How to Swaddle a Baby (with Step by Step Videos)

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - July 28, 2023

We found that nothing will calm a baby down faster than a good swaddle.

How to Swaddle a Baby

Twins crying? Swaddle them.

Twins having trouble going to sleep? Swaddle them.

When you swaddle your babies, you are recreating some of the comfort they enjoyed in the womb where they were tightly packed and in a warm environment.

Swaddling your baby is like magic. Here’s how to swaddle a baby the right way…

What baby gear do I need to swaddle?

You can swaddle your babies with a simple receiving blanket. These light weight blankets are easy to wrap and cheap enough to have several on hand.

(RELATED: Still expecting twins? Will you be having two boys, two girls, or boy/girl twins? Answer these quick questions to see what several old wives’ tales claim you’ll be having….)

Your babies will soil these blankets regularly with spit up or diaper blowouts. So make sure you have plenty on hand.

We used flannel receiving blankets like these with our children.

How to Swaddle a Baby Step by Step

Swaddling a baby is fairly straight forward. Don’t worry if you don’t figure it out right away. Practice makes perfect and you’ll need to adjust your swaddle to what works with each of your babies.

This video shows how to swaddle a baby with arms out:

We’d almost always swaddle our babies with their arms tucked in. That way they couldn’t break out of the swaddle as easily by flailing their arms all over.

Plus when they are very little, our babies could smack themselves and seem to wonder “who hit me?” By restraining their arms, we felt that they calmed down more quickly.

There are several types of swaddles you can try with your babies:

  • Diamond swaddle
  • Square Swaddle
  • Sleep Sack Swaddle

When you swaddle, remember to not be too tight around the legs. Always put your baby down to sleep on his or her back (never the tummy or side). In fact, if your infant is able to roll over, swaddling is no longer recommended.

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This video explains the various ways to swaddle and explains the importance of loose swaddling and leaving space for legs to move:

Diamond Swaddle

We used the diamond swaddle with our babies. To swaddle your baby with the diamond swaddle, follow these steps:

  • Lay the blanket like a diamond and fold the top corner down
  • Place baby with shoulders on the folded corner
  • Tuck left arm down and wrap blanket over baby’s chest and tuck under right side of baby
  • Tuck right arm down and wrap blanket over baby’s chest and other arm and tuck under left side of baby
  • Bring bottom corner up, twist and tuck under baby and make sure there is space for hips to move

Sleep Sack Swaddle

If you find that the lightweight receiving blankets aren’t working as you’d hope with your babies, try a sleep sack swaddle.

You can buy a “pre-made” swaddle blanket that comfortably holds baby but is harder for them to break out.

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It is like a more kinder, gentler version of a baby straight jacket.

Here’s a version of the sleep sack swaddler that might work for you.

When to Stop Swaddling

You won’t be able to swaddle your twins forever. They eventually get too big for the blankets or consistently kick out of the swaddle.

Our girls lasted in their swaddles for about three to four months.

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Once you learn how to swaddle a baby, there is no going back. It will be your go-to trick for soothing your babies.

Have you had success swaddling your babies? Let us know what worked for you in the comments below.

Further Reading

Dad's Guide to Raising Twins book
Don't forget to pick up a copy of the definitive guide to raising twins. "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins" was written for fathers of twins to help guide you through the first several years with twins. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy.

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