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Sunday, July 15, 2012


Baby swaddled in an Aiden & Anais Blanket

For centuries all over the world, people have been wrapping up their babies. Even in cultures that had little influence from any others swaddled their babies. Native Americans had cradleboards that they tied their babies into, Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes 2,000 years ago, and hospitals today all over the world send babies home swaddled.

Swaddling babies makes them feel like they are being hugged all around. They feel safe and secure tightly cocooned like they were in the womb. Studies have shown that swaddling babies helps them sleep longer, remain calmer, and swaddling even promotes growth. Swaddling also acts as a sleep cue for your baby. If baby is consistently swaddled right before it's time to sleep, their body will soon associate swaddling with sleeping.


  • Swaddling is not something that is instinctive. Incorrect swaddling can contribute to SIDS (overheating and loose blankets in crib) or stunted growth. It is perfectly safe properly done though.
  • The swaddle should be tight, you don’t want baby to be wriggling out. Loose blankets = bad.
  • Do not overdress your baby, the blanket is another layer. Take off a layer underneath the blanket if baby gets warm.
  • Use a breathable blanket when you swaddle to help prevent overheating. Think cotton for room to warm temperatures and wool for cold weather
  • Beware of slack in the blanket at the top of the swaddle. Put baby’s shoulders level with the top of the blanket to keep there from being any slack. Slack in the blanket can cover baby's mouth/nose.

*The following swaddle technique comes from Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block.

Dr Harvey Karp's DUDU Swaddle

Dr. Harvey Karp teaches the DUDU (Down, Up, Down, Up) Swaddle. This is basically the same swaddle that has been used in hospitals and homes for many years. Here's how to do it:

Step 1 - DOWN
Hold baby’s right arm straight at the side.
Bring the blanket down and tuck it under baby’s back.
Grab the blanket by the unwrapped shoulder and tug it snug.
Don’t be surprised if your baby cries louder when you wrap.  Your baby doesn’t know what’s best! They don’t realize they’re just seconds away from happiness!  

Step 2 – UP
Hold baby’s left arm straight at the side.
Bring the bottom point of the blanket straight up and place it on the shoulder. Tuck the rest of the blanket under the whole left arm. 

Step 3 - DOWN
Grab the blanket a few inches from baby’s left shoulder and pull it down…just a little bit. 
Hold that small fold of blanket pressed against baby’s chest like you are holding down a ribbon to make a bow.  

Step 4 - UP
Grab the last free corner.  Pull it straight out (to remove any  slack) then in one smooth motion bring it up and across baby’s waist.   
Wrap it snugly around the body like a belt, to hold baby’s
arms down FIRMLY.
This last snug and tuck keeps the whole swaddle from popping open.


If your child is at risk for hip dysplasia, then a hip-friendly swaddle should be used. See this link for more details.


Products for Swaddling

  • Aiden & Anais Blankets are my favorites. They are light and breathable, and perfect for year round use. You can double swaddle if it's cold in baby's room. They are huge, which makes them perfect for swaddling a baby, especially if you end up swaddling for several months.
  • The Information Blanket is small, so it will really only work for newborns. It is a blanket with infant care guidelines printed on it. For every English language version purchased, another blanket is given to a mother and her baby somewhere else in the world to help fight infant mortality.
  • The Loving Baby Swaddle Blanket is a specially shaped blanket to make swaddling easier. It also makes the swaddle more secure.
  • The Miracle Blanket is another swaddle cheater that makes it easier to get a nice tight swaddle.
  • The Woombie is less a blanket and more of a cocoon. You just zip baby in! It is stretchy so baby can still move around like they did in the womb.

1 comment:

  1. Very useful thanks! I have been searching for a diagram of the Harvery Karp swaddling technique as our baby escapes from the three fold swaddle! :-)