It's actually common for new babies to resist swaddling. It can make parents think, My baby hates to be wrapped! But rest assured, parents all around the world have swaddled their sleeping babies—arms down—for thousands of years…because it works! Remember, babies like to feel snug and secure like they did in the womb. That's why we naturally cuddle babies and use our arms to keep them from flailing about. (We literally swaddle them with our arms!)
When your baby is awake, it’s fine to keep the arms out (or swaddled with arms bent up), but during sleep that will lead to more startles and accidental whacks to the face—and more waking. If your little Houdini manages to escape the swaddle don't worry. We have some tips you can try:
Step 1: Lay a folded thin blanket on the open SNOO Sack—across the area where the baby’s upper back will rest—then lay your baby on top of the cloth, Velcro armband, and swaddle.
Step 2: Fold one side of the blanket over your baby's arm and underneath their body. Repeat on the other side. Securing both of your baby’s arms down at their sides.
Step 3: Now, pull the sack's Velcro armbands across the upper belly—keeping your baby's arms straight at the sides. Make sure the band is snug and low covering the wrists.
Step 4: Bring the leg flap up and attach it to the Velcro armband. Zip the swaddle fully closed—top and bottom.
Your baby is now snug as a bug and ready to be placed in SNOO!
So, while your baby may fuss at first…swaddling is super valuable for 99% of babies, and the benefits—less crying and more sleep—are huge! To help swaddling go even better, introduce these tips to your daily routine:
Swaddle before feeding: Sometimes swaddling can wake a baby who has fallen asleep during feeding. So, swaddling before you start a feeding can help prevent this—and it creates a positive association with being swaddled.
Do a calming routine: After you secure your baby in the SNOO Sack, here are a few things to help your baby relax and settle:
- For an hour before bedtime, play a strong white noise in the background (about as loud as a shower)
- Do a feeding
- Rock and cuddle (It’s fine if your baby falls asleep in your arms before being placed in SNOO.)
- Offer a pacifier!
Give a little boost: Once down, immediately boost SNOO to the purple or green level (manually or with the App). This added motion/sound often helps babies settle. Or, go to settings to raise SNOO's normal starting level to purple or green, here's how!
Older babies, usually around 4 to 5 months, have more coordination and can sleep well with one or both hands-free. So, if your newborn has reached that age or is able to roll during tummy time unassisted, test out releasing one arm at a time and see how they fare! If they start sleeping well, this means they were simply ready for a little freedom now that they’re older