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Do You Have to Swaddle a Newborn? [A Mom’s Guide]

Do You Have to Swaddle a Newborn [A Mom’s Guide]

Welcome to this in-depth discussion about swaddling newborns! As moms and caregivers, we constantly seek ways to ensure our little ones feel safe and content.

Swaddling has been a longstanding tradition, offering a cozy embrace and mimicking how they felt in the womb. But if you’ve ever wondered if swaddling is a necessity to this day, you’ve come to the right place!

Join me as we delve deep into this topic. Let’s explore the unique benefits and important considerations when it comes to swaddling.

Do You Have to Swaddle a Newborn?

Do You Have to Swaddle a Newborn?

It’s not mandatory.

Swaddling is an excellent way to keep babies warm if they exhibit signs of being cold at night, but it’s not a requirement.

While many babies find swaddling comforting, it’s not the only option. It’s all about understanding your baby’s unique preferences and responding to their needs!

If swaddling isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry! Try using a sleep sack or dressing them in a snug-fitting onesie that provides comfort without restricting movement.

Gentle rocking, soothing sounds, or cuddling them close can also work wonders in calming your baby.

You have the freedom to choose WHAT WORKS BEST. Trust your instincts and find what brings comfort and happiness to you and your precious bundle of joy.

But if swaddling is something you’d like to explore further, keep reading! We have a lot to discuss:

Understanding Swaddling in Child Care

Swaddling is a common practice in childcare where babies are wrapped snugly in a blanket or special swaddle.

Its purpose is to recreate the comforting sensation of being in the womb, providing babies with a sense of security and promoting better sleep patterns.

Some people have concerns about swaddling, thinking it might restrict a baby’s movement or hinder their development.

Rest assured that, WHEN DONE RIGHT, swaddling allows healthy movement and doesn’t interfere with a baby’s growth.

That said, I must emphasize the importance of following proper techniques and monitoring the baby’s cues and comfort levels during swaddling!

If you choose to do it, you should know what your baby should wear when swaddled or the proper swaddles for summertime to maximize comfort.

When to Swaddle a Newborn

Swaddling is usually recommended for newborns, especially during their first few months. It’s mostly done when babies have the startle reflex when their arms and legs suddenly jerk.

These sudden movements can wake them up, and swaddling helps lessen this reflex, allowing babies to sleep more peacefully.

If a newborn seems restless or has trouble settling down, swaddling can provide a comforting environment that reminds them of being in the womb.

Some great moments for swaddling include nighttime sleep, naps, and whenever they need soothing.

KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR BABY’S BEHAVIOR to see if they benefit from swaddling. If they appear more relaxed and content when swaddled, it’s a good sign that they find it helpful.

However, not all babies enjoy being swaddled, and that’s okay! Some babies prefer their limbs to be free, allowing them to move and explore.

Still, if your newborn wants to have their hands out of the swaddle, there are techniques for swaddling with a baby‘s arms out!

Importance of Swaddling a Newborn

Swaddling can play a vital role in creating a cozy environment for your baby, and there are plenty of reasons to swaddle your little one! One is that wrapping them snugly in a soft blanket provides a sense of security.

It mimics the ease and safety they had in the womb, which can significantly help your baby feel at ease in the still-unfamiliar outside world.

Not to mention that swaddling helps regulate your baby’s body temperature.

Newborns have a harder time controlling their internal temperature. Swaddling can provide extra warmth when needed or prevent overheating in warmer environments.

Another significant advantage of swaddling is its ability to reduce startle reflexes and help them feel more settled and calm to promote better sleep patterns.

As I’ve mentioned, the sudden jerking movements can startle them and disrupt their sleep. Swaddling helps minimize these, letting your baby sleep for longer stretches.

Plus, a secure and comfortable environment can lead to improved sleep quality. As a result, both you and your baby can ENJOY MORE RESTFUL NIGHTS!

