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How to Swaddle a Baby (Hands Up Technique)

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

A Postpartum Doula's step-by-step guide to swaddling a baby in a position allowing them to have their hands and arms up

Why do we swaddle?

It can

  • minimise the impact of "Startle/Moro" reflex

  • mimic the feeling of closeness in the womb

  • build positive sleep associations

  • support self soothing

  • provide consistent temperature

  • help to prevent scratching

When to use a Hand's Up swaddle technique?

  • Baby does not like traditional "arms down" swaddle technique

  • Baby seems to enjoy lying in an arms up position

  • Baby seems to enjoy sucking their hands

  • You stopped using a swaddle but your baby's sleep has become unpredictable

See the video for FULL DEMONSTRATION at 2.00mins

Do not swaddle your baby IF your baby is able to roll. If your baby looks like they may be able to roll soon, ensure you monitor them at all times

Make sure you leave enough place for legs to move around. Swaddling too tightly may cause hip dysplasia and PLEASE REMEMBER SAFE SLEEP PROTOCOLS AT ALL TIMES. The only truly safe sleep space for your baby is their own, dedicated sleep space, that they can not roll out of and with no blankets, pillows, soft toys, bumpers, cloths or loose material. Always remove items such as the above from the sleep space if baby is sleeping unattended at any time.

Please note that IF your baby is sweating profusely or has heat rash or red cheeks or seems to be breathing heavily address room temp, access for other symptoms and speak your health care practitioner if necessary

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