According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), swaddling is an effective way to help your baby sleep better and reduce wakeups due to startle reflex. Some studies have even shown that swaddling can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
However, in order to be safe and effective, you need to learn how to swaddle your baby properly. Your pediatrician may have showed you how to swaddle with a traditional swaddling blanket before taking baby home. Luckily, the Zen Swaddle’s design makes it even easier to get the perfect swaddle—no complicated folding or tucking required!
HOW TO SWADDLE A BABY STEP 1: Position the weighted blanket on baby
Place the swaddle as shown, with its wings open wide on a flat surface and place your baby in the center of the swaddle.
What to look for:
Place your baby 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 the baby's arms or body and not on the surface on which the baby is laying.
For babies less than 1 month or 23” in height: Use the leg pouch for a more snug fit.
For babies over 1 month and 23” in height: Place the legs over the pouch.
HOW TO SWADDLE STEP 2: Secure the first swaddle wing
Cover your baby’s right shoulder with the swaddle wing as shown. Secure the wing over the baby's left arm and as far under baby’s back and right arm as possible for a secure swaddle.
What to look for:
Stretch the swaddle wing diagonally downwards to remove any slack. Make sure it covers the shoulder completely up to the neck.
Now tuck it under the back.
If the swaddle wing is not pulled diagonally downwards enough or is not tucked under the back enough, it may create a slack in fabric at the shoulder as shown below, allowing enough room for babies to pull their arms out.
HOW TO SWADDLE STEP 3: Secure and Fasten the Second Swaddle Wing
Cover baby’s left shoulder with the swaddle wing as shown and secure it under the back of the opposite side, as far as possible and fasten this wing using the Velcro.
What to look for:
The fabric should be pulled across your baby’s body, forming a straight line under their neck.
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 their legs should still have the ability to move to prevent hip dysplasia. They should look something like this—almost like a little burrito!
How to adapt the One-Size Zen Swaddle right as your baby grows.
The Zen Swaddle creates a perfect snug fit, unless your baby is under 7 lbs or over 18 lbs. At both extremes babies find it easy to wriggle out of the swaddle. As your baby grows, the Zen Swaddle’s adjustable form can adapt to your baby’s size.
Pay attention to the diagonally downwards position of the swaddle wings to remove any fabric slack. Changing this position according to your baby’s size is key to getting a snug swaddle each time.
Swaddling and safe sleep
In the past, there has been some controversy over the safety of swaddling. However, recent studies have shown that swaddle (as long as it is done correctly) is completely safe and even encouraged by most pediatricians and baby sleep experts.
Swaddle blankets remove the need for loose blankets in the crib and help baby spend more time sleeping on their back, face up, which can help reduce the risk of SIDS even further. As long as your swaddling technique is correct, it is safe to swaddle your baby for all sleep times.
The Zen Swaddle is designed to be even more effective and safe than your average swaddle blanket. With breathable fabric options that prevent baby from overheating and a parent-friendly design that makes it easier to get a safe, snug fit every time, the gently weighted Zen Swaddle keeps your baby 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, it is gently weighted on the chest and sides, but instead of using wings to keep baby snug, there’s a secure inner arm band and zipper that can be used for arms down, free, in, or out. The removable mesh sleeves give the swaddle extra breath-ability and allow for swaddling with one or both arms out.
Regardless of your choice of swaddle, the Zen Sack™ is a great transition aid. The gently weighted center provides extra comfort for babies getting used to sleeping un-swaddled.
Common Do's Dont's Of Swaddling
Some basic Do's and Dont's to keep in mind when using any swaddle also apply when using the Zen Swaddle.
Do get a snug, tight fit. You want your baby’s arms to be held closely to their body, and the swaddle should be tight enough that your little one can’t wriggle their arms out or loosen the fabric. The Zen Swaddles super strong Velcro makes getting a tight fit easy.
Don’t let any fabric (of the swaddle or otherwise) cover your baby’s mouth or face. A loose swaddle or loose bedding creates an unsafe sleep environment and can contribute to SIDS.
Do listen to your baby. Your baby will tell you when they are uncomfortable in some way. Whether that means they’re getting to hot or wants their arms free. To make sure your baby doesn’t overheat, check their temperature frequently and use breathable, light materials for swaddling (like cotton or bamboo). Some babies also prefer to have their arms out – that doesn’t mean you need to give up on swaddling all together. It’s perfectly fine to swaddle with one or both arms out.
Don’t wrap your baby’s legs. Although you want your baby’s arms to be held close to their body, their legs should have enough room to bend and flex. This will prevent the risk of developing hip problems.
Do incorporate swaddling as part of your bedtime or nap time 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 once your baby starts showing signs of rolling over. Once they start rolling over, your baby’s arms need to be able to move. Luckily, at this point you can switch to the Zen Sack, which lets their arms be free. Plus, for tummy sleepers, the Zen Sack can be worn backwards.
With so many benefits of swaddling, plus the added bonus of your baby looking adorable bundled up in our pretty prints, it’s easy to understand why it’s recommended.
Once your baby starts rolling over, you may continue to swaddle with arms out or transition to the Zen Sack.