Released from their first home inside a mother's womb, a newborn wants the familiar feeling of warmth and security, which helps to keep them calm. Swaddling can often provide this feeling but not many parents know how to wrap them up as well as the nurses in the hospital do.
It can be frustrating the first few times, but it takes time and patience to perfect. In most hospitals today, they usually teach you how to swaddle baby before you go home. Most doctors also recommend to stop swaddling when the baby approaches 2 months, but consult your medical professional for advice.
Something important to keep in mind is that improper swaddling - tightly wrapping your baby's legs straight - may loosen the joints and cause hip problems later. To avoid this, check that there is enough room at the bottom of the blanket for your infant's legs to move around.
Some parents opt not to swaddle their baby. But if you decide to swaddle, just make sure that you do it correctly.
Here are the basic steps to swaddle your baby (courtesy of BabyCenter):
- Lay a blanket on a flat surface like a diamond and fold down the top corner about 6 inches to form a straight edge.
- Place your baby on his back so that the top of the fabric is at shoulder level.
- Bring your baby's left arm down. Pull the corner of the blanket near his left hand over his arm and chest, and tuck the leading edge under his back on his right side.
- Bring your baby's right arm down. Pull the corner of the blanket near his right hand over his arm and chest, and tuck the cloth under his left side.
- Twist or fold the bottom end of the blanket and tuck it loosely behind your baby, making sure that both legs are bent up and out from his body, his hips can move, and his legs can spread apart naturally.
For more details on how to swaddle, watch this video from BabyCenter.