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A swaddling blanket should be square in shape, lightweight and flexible. It's important that the baby doesn't get too hot, as this can be a raise the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. There needs to be enough fabric to wrap the baby firmly, but don't choose an extra-large blanket. Extra fabric represents another SIDS risk since it can slip up and cover the baby's face.
Kim Acosta of Fit Pregnancy advises a parent to practice swaddling a baby when she is awake and content. It may take a few tries to straighten her arms or even to see if the baby enjoys being wrapped. Trying it out for the first time while trying to put her to sleep will only put undue stress on the parent and baby.
Wrap Arms Tight, Keep Legs Loose
Dr. Harvey Karp, a pediatrician and author of "The Happiest Baby on the Block," recommends that a baby's arms should be straight down and tight in the swaddle. He also says the legs should be wrapped looser to allow the baby some wiggle room. Swaddling the legs loosely will aid in proper hip development. Wrapping the arms tightly will remind the infant of the womb and will help him settle down and feel calm.