Wrapping your baby has been used for centuries to put little babies to sleep. Many babies enjoy
the feeling of being swaddled tightly, as it is a great way to help them feel safe and secure
during their frequent slumbers and has the ability to minimize startle reflexes that can wake
them, which is good for everyone! We all love the warmth and security of being wrapped, and
your baby is no different!
Wrapping your baby can also be a great way to keep them calm and warm during this process,
and it’s a wonderful way to help build a bond with your little one. Just be careful to avoid
wrapping too tightly, which restricts their arm movement as well as their ability to move their
hands to their mouths. Not only can it be uncomfortable, but it might also stop them from
communicating their hunger cues to their mommy or daddy if they need a feed.
Wrapping your baby snugly in a blanket while they sleep can help soothe them, and it also cuts
the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and fatal sleeping accidents because it keeps
babies firmly on their backs during sleep. It’s recommended to wrap babies from birth until
they can roll onto their tummies when they reach the age of 4-6 months.
Wrapping may seem like a lot of work, but it’s actually pretty easy. And it’s worth the effort to
get that swaddle going for the benefit of both parties. Therefore, without further ado, let us
teach you how to wrap your baby up like a pro:
First, make sure you have the right materials. Look for a light blanket—something muslin is
ideal—and make sure it’s big enough to swaddle your whole baby. If you’re using something
like a muslin wrap, this process would also be much easier—the fabric will stretch just enough
to get around your baby, ensuring a minimum of fuss.
Next, follow our detailed guide below and pave the path to obtain your professional swaddling
Swaddling a Baby: A Step-by-Step Breakdown
Ever wondered how to wrap your baby? Try these simple steps…
You’ ll need:
– One muslin wrap
– A baby (preferably one of your own)
- Step 1: Fold the top edge of the muslin wrap down by about 20cm
- Step 2: Place your baby on the wrap with their head extending past the fold.
- Step 3: Tuck the baby’s left hand under the fold and bring the left side of the wrap over and
around your baby, holding the arm close to their body and tucking under the baby’s legs.
- Step 4: Tuck the baby’s right hand under the fold and bring the right side of the wrap over and
around your baby, and tuck under the baby’s back.
- Step 5: Lift up and slide your hand into the lower back section of the wrap, gently tightening it.
Bring loose edges to the front and tie a bow.
When Wrapping, Balance is Everything
Wrapping your baby too tightly may increase their risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy
(SUDI) – a leading cause of postnatal infant mortality, including sudden infant death syndrome
(SIDS) and fatal sleeping accidents. Wrapping your baby too loosely can also pose a SUDI risk if
the wrap comes undone and your baby rolls over or gets tangled in it.
Wrapping your baby too tightly can:
– cause their breathing to be more difficult.
– increase their body temperature; and
– restrict their movement, so they cannot move freely to get into a comfortable position.
Wrapping your baby too loosely can:
– allow them to move around inside the wrap and become tangled in it; or
– allow them to wriggle free, which may mean they can roll onto their tummy and suffocate.
Therefore, find the right balance between too tight and too loose. Please consult a midwife or a
parent with experience if you are lost.
Mind the Heat!
- Dressing your baby in a wrap that is too heavy and/or too tight can cause the baby to overheat,
and overheating is linked to SUDI.
- Don’t forget that babies cannot regulate their own temperature until they are around three
months old, so it’s up to you to ensure they aren’t getting too hot or cold. Here are some
essential tips to help regulate your baby’s temperature.
- Dress your baby in a singlet and nappy underneath the wrap if the weather is warm. Do
not use anything over the top of the wrap.
- In cool weather, dress your baby in a lightweight jumpsuit before you proceed with the
wrap. If your baby is sick and needs some extra warmth, make sure that the house isn't
too cold or hot for them. A little extra warmth is usually all that's needed – the room
doesn’t need to be hot for your baby to be cosy.
- When you place your baby in the wrap, be careful not to cover their face with the fabric
since wrapping your baby too high can cause the baby to overheat and also block the
baby’s breathing. Don’t let the wrap cover either your baby's face, ears, nose, head, or
If You Are Co-Sleeping, Take Precautions
We know you want to give your beautiful baby the best of everything. That’s why we’re here to
remind you that if your baby is in your bed with you, there’s no need to wrap them up. In fact, it
could be dangerous!
Wrapping a baby can cause them to overheat and sweat. This is especially important for babies
sleeping in their parents' bed with them (known as co-sleeping). If a baby gets too hot, it
increases the risk of SUDI and other sleeping accidents.
If you’re not sure if your baby is too hot or cold, try this trick: dress your baby as you would
dress yourself when you go to sleep. They should also be free from bedding that covers their
head or face at all times—this includes loose bedding, pillows, cot bumpers, and toys.
Co-sleeping can increase the risk of SUDI for several reasons. For example:
- A parent might roll onto their baby while they’re asleep
- A parent might move around a lot while they sleep and accidentally smother the baby
- The parents body heat might cause the baby to overheat
Alternative Options for Babies Who Hate Being Wrapped:
No matter what you do, your little baby might fight with every breath against being wrapped in
a blanket. If that’s the case, you should consider getting them a safe infant sleeping bag instead.
This will help keep your little one warm, still, and on his back—and that's important because
being on their backs reduces the risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI).
Babies are at high risk between the ages of two weeks and four months old for SUDI, which is
why it’s so important to take precautions. The best way to reduce the risk of SUDI is by putting
your baby on their back for sleep time, even during naps. It is said to reduce the risk of deaths
from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by up to 50%. In fact, since Australia started its
Back to Sleep campaign, there has been a 70% decrease in SIDS cases.
You can get an infant sleeping bag that helps keep them on their back by restricting movement.
This is a suitable alternative for parents who don’t want to worry about whether their baby will
stay on their back. Just be sure that you have the right size!
While co-sleeping can bring many benefits, it is important to understand all the risks involved.
Please visit the following links for more information on safe sleeping environments for babies:
1. Article 1
2. Article 2
It’s best for babies to be able to sleep in their own bed, even if you’re right there in the same
room. The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a separate cot or bassinet that meets
Australian Safety Standards.
Settling Your Baby Down for Sleep:
Sometimes, when your baby is fussy, you might find that patting or rocking them in their crib,
cot, or bassinet helps them settle. In fact, some mothers will cradle or rock their babies until
they start to get sleepy and then use patting or rocking to complete the cycle.
If you’re on the lookout for a little extra help soothing your baby to sleep, try making some
white noise. It's not just because life in-utero was pretty loud—lots of babies enjoy some
background noise as they drift into dreamland. You can make your own white noise by running
a fan nearby or stream a commercial soundtrack from one of these apps:
1. Apple Music / iTunes
Finally, for the stubborn little settler who won’t go down without a fight, try giving them a
warm bath and gentle massage before putting them to bed. It’s important not to massage your
baby when they’re already tired and fussy—wait until they’ve calmed down and are relaxed but
still awake and go for the massage. Aaaand that’s a wrap! (See what we did there? hahaha *
this writer fades into obscurity *)
Anyways, good luck, parents! Take all of this information in, do some more research, practice,
practice, practice, and most importantly, have fun with it. You’ll be great!