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How To Swaddle a Baby: The Best Way to Swaddle a Newborn Safely

Swaddling is an effective way to help your baby sleep better and reduce wakeups due to startle reflex. 

However, in order to be effective, you need to learn how to swaddle your baby properly with safe swaddling techniques. Your pediatrician may have shown you how to swaddle a baby with a traditional swaddling blanket at a hospital nursery before taking your newborn home.

But, what if we told you that is not the best way to swaddle a newborn? Instead, you should invest in the best weighted swaddle. The Zen Swaddle’s design makes it even easier to get the perfect fit—no complicated folding or tucking required!

We’ll walk you through using a swaddle below and show you what a difference relying on our swaddle can make as you navigate through early parenthood.

How To Swaddle a Baby: Step-by-Step Guide on the Best Way to Swaddle a Newborn Safely

Of all the various swaddling techniques you have at your disposal, none is as quick, easy, or safe as relying on the Zen Swaddle lineup - from our intuitive zipper swaddle to our transitional swaddle or bamboo fabric swaddle. Ready to discover the three simple swaddle steps? Here’s how to swaddle a baby…

Step 1: Position the weighted swaddle blanket on your baby's body

Place the blanket as shown with its wings open wide on a flat surface and place your baby in the center about 1-2 inches below the top edge of the wings. 

If you place your baby too low, it will crease at the top corner causing a slack in the fabric and allowing your baby to wriggle out easily.

Ensure that the weighted parts are placed as shown; the center on the baby’s chest and the side weights flat against the baby’s left side and right side—not under their body or right or left arm and not on the surface on which the baby is laying.

If your baby is less than 1 month or 23” in height: Use the leg pouch for a more snug fit.

If your baby is over 1 month and 23” in height: Place the legs over the pouch.

Step 1

Step 2: Secure the first swaddle wing across baby's chest

Cover your baby’s right shoulder with the wing as shown. Secure the wing over the baby's left arm and as far under the baby’s back and right arm as possible for a secure swaddle.

How to Swaddle - a snug fit

Stretch the wing diagonally downwards to remove any slack. Make sure it covers the shoulder completely up to the neck. 

How to swaddle - shoulder fit

Now tuck the blanket underneath the back. If the wing is not pulled diagonally downwards enough or is not tucked under the back enough, it may create a slack in the fabric at the shoulder, allowing enough room for your baby to pull their left or right arm out.

Step 3: Secure the second swaddle wing

Cover baby’s left shoulder with the wing as shown and secure it under the back of the opposite side, as far as possible, and fasten this wing using the Velcro.

Pull over to velcro

The fabric should be pulled across your baby’s body, forming a straight line under their neck.


A great fit

There should be little or no slack at the shoulders or any fabric covering your baby's face.

When you're done, your little one should be nice and snug inside the swaddle, but your baby's feet and legs should still have the ability to move to prevent hip dysplasia. They should look something like this—almost like a baby burrito!

 Zen Swaddled Baby


Adjusting Your Swaddle Technique as Your Newborn Baby Grows

The Zen Swaddle creates a perfect snug fit, unless your baby is under 7 pounds or over 18 pounds. At both extremes, most babies find it easy to wriggle out. As your newborn grows, the Zen Swaddle’s adjustable form can adapt to the size of your baby.

Swaddling and safe sleep

In the past, there has been some controversy over the safety of swaddling techniques, with some calls to stop swaddling babies altogether. However, recent studies have shown that swaddling (as long as it's done correctly) is completely safe and even encouraged by most pediatricians and newborn sleep experts.

Swaddle wraps remove the need for a loose blanket in your baby's crib and help your newborn spend more time sleeping on their back, face up. As long as your swaddling technique is correct, swaddling is safe for daytime and nighttime sleep.

The Zen Swaddle is designed to be even more effective and safe than regular swaddle blankets. With breathable fabric options and a parent-friendly design that makes it easier to get a safe, snug fit every time, the gently weighted Zen Swaddle blankets keep your newborn comfy, cozy, and safe while snoozing.

The new Zen One™ swaddle is designed to grow with your baby through all the stages of swaddling. Like the Zen Swaddle wearable blankets, it's gently weighted on the chest and sides, but instead of using wings to keep baby snug, there’s a secure inner armband and zipper that can be used for arms down, free, in, or out. The removable mesh sleeves give the swaddle extra breath-ability and make swaddling safe with one or both arms out, as many babies prefer.

Regardless of your choice of swaddle, the Zen Sack™ is a great transition aid. The gently weighted center provides extra comfort for your baby to get used to sleeping un-swaddled.

