You need to know how to swaddle your kid for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which being that infants sort of can’t control their little alien arms, and the old, “Stop hitting yourself,” is way less funny when the victim literally can’t help it. Besides keeping kiddo’s arms safely pinned down, a swaddle also helps comfort and regulate temperature for a confused little creature that isn’t used to being out of the womb yet. Finally, it helps mitigate the problem of them startling awake at the slightest disturbance, which is key for both of your sanity.
By way of definition, since you really had no need to know until now, a swaddle is basically a square of comfy fabric used to wrap your kid, papoose-style. The only requirements are durability, washability, and softness. Nothing fancy. Oh, and it should be big enough to wrap your kid, which would have been hilarious to watch you try and figure out the hard way.
Once you have your swaddle, it’s time to start wrapping. It’s not that difficult, really. Just think of it like wrapping a triangular, open-ended burrito. Here’s how to fill it:
- Fold the swaddle into said triangle and place your baby on top like a heap of carne asada; their shoulders sit just below the top straight edge and feet face down towards the bottom point of the triangle.
- Arrange one of the kid’s arms parallel to their body, with the elbow slightly bent. Fold that corner of your triangle across their body and tuck and fold the fabric under their opposite side, keeping the arm on that side free.
- Fold the bottom, pointy end of your triangle up over the feet and tuck the point into the previous fold. The feet should be covered now, second arm still free.
- For the final flourish, arrange the free arm the same way you did the first and wrap the final untucked corner completely around your baby, covering the previous folds and tucking the remaining fabric underneath.
Congratulations! You swaddled the heck out of that baby, and are now probably hungry for a burrito. If you need more practice, a video and illustrated guide to the easiest 4-step process around, or just want to buy a proper swaddle, these guys have it all under wraps.