The easiest, safest way to swaddle a baby is to use our “5-second swaddle” SNOO Sack. These organic cotton, wearable blankets are hip safe, vented to reduce overheating, and can’t unravel, when used as recommended. In addition, the SNOO sack attaches to the SNOO safety clips to help keep babies safely on the back.
If you want to wrap your baby in a traditional swaddle blanket, try out Dr. Karp’s easy 4-step approach to swaddling, called the DUDU Wrap (Down-Up-Down-Up).
To get ready:
- Place a light cotton blanket on a flat location (use a 44-inch by 44-inch square) and orient it like a diamond, with a point at the top.
- Fold the top corner down. The top point should end up near the center of the blanket.
- Place your baby on the blanket, her neck right above the edge.
- Hold her right arm straight at her side. (If she resists, just be patient. The arm will straighten after a moment or two of gentle pressure.)
Holding the right arm against her side, grab the blanket about 4 inches from her right shoulder. Pull the blanket snugly down and across her body. Tuck the blanket under the left buttock. (It will look like half of a V-neck sweater.) Next, grab the free blanket beside her left shoulder. Tug the blanket firmly—away from her body—to remove any slack.
Her right arm should now be straight and snug against her side. (Just as swaddling is the key to calming, this first DOWN is the key to swaddling. Do it snugly, otherwise the whole wrap will unravel.)
Note: Don't be surprised if your baby's cries escalate when you start to swaddle. You’re not hurting her. She just doesn’t realize yet that she’s only seconds away from happiness.
Now, holding her left arm against her side, bring the point at the bottom of the blanket straight up and place it on her left shoulder. Tuck the blanket edge snugly around the left arm. Again, grab the blanket next to her shoulder and pull it straight out—away from her body—to remove any slack.
Note: The blanket should be loose around her legs, but her arms should be very snug and straight. Bent arms allow babies to wiggle out, which will escalate crying.
Grab the blanket just a few inches from the left shoulder and pull it down, just a bit. The small flap should come down to her upper chest to form the other half of the V-neck. Lightly press that part of the blanket against her breastbone, like you're holding down a ribbon while making a bow.
Note: Don't bring this fold all the way down to your baby's feet. Bring it down to the chest.
Holding the fold on the chest, grab the last free blanket corner and pull it straight out (away from her body) to remove any slack. In one smooth motion, lift that corner up and straight across her forearms, like a belt. The blanket should be big enough so that this part goes all the way around the body. Then, snug it and tuck it into the front of the “belt.”
Note: This last step is not straight up; it is actually up and across. The arms will be held snug and straight, but the legs should be loose enough to bend at the knee and open at the hips.
If you’re confused at all, watch the 3 swaddling demonstrations on The Happiest Baby on the Block video or take a lesson from a Happiest Baby educator (www.happiestbaby.org).