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How to Swaddle in 3 Easy Steps

Learning how to swaddle a baby is an important skill for new parents to master, and with a little practice soon you can swaddle like a pro. Swaddling your baby can be greatly beneficial to you and your baby because swaddled babies sleep better. Swaddled babies should always be placed on their back for sleep. Each of our swaddle blankets includes our exclusive pictorial 123 Swaddle label sewn to the edge of the blanket to guide you in 3 easy steps to properly and securely swaddle your baby. Created by an experienced nurse.


How to Swaddle

Get Ready

  • Place blanket on a flat surface in a diamond position in front of you with the 123 Swaddle Tip Tag visible on your upper right hand side.

  • Fold the top corner down about 6 inches, and place baby in the center of the blanket with their neck at the fold. Bring baby's hands to midline at chest or tummy.

Step One

  • Starting on your left, bring the 1st corner over baby's chest and tuck snugly behind baby.

  • Ensure baby’s hips and knees are in a flexed frog-like position inside the swaddle.

  • Do not straighten or over extend your baby’s joints.

Step Two

  • The bottom corner goes up and over baby's left shoulder and behind baby's back. The weight of the baby will help to keep the swaddle secure.

Step Three

  • Take the 3rd corner down at a slight angle and across baby and all the way around behind baby, tucking the tail of the blanket into the fold in the front.

  • Avoid having the blanket touch baby's cheek. This can stimulate baby's rooting response and wake baby.

Always be sure to place baby on their back for all sleep including naps.

You can gently position baby's head to face slightly to the right, slightly to the left or center. It's important to alternate these head positions slightly each time you place baby down for sleep to avoid a flat spot on the back of baby's head.

Experts including Dr. Harvey Karp, Dr. Tom Keens, Dr. Laura Jana, Dr. Bradley Thach, Dr. Sears…. recommend swaddling for sleep time. In 2002, Dr. Bradley Thach led a study that proved that swaddled back sleeping babies sleep better than unswaddled babies.


SwaddleDesigns blankets are the only swaddling blankets with instructions sewn to the edge of the blanket. Moms, dads, grandparents and caregivers appreciate the instructions at their fingertips when they are learning how to swaddle.

Many experts believe supine swaddling helps to reduce risk of SIDS because swaddling helps babies sleep better on their back, therefore parents are less likely to use unsafe tummy position for sleep.

Doctors, nurses, childbirth educators, doulas, parents, and medical experts recommend SwaddleDesigns blankets because they are large, square, lightweight and breathable. Cotton is a natural and breathable fabric which reduces the risk of overheating.

Natural Position

Experts recommend swaddling baby in a natural position with elbows, knees and hips flexed for proper joint development. When swaddling a newborn, many experts recommend swaddling with baby's hands within reach of mouth so baby can suck on his or her fingers to self-console.

You may also choose to wrap baby with one or both hands down inside the swaddle with baby's elbows in a flexed position. After breastfeeding is established, you may choose to offer baby a pacifier.

Wrap Snugly

A loose swaddle is ineffective, so wrap baby snugly, but not so tightly as to impede baby's breathing. You should be able to slide your hand between the blanket and your baby's chest.

Custom Fit

SwaddleDesigns large square blankets allow for a custom fit swaddle for your baby. Our swaddling blankets are designed with good stretch when they are in the diamond position for swaddling. Every baby is unique. Ask your baby's pediatrician about swaddling your baby.

Always Place Baby on Back to Sleep

Always place baby on his or her back for sleep. The side and tummy positions are unsafe.
The back sleeping position reduces risk of SIDS. Baby should sleep on a firm sleep surface, in a bassinet, cradle or crib near the mother's bed, without any soft toys, pillows or loose bedding.


Baby's Sleep Environment

Room Temperature

Medical experts recommend a sleep environment of 65-70°F (18-21°C)

It is an important responsibility of the caregiver to dress baby appropriately for sleep based on the temperature of their environment. Parents should not overdress or underdress baby for sleep. As a general guide, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends dressing baby in no more than one layer more than an adult would use to be comfortable in the same environment.

For many years, it was considered okay if baby's hands and feet were cool. The belief was that the coolness was due to baby's immature circulatory system, however recently the World Health Organization states that baby's hands and feet should be pink and warm. Warm and pink feet indicate that the baby is in thermal comfort. However, when baby's feet are cold and trunk is warm, it indicates that the baby is in cold stress. You can hold baby nex to you to warm them, and add socks for additional warmth. Tummy and chest should be warm and dry. A sweaty neck and back is a sign of overheating and a layer of baby's clothing should be removed.