In addition, swaddling supports breastfeeding and bonding. It allows easier and longer skin-to-skin moments for easier breastfeeding and enhances the bonding experience between a mother and child.

Risks of Swaddling a Newborn

Risks of Swaddling a Newborn

While it can provide several benefits, it’s important to be aware of swaddling’s drawbacks to ensure your baby’s safety.

You can take the necessary precautions to protect your little one by understanding and addressing these risks. Here are some hazards to be wary of:

  • Suffocation
    • Some caregivers may scoff at how obvious this one is, but trust me; you can never be too sure.
    • Wrapping the blanket too tightly, especially around the neck area, or covering the baby’s face can obstruct their breathing and lead to suffocation.
    • It’s CRUCIAL to ensure that the swaddle is snug but not overly tight and that the baby’s face remains uncovered to allow proper airflow.
  • Overheating
    • Using heavy or non-breathable materials can cause your baby to become too warm and increase the risk of heat-related issues.
    • Opting for lightweight and breathable fabrics (like muslin) is vital to regulate your baby’s body temperature and prevent overheating.
  • Potential Impediment to Hip Development
    • Incorrect swaddling practices can potentially impact a baby’s hip joints.
    • Allow enough room for your baby’s legs to move, and ensure the swaddle supports healthy hip positioning.
    • Avoid wrapping the legs too tightly or straightening them out, as this can interfere with normal hip development.
    • If your baby has any preexisting hip issues or is at risk for hip dysplasia, consult your healthcare provider for professional guidance on safe swaddling practices.

These risks CAN BE AVOIDED by choosing the right product and practicing the correct swaddling techniques.

If you choose not to swaddle or find that it’s not the right fit for your baby, you can try other soothing strategies! Go with what works best for your baby’s comfort and well-being.

When to Stop Swaddling Your Baby

Knowing when it’s time to stop swaddling to support their continued growth and development is essential as your little one grows.

One important milestone to note is when they start rolling over on their own. Rolling over while swaddled can be risky and limit their movement.

So, when you notice your baby rolling over INDEPENDENTLY, it’s usually a sign that it’s time to transition away from swaddling.

Pay attention to your baby’s cues too. If they start trying to break free or show a preference for having their arms free, it could mean they’re ready to move on.

As they get bigger and more active, they might find the swaddle too confining and want more freedom to wiggle around. 

By paying attention to these, you can determine the right time to transition out of swaddling. MAKE THE TRANSITION GRADUAL. Introduce new sleep routines and help them learn self-soothing techniques.

Every baby is unique! If your newborn seems uncomfortable or fussy when swaddled, it might be a sign that swaddling isn’t the best option for them.

Swaddling a Newborn to Sleep

Swaddling a Newborn to Sleep

The primary purpose of swaddling is to provide a sense of security and promote better sleep for newborns. Follow safe swaddling techniques to ensure their well-being!

How Long Can You Swaddle a Newborn at Night

There is no specific recommended amount of time for a newborn to be swaddled. The duration of swaddling can vary based on individual needs and preferences.

Some newborns may enjoy being swaddled for extended periods, including during sleep, while others may prefer shorter durations.

To determine how long to keep your baby in the swaddle, pay attention to how your baby behaves and adjust the swaddling practice accordingly.

Swaddling a newborn for the entire night is generally safe IF DONE CORRECTLY.

However, there are factors to consider, such as the room’s temperature or your baby’s overheating tendencies, certain health concerns, and their general preference to move freely.

How to Swaddle a Newborn Properly

How to Swaddle a Newborn Properly

Here’s a GENERAL GUIDE on newborn swaddling. Take notes, practice, and remember to be guided by your baby’s cues as well!

