I absolutely love swaddling my babies! Swaddling is awesome because not only does it keep your baby snug and warm, but it helps prevent them from waking themselves with their own startle reflex.
There are a lot of really cute swaddling blankets out there, but unfortunately many of them are just too tiny to actually be useful. The only brand I’ve bought and actually been able to use were Aden and Anais swaddles, they are truly lovely and very large.
Generally I much prefer to make my own, that way i can have complete control over size and fabric choice. It’s easy, cheap, and i think anyone can do it, even with the most basic of sewing skills. I always keep one in my handbag incase i need an emergency breastfeeding cover, or something clean to lay a baby down on. Handmade swaddles also make great gifts! I love giving friends a handmade swaddle as a newborn gift – the perfect combination of useful and thoughtful.
So if you’d like to whip up a swaddle (or like 10 because its just that easy) here is how:
CHOOSING A FABRIC
It’s important to make swaddles out of natural breathable fibres. You don’t want baby to get too hot, and you don’t want to wrap them up in a potential suffocation risk. My personal favourites are cotton or bamboo knit as fabrics with a little bit of stretch make wrapping so much easier, and harder for baby to bust an arm out. I also really like using cotton muslin for woven swaddles.
Tip: I like to try and choose all my fabrics so that they coordinate with each other and also baby’s room and other linens.
Short answer: more than one. Babies are messy, you need extra. I tend to make a minimum of four for each baby. A few knit and a few woven swaddles so that i always have choice, and incase any get messes on them. This also means you never worry about whether you left the swaddle in your bag or the car or oh-my-goodness-at-a-friends-house.
CUT YOUR FABRIC
For a woven swaddle cut a square that is 120cm x 120cm (47inches x 47inches). For a knit swaddle you can get away with something a little smaller due to the stretch, and cut a square that is 1m x 1m (39inches x 39inches).
SEW PRESS REPEAT
Sewing is super easy.
For knit swaddles, turn 1/2 (1.2cm) towards the wrong side along each of the four edges. Press and sew just under 1/2 (1.2cm) from the folded edge using either a zig zag stitch or a twin needle. Since knit fabrics don’t fray you don’t have to worry about finishing those raw edges, but if you’d like to, you can serge/overlock the edges before hemming. If you’ve got a coverstitch machine this is going to be even easier. Don’t forget to press!
For woven swaddles, turn in 1/4″ (0.6cm) and then 1/4″ (0.6cm) again so that you’re enclosing those raw edges and topstitch closed. Don’t forget to press! Another method would be to serge/overlock all the raw edges and then turn in 1/2″ (1.2cm) as with the knit swaddles, and sew. This option is nice if you’re worried about the hems being too bulky (i’m always concerned about baby’s comfort).
That’s it! Pile them in a pretty stack ready to use, or give some to your expecting friends.