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These first few weeks in the wide-open world can be unsettling for your newborn, who's recently emerged from the closeness of the womb. Swaddling, or wrapping your baby snugly in a blanket, can help him feel secure as he adjusts to his new environment.
Reasons to Swaddle
- If your baby is having trouble sleeping because he's easily startled or his own muscle movements wake him up.
- If your baby seems uncomfortable for no apparent reason.
- If your baby seems distressed by the free movement of his arms and legs.
Tips to Remember
- Swaddling is only effective for the first few weeks after birth. After one month, swaddling, which inhibits movement, can restrict your baby's motor development.
- Don't swaddle a baby in an especially warm room because overheating is a SIDS risk factor.
- If your baby doesn't enjoy being swaddled, it's OK. Remember to take your cues from your baby-he'll let you know what he likes best.
- Holding your baby in a sling-type carrier is another way to help your child feel safe and secure. You can experiment with the sling to find the positions that are most comfortable for both of you.
1. Fold one corner of your blanket down. (A receiving blanket works well.) Place your baby in the middle of the fold with his head above the edge.
2. Pull the left side of the blanket snugly across your baby's chest, making sure his right arm is wrapped close to his body. Then lift your baby's left arm and securely tuck the blanket under his body.
3. Bring the bottom of the blanket up and either fold the edge back or tuck it into the first swathe. Then pull the last corner of the blanket across your baby's chest, securing his left arm near his body.
4. Tuck the blanket under your baby's back as far as it will go. Keep your baby snugly wrapped as you pick him up.
TIP: Don't be alarmed if your baby wiggles his arms out while he sleeps. Some babies don't like having their arms confined. Try keeping his arms outside the blanket while you wrap it. Your baby might prefer this more natural position.
For more information on baby care, see: