How to swaddle baby safely
Latest update: March 28, 2018
Authors: Heidi Holvoet, PhD & Pam Diamond of First Daze & Nightzzz
Swaddling baby correctly is crucial for safety reasons and it is not
difficult to do. Doula Pam Diamond shares her traditional Baby Burrito method with us as well as her preferred helpful products on the
Diamond's Baby Burrito traditional swaddle method
Even though families have plenty of excellent options, parents may
enjoy knowing how to create a good “burrito” swaddle.
This method uses
a large swaddle blanket - usually a square of fabric.
blankets designed for the job, such as good quality muslin
swaddle blankets - not any old thing within arms reach!
1. Begin with the blanket in a diamond shape and fold the top corner
to form a triangle.
Place baby in the center of the folded area with
their head just above the fold of the blanket. Baby’s shoulders are
below the fold.
2. Place baby’s right arm slightly bent at the elbow flat against their
body. Take point of the swaddle on the same side as the right arm and
bring it across baby’s chest.
3. Ensure the arm is securely under the
fabric. Tuck the edge of the blanket under the body by tilting baby to
the left and secure it snugly.
Fold the bottom point up & over your baby’s feet and
tuck under left shoulder and along baby’s left side.
4. Then, hold baby’s left arm slightly bent at the elbow against his or
her body, take the right point & bring it across
baby’s chest and under and around back.
5. Tuck excess fabric into the
swaddle to secure it. The snugness should come across
baby’s torso and not hips. Your baby’s legs and hips should be loose
enough to flex.
Should your baby appear to break out of this conventional wrap, Pam advises her secret Houdini-proof method - you can contact her through her website listed at the bottom - or to try Miracle Blanket as discussed right below.
A swaddled baby should be put down on
his or her back only. Babies
should only be swaddled during sleep times. Baby needs her hands free
to learn about the world during her wakeful times.
There are several options on the market from which to choose.
1. The traditional swaddle - for use with Pam's folding technique
This is typically simply a generously sized,
lightweight square of fabric. You can find them easily in your local
store or online.
Just don't pick up any old blanket you happen to have
lying around. Make sure to get a dedicated one, specifically meant for
Maybe the easiest option are to get one of these simple muslin
swaddle blankets. The muslin fabric is light which is
important to avoid over-heating. And it just works well to make a nice
2. The Miracle Blanket
Blanket is a clever swaddle blanket
with wings built into
the fabric to keep baby's arms in place. It even has a pouch for the
This design makes it really easy to make a good and safe swaddle. It's
also great for little Houdini's as you can easily make a nicely tight
fit. I love them.
Velcro and Zip Up Swaddles
Two other decent options are Velcro swaddles and Zip Up ones. They are
easy to use and convenient as quick-fixes
but have some disadvantages for some.
Velcro swaddles have
pouches for the legs and wraps for the arms that are fastened by
velcro. The downside of these is the noise the velcro makes when
changing a diaper in the middle of the night, possibly causing unwanted
Zip up swaddles (like the Woombie), also easy and self-explanatory. A
downside is that these may not restrict movement enough for some babies.
= This article was written in
collaboration with Pam Diamond, North
Carolina’s baby whisperer. She is a parent coach,
postpartum doula, baby sleep consultant and owner of First Daze &
Nightzzz. Pam’s goal is to help parents and babies get off to the best
possible start. She helps families fix what’s not working and enjoy
what is. She lives in Cary, North Carolina with her family. You can
learn more about Pam, and ask her about her Houdini-proof swaddle method on her website: http://firstdaze.com. =
*Pictures courtesy by Pam Diamond.