Babies are not good at regulating their own temperatures. No blanket can naturally regulate baby's temperature for them, so parents need to touch and feel their baby to ensure baby is not too warm or too cold.

Smoke-Free Environment

Always keep baby's environment smoke-free by not smoking when pregnant, near your baby, or in an area where your baby spends time or sleeps.


Be sure air can circulate freely around baby's face. A fan in baby's room can increase ventilation, but should not be blowing air directly on baby.

Allow Baby to Suck on Fingers or a Pacifier

Infant researchers state it's in baby's best interest to have baby's hands within reach of mouth, so baby may self-soothe by sucking on his or her fingers. Sucking is the most organizing behavior of the newborn – it helps baby with sleep/wake control. Sucking is an early form of communication - by vigorously sucking, a baby communicates that he or she is hungry.

As your baby grows stronger or if you have a very active baby, you may tuck one or both hands down into the swaddle with their elbows flexed and offer baby a pacifier. Babies who suck on pacifiers have reduced incidence of SIDS.

As you learn more about your baby, you will find which hand position works best for your baby.

When to Stop Swaddling

The AAP recommends to stop swaddling with arms fully restrained when baby shows signs of starting to roll over onto tummy. Babies that are able to roll over should not have arms fully restrained inside a swaddle. Babies that can roll over may be placed in a Transitional Swaddle Sack or a Sleeping Sack such as our zzZipMe Sack.

Swaddle Blankets and Fabric Choice

All SwaddleDesigns Swaddle Blankets feature our exclusive 123 Swaddle illustrated instructions sewn to the edge of the blanket.


Cotton Flannel is the #1 Choice in US Hospitals for Swaddling

Hospitals trust and use cotton flannel blankets to wrap babies soon after birth to keep them warm and comfortable. Your baby will quickly outgrow the hospital-size blanket and you will need a larger receiving blanket to swaddle your baby as he or she grows.

Our Ultimate Swaddle Blanket is made from super soft premium preshrunk cotton flannel. It's square, lightweight and breathable. 42” x 42”. Made in USA.



Wrap your baby in pure softness. Our boutique quality 100% cotton muslin with cheerful designs and designer colors gets softer with every wash. The open weave increases breathability and reduces the risk of overheating. The generous size, square shape and helpful labels will make it easy to swaddle. 46” x 46”. Imported.



SwaddleDesigns Marquisette Swaddling Blanket is an ultra soft, very lightweight open weave blanket made from 100% cotton. Appropriate for warmer environments, cotton marquisette is crafted from cotton that is superior in length, strength, and smoothness to create a very soft and premium quality blanket that will get softer after every wash. Our exclusive 123 Swaddle instructional tag is sewn to the edge of each blanket. 46” x 46”. Imported.


Benefits of Swaddling

Medical studies have shown there are many benefits to swaddling.

Supine Swaddling Decreases the Risk of SIDS

  • Swaddled back sleeping infants have a lower incidence of SIDS than unswaddled back sleeping infants as stated in the Journal of Pediatrics

  • When babies sleeps better on their back, parents are less likely to use the unsafe tummy position for sleep

  • Swaddling helps sleeping infants remain on their backs

Swaddled Babies Sleep Better®

  • Swaddling decreases occurrence of the startle reflex which frequently wakes unswaddled babies

  • Infants sleep with fewer awakenings when swaddled and have twice as much REM sleep

  • REM sleep is believed to be important for brain development

  • When babies sleep better and longer, parents get more sleep, too

Reduces Colic and Fussiness

  • Snug swaddling soothes babies by reminding baby of the snugness of the womb

  • Swaddling helps prevent over-stimulation

  • Babies are inefficient at regulating their temperature. Swaddling helps keep baby warm

Helpful When Breastfeeding

  • Tucking baby's hands into the swaddle can help keep baby's hands from impairing latch-on if baby has lots of extra arm movements.

  • Baby's extra movements are nicely contained when swaddled which can help baby focus and latch on. Once baby has learned how to latch on and is nursing, remove the swaddle so baby and mom can be skin to skin and tummy to tummy.

  • Use the blanket to drape over mom and baby for warmth. Skin to skin is best when learning how to breastfeed.