How To: Wrap a baby in swaddling clothes

There is no excuse for crappy nativity scenes. I can't help you with building the manger, though. Ask Mark.

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  1. We found this same video just days before out daughter was born (last June). It gave us hope that the coming months wouldn’t just be 24/7 crying.

    Though, I have to admit that the velcro swaddles make it even easier.

    1. Ah, Dr. Karp’s “Happiest Baby” video has this exact method,  plus the “turn over”.   it works,  hooo baby it works.    and?  My FIVE YEAR OLD still responds to this, but it takes a much bigger blanket!  :)

    2. +1 for “The Happiest Baby on the Block”. The book really worked for us and we give it to any pregnant friends. Plus, swaddling is like the #1 thing that many dads seem to do better than moms — it was a point of pride for me that first year to produce the tightest, coziest baby burrito.

    3. It is calming , as they are used to being tightly packed into a belly. :) 

      My 1 year old still responds to being a burrito when she’s completely exhausted, but fighting sleep. 

    4. Yep, swaddling is effective. We used muslin cloth. I’m going to have to sharpen up again, we’ve got a third one on the way. THIRD. That will be THREE UNDER FIVE. I’m considering taking up competitive drinking.

    1. It’s basically the same, just imagine the Carne Asada wiggling around while you’re trying to do it.

      Anybody see that movie “Babies?” There’s a scene where the newborn from rural China is wrapped up tight at the hospital and stowed between his folks on a motorcycle for the ride home. I envied the nurse’s packaging skills.

  2. 2.5 month old sleeps great like this.  The Carters blankets are too small for anything but a newborn. is the only square sheet we were gifted that’s big enough to fit her, and in the last ‘up’ step I twist it over and it fits snugly over her other shoulder.  She has a pretty hard time kicking out of it.  That,  a top off on milk, a few minutes of walking, and we just started getting 4 hour blocks of sleep. :D

    Miracle blankets keep the arms in pretty snug, but don’t hold her feet down, so they’re not quite as effective if she’s being fussy, but they’re harder for her to break out of. 

  3. When our baby boy was fussy (which really can be  a strain on your life) we started using the Pacco ( , not sure if there is an English web site that sells them as well).  It is a set of pre-shaped cotton cloths that make it easy and safe to swaddle your baby.

    It worked like a charm for our two kids, making them really at rest. And us as well.
    Youtube instruction (also in Dutch):!

  4. I was a MASTER at making baby burritos. (nomnomnomnom) You would think this is counter intuitive, but they really like being snug.

    1. yeah, its a skill one must develop very quickly…

      … and THEN when their tiny legs get stronger, you need to figure out how to keep them from kicking out of it….

      (( pro-tip – leave the bottom flap loose, or just leave it open completely ))

      and we call them baby burritos, too! :)

  5. We had to wrap both of our kids TIGHT. We considering using tape a few times. That little shuddering sigh they would let out after getting them wrapped up and laid down was so satisfying.

    Another killer app for us was the big yoga ball, although I remember one exhausting middle-of-the-night having to bounce through an entire feature length movie to get the kid to sleep. I tried to keep track of how many bounces it took but I lost count after a couple thousand.

    1. Counting on the yoga ball, one of the true signs sleep deprivation is turning your mush to mush. I did keep count through sone marathon sessions. Hit ten-thousand a few times. Counting out loud, every other bounce. I am so glad he sleeps through the night now.

      T-shirt material is what worked for us for swaddling. It’s a little more stretchy, which made it possible to make a nice tight wrap that would hold, at least for a little while.

  6. I don’t understand why the video title is correct and not the boingboing title, unless you can point me to a place where I can specifically purchase clothes for swaddling purposes only, or even a label of clothing called Swaddling. 

    But there is another simple fix….change the boingboing title to “cloths” not “clothes”. There is not such thing as “swaddling clothes”, it’s “swaddling cloths”.  It shows up most as “cloths” in many versions of the bible, and only a couple times as “clothes”…those are wrong.

  7. Swaddling IS effective, and it is 100% safe, time-tested, “natural,” not cruel, etc etc etc. 

    I should state the obvious: You do not wrap the baby tightly enough to impair breathing. Just enough to restrain the arms.Different swaddling techniques all boil down to figuring out how to restrain the arms while the baby is wiggling. Note that if your baby is able to get the arms free before you finish, the baby might not calm down. (If s/he does, no worries. If s/he continues to fuss, re-swaddle.)Note also: If your baby gets free before you finish swaddling, it does NOT mean you suck as a parent. It means you have a SUPAR GENIUS BABBY.Commercial swaddling cloths can be helpful, but you can just use a cut-down piece of bed sheet.Last, if you have any troubles, ask a nurse at the hospital. In fact, if you’re the dad, definitely get a nurse to teach you how to swaddle. Chances are, several nurses will show you different techniques, and argue about them.As mentioned in the video: Swaddling is one part of the technique to calming a baby. You need to review the rest of the technique.

  8. baby burrito!  i used this on my baby to great effect, every baby loves being a burrito.  makes them feel safe and secure.  awwww.  baby burrito.  *snif*

    1. oh and yes, the little bouncing movement and the SHHHH really DOES work.  my daughter also loved the vacuum cleaner.  and once, to the amazement of my mother, calmed right down during a fuss when she turned on the big, loud air pump to blow up an air mattress. 

  9. When the dad demonstrates the “Shhh” part of the method, he holds the sound for quite a long time, which led me to realize that it’s basically white noise. (More likely pink noise, but that’s a nitpick.  With myself, I’m just now realising.) Would a white noise generator or a fan make the baby happy?

    1. We used a radio left untuned to generate white noise for our first, it does seem to help them stay settled. I think it mainly helps block out other noises that might startle them.

    2. Yes.  You can get a multi-sound generator at many big-box and online retailers.  $15-20 well spent. 

      Swaddling didn’t work well for our son and he refused pacifiers.  White noise worked well, but the sound of rain worked better.  He’s 2.5 now and we still leave his ceiling fan on 365 because he just doesn’t sleep well in complete silence (must be genetic, I don’t either).

  10. Both our kids settled and slept better when tightly swaddled too. If a ‘Shhh’ noise doesn’t help settle them, a running tap sometimes does the trick too. 

  11. Swaddling is great!  Our kid was born in a July heat wave, so all the official “swaddling blankets” were really too warm for him.  Thankfully I had an ancient pillow case that I cut open to make a super thin, super soft, sheet for him.  Yes, it looked like he was wrapped in a rag, but hey, he wasn’t crying. 

    Another component of “settling” was putting him outside under a tree (in a basket).  How he loved to stare up at the leaves moving in the wind…  I’ve noticed that lots of babies dig staring up at a tree that is above them.

  12. Not many things give me nostalgia for when my daughter was a newborn, but this video sure did. She’d calm down exactly the way his baby did.

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