Any mom will tell you — swaddling is a miracle. The results are incredible and have helped many a new parent get some much-needed sleep, but the actual implementation can be difficult. That’s why I made this DIY swaddle to make it super easy!
Many of the links on my site are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This means if you click on these links and make a purchase, I may get a small commission. There is no extra cost to you. In fact, sometimes you may even get an exclusive discount. I will only ever recommend products that I truly think you will love!
Which way is best?
Everybody has a different method or a different product that they swear by, and I have tried almost all of them.
The storebought swaddles, with all of their straps and pockets and velcro, are often even more complicated than the methods of wrapping baby in a blanket yourself, and they still often don’t work!
With my first, I mastered the technique of tightly wrapping him in a muslin swaddling cloth.
(These muslin blankets are amazing and can be used for so many things, I still use them as burp cloths, nursing covers, and more!) I found that if I did it just right, I could actually tie the ends together so he wouldn’t just wiggle his way out of it after a few minutes.
Even then, it got harder and harder as the weeks went on to actually keep those little arms from hitting and scratching his sweet little face.
With my second, I tried all of the elaborate baby bags and swaddle straps.
Some of them were effective, but so complicated to get set up just right. There was the velcro one with flaps and tabs all over the place. It held pretty strong, assuming you got it put on right to begin with.
Then there was the “straight jacket” as my mom affectionately called it, with the special pockets for each hand and “wings” that wrapped around each arm individually before wrapping the strap all the way around his torso.
The worst part was that I was the only one who knew how to use them, so my husband, my mom, or babysitters couldn’t get him to sleep effectively without me. Others were simple, but didn’t actually work all that well.
I knew there had to be an easier way!
With my third baby, I finally found what truly is the BEST and EASIEST method! I was inspired by some of the swaddling products on the market and an amazing swaddle that I had gotten as a hand-me-down from a cousin. It was basically a pair of zippered jammies, but with no arms.
I loved it so much that I looked it up, wanting to buy more, but I found that they were over $30 each. No thank you! So instead I headed to my local thrift store, bought a few pairs of jammies, and sewed up the arms myself. I will never swaddle my babies any other way!
This DIY swaddle has all of the benefits of a swaddle with none of the common problems.
The point of a swaddle is to keep babies’ hands out of their face. Newborns have a “startle reflex” that causes them to frequently hit or scratch themselves, waking them up. Swaddles tie their arms down so this doesn’t happen. But there are a couple problems with this.
Either the baby’s natural instinct to bring their arms up close to their face causes them to eventually escape the swaddle, or to prevent this happening the swaddle tightly ties their arms straight down around their sides, which isn’t as comfortable for them.
This DIY swaddle allows your baby to keep their hands close to their face, but the zipped up neckline doesn’t give room for their hands to escape.
When we think of swaddles we think about the arms, but there are also considerations for their legs.
The other common concern for swaddles is that babies’ hips need to have enough room. You may notice babies’ legs often lay to the sides as they sleep. If they don’t have room to do this, it can be a problem for their hips as they develop.
This is why you’ll notice that distinctive peanut shape of many storebought swaddles. It keeps the swaddle tight around the middle, which is comforting to your baby, but loose around the legs.
With this DIY swaddle, it’s nice and tight and cozy all around, but since the legs are separate, there’s no worry about the hips being restricted.
Now let’s get started making your own!
- All you need is a pair of 0 — 3 or 3 — 6 month zippered pajamas and the FREE pattern download. I’m a big believer in thrift store clothes, especially for babies that grow out of them so quickly, but you can always buy a set of zippered pajamas to start with.
- Turn the pajamas inside out.
- Cut the pattern out on the solid line and place on top of your pajamas.
- Start by pinning the pattern onto the collar. Be sure to line up the edges of the collar where you will sew it together.
- Continue pinning along both sides of the pattern.
- Sew up the pajamas alongside the outer edge of the pattern.
- After you get to the edge of the pattern, continue diagonally until your new seam lines up with the original seam of the pajamas.
- Cut off the excess, turn your swaddle back right side out, and enjoy a good night’s sleep!
This DIY swaddle is easy to make and even easier to use!
And as a bonus, you can enjoy how hilarious your dear little one looks in this outfit!
The swaddle can be worn in place of pajamas or over another outfit. You can layer something warmer underneath on cold nights, or use a more traditional swaddle blanket on top without fear of them wiggling out of it.
When you’re ready to transition out of the swaddle, there’s an easy solution for that too!
At about three months, when babies are approaching the milestone of rolling over, it is no longer safe to keep their arms restricted, but they also still have that startle reflex. This can be a difficult time for babies and their parents, but it doesn’t have to be with my super simple swaddle transition!