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Many new moms may find swaddling -- wrapping your baby snugly in a receiving blanket -- a lifesaver in those newborn days. Because this keeps your baby cozy (like he was in the womb), it can help soothe him, stop crying, and promote sound sleep. Some research suggests that swaddling young infants can even reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Swaddling starts with a receiving blanket -- an adult-size blanket is often so big it could swamp your infant. Here's the basic gist of how to do it:
Step 1: Start by spreading the receiving blanket out on a bed, the floor, or a couch. Fold down one corner, and then lay baby on the blanket so that her head and neck are above the fold. She can be dressed in light clothing, or bare except for her diaper.
Step 2: Take one corner of the blanket across baby's body and tuck it under her back. If she's on a raised surface, keep one hand on top of her at all times. Though babies young enough to be swaddled aren't agile enough to roll over, a sudden reflex could cause them to move.
Step 3: Next, take the opposite corner of the blanket and fold it over baby's chest. Tuck some of it behind her back and some of it into the rest of the blanket. Make sure her nose and mouth are not covered.
Step 4: Finally, take the bottom triangle of the blanket and tuck it gently under baby's chin to complete the swaddling. Be certain that baby is not wrapped too tightly. She'll be most comfortable if she feels snug, not squeezed.
Step 5: Baby will feel most snug if her arms are tucked in at her sides. Once she falls asleep, you can lay her on her back in the crib and gently unwrap her.
And remember, not all babies like to be bundled this tightly. For some, it's just too hot and confining. Also, swaddling limits movement, so it's best only for young infants. Once your baby is older than 2 months, he's probably too mobile for swaddling. --Jessica Hartshorn
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.