More Swaddle Directions and Tips for Success

Before we wrap up our guide on how to swaddle a baby, we want to offer a bit more swaddling direction. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts of swaddling a baby:

  • Do get a snug, tight fit. You want your baby’s arms to be held closely to their body, and the swaddle blanket should be tight enough that your little one can’t wriggle their arms out, loosen the fabric, or completely break free. The Zen Swaddle's super strong Velcro makes getting a tight fit easy. 
  • Don’t let any of the swaddle blanket fabric cover your baby’s head, mouth, or face. A loose swaddle or loose bedding creates an unsafe sleep environment and can contribute to the risk of suffocation.
  • Do listen to your baby. Your baby will tell you when they are uncomfortable in some way, whether that means they’re getting too hot or want their arms free. Check their temperature frequently, use breathable materials, and watch out for rapid breathing, heat rash, flushed cheeks, or sweaty, damp hair. Some babies also prefer to have their arms out of the blanket – that doesn’t mean you need to stop swaddling baby altogether. It’s perfectly fine to swaddle with one or both arms out.
  • Don’t constrict your baby’s legs. Although you want their arms to be held close to their body, their legs should have enough room to bend to lower the risk of developing hip problems.
  • Do incorporate swaddling as part of your newborn bedtime routine. With consistent use as part of this routine, swaddling will become one of your baby’s cues that it’s time to sleep. Plus, swaddling will help your baby settle after being overstimulated and calm them before putting them down to sleep.
  • Don’t swaddle your baby once they start showing signs of rolling over. Once older babies start rolling over, their arms need to be able to move, and it's time to stop swaddling babies. Luckily, at this point, you can switch to the Zen Sack, which lets their arms be free. Plus, for tummy sleepers, this sleep sack can be worn backward.

Why is learning how to swaddle a newborn baby important?

Swaddling helps your baby feel as snug, safe, and secure as possible as they make the transition from womb to world—so they can sleep longer and more peacefully. 

Specifically, it protects your baby against their natural Moro reflex, which can produce flailing arms and legs and cause wake-ups. Additionally, swaddling may: 

  • Help a colicky baby calm down. 
  • Reduce the risk of suffocation by placing your baby asleep on their back. 
  • Help keep baby warm and cozy until their internal thermostat kicks in 
  • Remove the need for loose blankets in their crib 
  • Help you give your little one the very best head start on sleep.

There are so many benefits to swaddling your baby - plus the added bonus of your baby looking adorable and bundled up in our pretty prints! 

Still wondering why swaddling a baby is a must? We have a guide on why you should swaddle your newborn, but it really comes down to the ability to ease them into a blissful state of calm and encourage a consistent newborn sleep schedule.

Once your baby starts rolling over, you may continue to swaddle your baby with arms out or make the swaddle transition to the Zen Sack weighted sleep sack

What are the benefits of sleep sacks, though? Simple - you can mitigate the risk of sleep regression by giving your child the closest thing to their favorite swaddle! Whether you’re looking for the best sleep sack for winter or the best transitional sleep sack, you can count on Nested Bean. 

But, let’s turn our focus back to our conversation on how to swaddle a baby. Now that you know the best way to swaddle a newborn, it’s time to invest in the power of our weighted swaddle today!

Now That You Know the Best Way to Swaddle a Newborn, Get Your Weighted Baby Swaddle at Nested Bean!

Nested Bean has an array of swaddles to help you feel confident in how to dress your baby for sleep. We use buttery soft fabrics and a unique design that places a gentle weight on their chest - mimicking your loving embrace. This is a powerful way to combat baby separation anxiety.

This infant sleep aid design is proven to help baby sleep better. But that’s not all, our swaddle is also very easy to use - saving you time and stress as a busy parent. 

Choose from the best transition swaddle to the best swaddle for preemie, the best swaddle for summer, or anything else you need at Nested Bean.

We have other weighted sleepwear too, such as our winter sleep sack, bamboo rayon fabric sleep sack, and the best baby pajamas. So, take a look around and find out for yourself why Nested Bean is your trusted source for the best baby sleepwear today!

Final Thoughts on How to Swaddle a Baby

There you have it - how to swaddle a baby. We hope these swaddle steps leave you feeling confident in the best way to swaddle a newborn as you embark on the path of parenthood. 

These tactics will empower you to keep your child safe and comfortable, setting the stage for deep, restful sleep - not just for your child, but for you as well!

Our blog has many resources on sleep and newborn parenthood in general. Learn about what to wear under sleep sack, how to put a baby to sleep fast, how to get baby to nap longer, when to start sleep training, how to get baby to sleep through the night, when do toddlers stop napping, baby cries meanings, and more.

Otherwise, it’s time to put what you’ve learned in this guide on the best way to swaddle a baby to the test. Start by ordering the best swaddle the world has to offer at Nested Bean and embrace early parenthood with confidence and grace!