HOW TO SWADDLE A BABY THE DAD WAY
I know what you’re thinking. How on earth do I swaddle a baby? What even is swaddling, and how in the hell do you keep those little newborn baby arms from exploding out of the top and the whole thing unravelling? Don’t worry, new dad; we have you covered. Grab a beer, sit back, relax, and read on to understand the art of how to swaddle a baby the dad way.
So, what is swaddling?
Swaddling is an old-school practice of wrapping your little bundle of joy in a blanket that fits snugly around their little body. It is known to provide a pleasant calming element for a newborn because it feels like being back in the womb, and who doesn’t want to be warm and snug? Your newborn will find this comforting, and you will quickly find that swaddling is your new favourite thing.
Another benefit is that swaddling helps prevent your infant from smashing themselves in the face, thanks to their moro reflex. I know I know. What the hell is the Moro reflex?
It’s essentially the startle reflex, and your baby is prone to randomly throwing their arms and legs around in the air during sleep, which usually results in a nice, loud scream at the end.
Wait, hold up. Is swaddling safe?
The quick answer is yes. Yes, it is. Swaddling is an extremely effective technique for calming infants and allowing them to get some much-needed sleep (much needed for you as well), and it has also been linked to lowering the risk of SIDS in children who are too young to roll over on their own. If you need more information on SIDS, check that out here.
Safe sleep guidelines are essential if you’re planning on swaddling your baby. Make sure your baby sleeps on their back in their cot, and ensure that the cot has a firm mattress with no loose sheets or blankets.
Unfortunately, the only catch is that you can only swaddle your child up to a certain point before it is no longer safe. So if your child is 16 and you’re still swaddling them, I would suggest stopping.
In all seriousness, as soon as your little one starts rolling over or even attempting to roll over, it’s time to stop the swaddling and transition to a wearable blanket.
Important things to look for in a swaddling blanket
Choosing the right swaddling blanket goes a long way. You want something that is essentially breathable. A muslin blanket is probably the perfect option because it is an extremely breathable fabric that helps to prevent overheating as well as being nice and durable. Muslin blankets like these are perfect. Ensure to be there with your partner when shopping for a swaddling blanket, as there are a hundred designs, and your wife will probably come home with several and cost you a small fortune.
Right, here we go. So how do we swaddle a baby?
Now, it’s time to answer that question, which is a holy grail for us dads. We’ve sat there and struggled long enough while watching our WAGS perform the art of swaddling effortlessly. Check out the below steps for the best way to swaddle your child.
Get out your muslin blanket and place it on a flat surface, and then first fold it into a triangle by folding back one corner. Then place the little one in the centre with their shoulders just below the folded corner.
Pat yourself on the back and admire your handy work so far.
Grab your baby’s right arm (gently, of course) and place it alongside their body, with a slight bend in it. Take that same side of the swaddle and tug it securely across your baby’s chest, keeping their arm under the swaddle. Then make sure to tuck the edge of the swaddle under the body, leaving the left arm free. You then need to fold the bottom corner of the swaddle up and over your baby’s feet, tucking the fabric into the top of the swaddle by their shoulder.
Right at this point, you need to take a breather. I know it’s hard following instructions like this, and based on how difficult it is for us dads to deal with flat-pack furniture instructions, we need to take our time and do things properly because we know there is a beady eye watching us in the background. Right, back to the steps.
Be prepared for your baby’s arms to be swinging around like a windmill, but try to place their left arm alongside the body, slightly bent. Once under control, take the left side of the swaddle and pull it securely across your baby’s chest, keeping their left arm under the swaddle. Proceed to tuck the right side under your baby.
Congratulations! You’ve swaddled your baby. Don’t be downhearted if your baby effortlessly pulls their arms out of the swaddle and continues to swing like a fairground ride. It takes practice, but if you follow the above steps smoothly and calmly, you will have a successful experience swaddling your baby.
If you can’t master this art, wait. There is a cheat option…
While a traditional swaddle is always recommended and is certainly a nicer touch, it isn’t the only option available! A swaddle suit can certainly make your life a little easier, as it did mine.
For example, this swaddle suit is perfect for your baby to sleep in and gives you peace of mind in regards to the swaddle coming unravelled. It’s a great alternative for dads who cannot master the art of swaddling. Being useless, I admit I used one of these, and I never looked back!
Ok, I’ve mastered the art of swaddling, but I’m worried it’s too tight…
The sense of achievement is abundant. A swaddled baby lays in front of you, hands and arms tucked firmly inside. Hang on, though; the swaddle looks too tight. There is a great way to check if your swaddling skills have gone too far over the threshold.
Abide by the “two-finger test.” Simply place two of your fingers between the swaddle and your baby’s chest. If your fingers fit easily beneath the fabric, you’ve achieved the just-right swaddle fit. If it’s slightly tight, you may need to loosen it slightly.
Follow this guide, and you will become an absolute master at being able to swaddle a baby, showing up your partner with your incredible dad skills in the process.