How to swaddle a baby

Tara Schreiber

Swaddling or wrapping your baby is one of the first things you will learn as a new parent, and it is something you will perfect in no time! But first, you’ll need to learn exactly HOW to wrap a newborn baby for sleep!  

happy baby being swaddled on a comfy bed in a muslin white wrap

The good news is that swaddling your baby is so simple to do and the benefits of doing so are huge for you and your new born. The even better news....we’re going to tell you exactly how to do it, which means you’ll master the ‘baby burrito’ in no time! 

When you’re pregnant, you focus so much on preparing for birth and making a gorgeous home for your new babe. You write and rewrite lists, you google ‘must have baby products’ about a million times, you nest and set up a beautiful baby nursery, pack your hospital bag with everything and anything you might need, and wait.....  
Before you know it they’re here! Now what?! Well apart from knowing how to change a nappy, knowing how to wrap a new born is one of the first things you’ll do within the first few hours of birth.  
We know that wrapping a baby soothes them, that they sleep better when they’re wrapped and that wrapping a newborn during sleep reduces the risks of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI), including SIDS. Red Nose Australia and your midwife or child health nurse are great resources for information about safe sleeping practices and we recommend that you brush up on their advice before your little one arrives. 
There are many techniques and also many different types of swaddles. Red Nose Australia recommends muslin or light cotton fabrics for swaddling.  As for technique, I’m going to show you the simplest and quickest wrapping technique, that I’ve used for both of my babies.   

Step by step guide of how to swaddle a baby with pictures of baby at each stage of swaddling

How to swaddle your baby: step-by-step

Step 1: lay your swaddle out on the bed or floor with the corner pointing up (you’ll get very good at doing this one-handed!) Fold the top corner down to the centre of the swaddle to create a straight edge at the top. 

Step 2: place your baby in the middle of the swaddle with her head above the fold and shoulders just below.  

Step 3: move baby’s left arm across her chest and gently hold in place, while you bring the right side of the swaddle across her body and tuck it under her bottom on her right side 

Step 4: repeat with the other arm and other side of the swaddle

Step 5: fan out the bottom of the swaddle (like a mermaid tail) and bring it up to baby’s tummy, tucking in each side under her bottom. (make sure to leave enough room for her to straighten her legs) 

Lastly, stare at your gorgeous baby burrito until they fall asleep! Okay maybe the last part isn’t that easy, but the rest is! 

Swaddle your baby like this about 20 times a day until they start to show signs of rolling (around 4-6 months). Then it’s best to transition to one arm swaddling or an age appropriate sleeping bag.  

We recommend that you have around 10 swaddles on hand to rotate around the nursery, nappy bag, car and washing machine! These can be a mix of colours, patterns and fabrics to have a good variety for different needs and occassions. Our Muslin Swaddle is a popular item and comes in a number of options, plain and patterned to suit your style. 

So, that’s how to swaddle a baby! Good Luck, you got this mumma! 

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