Firstly, why swaddle? With Rose I never really bothered. She was pretty content being loose, kicking about freely and would happily sleep in a baby sleeping bag. Kit on the other hand is a bit of a velcro-baby! He wants to be held tightly 24/7, wakes up once he is put down and has the most incredible startle reflex I have ever seen! Once swaddled however he is out for the count for a few hours! I have no idea what I am going to do once I need to stop doing this (FYI about 3ish months, when baby has learnt to roll please don't do this- baby could end up on their side/front- not good for SID!) Babies have been swaddled forever, It has always been common practise to do this for warmth, to restrict movement and help the baby feel safe and secure and to limit that pesky startle reflex that Kit suffers with from waking them up! One of the most heard sentences in my studio is 'Wow, how did you learn to swaddle them like that?', Practise. Lots and lots of practise. During a newborn session the wraps and swaddles I do look pretty but aren't the most practical (unless I have a bit of a tricky baby and I need to bring out the big guns!). Here I have done a step-by-step guide for how to swaddle a baby practically, to keep baby sleeping, secure and give you a rest! (I was going to do a video but firstly I hate the sound of my voice and secondly I always end up looking for the step-by-step guides for things online rather than repeatedly rewinding a video! If you would like me to do one however just drop me a message).
1) Firstly start with a wriggly baby! unwrapped, wriggly, annoyed you have put him down.
For best results feed, burp and change said baby.
Have a length of material to hand, this one is just a thin cotton wrap- it is boiling hot at the moment so it is keeping Kit secure without him overheating. You must make sure that you use a good thickness of material that will stop baby from overheating.
Another tip- stretchy material such as jersey are the easiest to use as you can get a really secure wrap without it being wriggled loose again.
2) Put swaddle under baby with one side longer than the other, the short side needs to be long enough to be able to wrap over the baby and tuck underneath.
3) Fold down baby's arms with one hand, wrap over the top (over the shoulder) and tuck underneath baby- the key is to keep the top seam of the material taut whilst you go.
Tightly tuck this first bit of the swaddle in to stop arm wriggles.
Now the arms are secure tuck the legs bit of the wrap in too. I prefer the hips and legs to be bent in a sort of froggy position, and the wrap a bit more loose here than the traditional, straight-legged swaddling so that their hips aren't forced into an unnatural, straight position.
4) . Take the other side of the swaddle, wrap over the top as you did on the first side (including this shoulder as well).
Keep the material taut and then tuck in.
5) . Lift up baby's bottom and bring the material underneath.
Spread material flat as seen in photo.
6) Wrap material back over the front and tuck in (depending on how long your swaddle is you may need to wrap over and under once more the keep the swaddle neat).
And there you go! Since wrapping, photographing and writing this blog Kit has remained asleep- a couple of wriggles but because of the restriction of the swaddle he has quickly gone back to sleep again.