  1. Choose comfy materials. Use a lightweight, breathable swaddle blanket made of soft fabric like cotton or muslin.
  2. Lay the swaddle right. Place the swaddle blanket in a diamond shape on a flat surface. Position your baby in the center with their head above the edge.
  3. Keep those arms cozy. Fold one corner of the swaddle blanket over your baby’s arm, tucking it gently under their body. Do the same with the other corner.
  4. Wrap it up. Take the bottom corner of the swaddle blanket and fold it over your baby’s feet. Tuck it underneath their body to create a snug wrap.
  5. Allow hip movement. Make sure there’s enough space for your baby’s hips and legs to move freely. Let their legs bend up and out at the hips.
  6. Keep an eye on the temperature. Make sure your baby doesn’t get too hot. Feel their neck or use a thermometer to ensure they’re comfortable.
  7. Safe sleep is key. Always place your swaddled baby ON THEIR BACK to sleep. Avoid loose bedding or anything that could cover their face.


Find expert advice and insights on common swaddling concerns:

Can I Swaddle My Newborn Overnight?

Absolutely! Swaddling your newborn overnight can create a cozy and secure environment that promotes better sleep WHEN DONE CORRECTLY AND SAFELY.

Still, while swaddling overnight is generally safe, some factors may affect your baby’s comfort! Specifics and more helpful information about this can be found above.

Is It Okay Not to Swaddle My Baby?

It is perfectly okay not to swaddle your baby. While swaddling can have its benefits, it is not necessary for all babies.

Listen to your baby’s cues and respect their individual preferences.

Are There Alternatives to Swaddling?

Swaddling is just one of many techniques to soothe and comfort newborns. If it isn’t working out for you, there are alternative methods you can explore.

Some examples include using a sleep sack, a pacifier, gentle rocking, or even playing white noise or soft music!

What Are the Signs My Baby Doesn’t Want to be Swaddled?

Here are some signs that indicate your baby may prefer to skip the swaddle:

  • Increased restlessness or fussiness shortly after swaddling. If your baby seems agitated or uncomfortable, they may be too tightly wrapped and won’t be put at ease by swaddling.
  • Resistance during the swaddling process. If your baby stiffens their arms, arches their back, or kicks their legs intensely, they may be trying to break free from the swaddle.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns. Though swaddling is intended to promote better sleep, some babies may struggle to settle down or experience more frequent waking when swaddled.
  • Baby consistently prefers having their arms free. If they squirm or fuss until their arms are released from the swaddle, it suggests they want more freedom of movement.

Should I Swaddle My Baby on Daytime Naps?

Swaddling can be beneficial for daytime naps, just like it is for nighttime sleep!

The same guidelines and safe swaddling practices we discussed earlier also apply to daytime swaddling.

Can I Use a Blanket to Swaddle My Baby?

Using a blanket for swaddling is a pretty common practice! Just make sure to follow a few safety guidelines.

Choose a soft, breathable blanket and ensure it’s large enough to wrap your baby securely. Remember to keep the blanket secure but not too tight!


As we wrap up our exploration on swaddling, it’s clear that there is no one-size-fits-all answer, as every baby is unique.

Swaddling can offer plenty of benefits, though it’s equally important to be aware of potential risks and to FOLLOW SAFE SWADDLING PRACTICES.

Whether you embrace this soothing technique or opt for an alternative, the key is to create an environment that nurtures their development, comfort, and happiness!

Sky Bustillo
Sky Bustillo

Hi, I’m Sky!
As a Filipina in her mid-20s, a sister to young ones, and a tita to my nieces and nephews, I somehow share the same sentiment as other parents. I have a growing aspiration of becoming a mom someday!
But there also comes a worry that you won’t be able to give the best to your children, especially with the food they eat, the products they use, and the new habits and hobbies we introduce to them.
Your kid’s safety and welfare are your top priority, that’s why I always make it to a point to learn from the stories and experiences of other moms.
It’s a delight to share what I learned and know to help the moms close to my heart, and this time, I’m writing to relay advice to you from the insights of other moms and my experience around kids, too.
I’d love to be a part of your journey, and I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful for you and your young one!