diagram showing how to swaddle newborn

How to Swaddle Your Newborn

Feb 9, 2020

Not only do swaddled babes look amazing for photos, but if your little love is particularly fussy, or having a hard time sleeping, swaddling is a super effective way to calm and settle a feisty baby. It’s no wonder that newborn photographers use it often in their workflow; especially if their baby model wants no parts of their photo session. If you’re needing a few helpful hints to teach you how to swaddle your newborn, keep reading!

newborn being swaddled by photographer at session

So how do you achieve a nice, snug swaddle that soothes a newborn almost instantly? What’s the trick?

Classic Swaddle

If you’re wanting to learn the classic swaddle; it’s super simple – lay out a lightweight receiving blanket in the shape of a diamond and fold the top corner down to make a triangle.  Make sure that the bottom corner of the blanket is pointing at your belly button.

Lay your baby on top of the blanket with their shoulders resting at the fold. Pro tip: Make sure that their neck is NOT touching the blanket. Gently, but firmly, lay their arms down by their sides as you prepare to fold the blanket over their body. Grab the right top corner of the swaddle and pull it snug across baby’s left shoulder, arms, chest and torso.

Tuck the corner behind their right shoulder. The weight of the baby will keep the wrap in place. Grab the bottom corner of the swaddle and bring it up and over baby’s legs and across the first pass of the swaddle.  Tuck the corner under the first pass of the swaddle. Grab the top left corner and pull across baby in the same fashion as the initial wrap.

infographic showing how to swaddle a newborn

Jersey Knit

I personally liked my swaddle material to have a little stretch to it. Jersey knit was a go-to for my daughter when she was a newborn. It’s easy to grab some at your local fabric store and get them cut into 1/2 yard pieces. The important thing to note here is because of the stretch, it can be easy to make these tight. PLEASE BE SURE YOU’RE NOT WRAPPING BABY TOO TIGHT. Be mindful of blood circulation and their airways.

Note: Babies should never be swaddled all day. Monitor baby to make sure they don’t overheat.

Want more detail? Check out this Aden + Anais blog post. They have step-by-step videos that can help you become a master swaddler in no time.

Sweet Souls Portrait Design is a full service photography studio based in Lake Wylie, SC and serving clients throughout Tega Cay, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Clover and the greater Charlotte, NC area.  We specialize in maternity and newborn photography.

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