeding cues like lip licking and sucking.

After three months, most babies will be ready to transition away from swaddling. This may mean loosening the cloth or leaving out both hands, with just the torso wrapped. If the night-time temperature is cool, you can then move to a sleeping bag, which will prevent your more active baby from kicking off their covers. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents start to wean their infants off swaddling when they begin to show signs of trying to roll over. They add that “many babies start working on rolling at around 2 months of age.”

Parents often tell me that their newborns don’t like to be swaddled. I suggest that they try it for the early weeks, that they leave a handout, and that they don’t pull the cloth too tight. But they should also trust their instincts and if their baby is sleeping well, and not waking themselves up, then parents don’t need to swaddle. Every baby is different. It is worth persevering in wrapping your baby in a natural cloth in the early days, however, as most newborns feel more settled and secure when swaddled.

Help your newborn baby feel warm and secure as if they were cocooned in the womb. Swaddling can keep babies from being disturbed by their startle reflex, keeping little ones calm and reassured. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to swaddle a baby.

Take a swaddle blanket and lay flat, fold the top corner down so it almost reaches the center. Place your baby so the shoulders are just below the top of this folded edge.

Gently hold the baby’s arm at the side by pulling the wrap up and over the body.

Tuck the wrap under the baby, between the baby’s arm and body, letting the baby’s weight hold the wrap in place. Make this part of the swaddle very snug, so place the baby to the right while pulling the wrap left to ensure there’s no loose wrap in your swaddle.


Take the bottom of the blanket and pull it up so you've created a pocket for the baby’s legs. Then take the wrap and tuck it under the baby in the same place you tucked it


As you did in Step 2, take the baby’s arm and put it down so it rests next to the body. Then pull the wrap down over the shoulder (so the arm can’t make its way out), and then pull the wrap up and over the body. The swaddle should wrap under the baby (remember to use the baby’s weight to hold the swaddle into place) if there is excess fabric this can peek out the other side, or be tucked under the baby.


As you did in Step 3, you’ll want to make this part of the swaddle very snug, so place the baby to the right while pulling the wrap left to ensure there’s no loose blanket in your swaddle.

We recommend using our cotton or muslin swaddle blankets which both have a lovely stretch to ensure a secure hold. The 80 x 80 inches swaddles have a generous size to ensure you have plenty of fabric to get a great swaddle baby will love.

 how to swaddle a baby

This post was written by Libby Cain | Nurse, midwife, lactation consultant, and childbirth educator.