Can you bottle feed baby while swaddled?

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If you are a new parent, there is a good chance that you’ve heard of the term “the swaddle.”

This technique can help babies sleep and calm down. It is also believed that it may help improve motor skills, speech development and even cognitive skills.

“Can you bottle feed baby while swaddled?” is one of the most frequently asked questions by new mothers.

The answer is yes, but it’s not recommended.

Babies love to be swaddled because it resembles the cozy feeling of the womb.

It’s tempting to feed her while she’s swaddled since it helps them relax and fall back to sleep.

Even if it may seem to be a good idea to want your baby to sleep again after feeding, most experts suggest that you do not swaddle your baby while feeding newborn baby for various reasons.

  1. Newborn babies indicate hunger by putting their hands to their mouths. Swaddling doesn’t allow babies do that.
  2. According to researches, babies use their hands to find the nipple, facilitate milk letdown, latch properly. Swaddled babies can’t do those.
  3. Also, feeding a swaddled baby can cause the baby to be overheated and overstimulated.
  4. Finally, there’s a good chance that your baby will go off to sleep before feeding completely, if she’s fed while swaddled for the simple reason that she’ll get too comfy. A full feeding is essential for a baby’s development.

So, while feeding (especially at nights), should you remove the baby from the swaddle?

Yes. In order to make dream feeds as easy and comfortable for your baby as possible, you must un-swaddle him or her, just as it would be difficult for you to eat if your hands were tied behind your back while doing so.

It’s also a good idea to un-swaddle your baby so that you can see her hunger cues more clearly when she keeps slamming her hands toward her mouth. 

When newborn babies are hungry, they tend to bring their hands closer to their mouths and close their fists tightly.

Swaddling covers their hands, so, it’s easy to miss those signals.

However, the most important reason not to feed your baby while she is swaddled is that she will become too comfortable and start to fall asleep as soon as the milk reaches her stomach.

This could be due to their sleep routine.

Remember, babies need full feeding for a healthy growth.

During dream feeds, removing the swaddle keeps your baby awake and stimulated.

Swaddling your baby correctly.

Safe swaddling a baby is something parents should learn about when they go to the doctor for a checkup because it keeps them contained in one place.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, safe swaddling can help calm babies and promote better sleep for infants with less effort on the part of parents when done correctly.

This is because swaddling helps your baby feel safe, reduces pain and achy joints, and helps when they are overstimulated.

Still, the best reason for swaddling is that it has been shown to lower the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by 33% compared to back-sleeping babies without being saddled, particularly when following the “Safe to Sleep” instructions that were introduced in 1992.

Instructions for properly swaddling a baby.

  1. Spread the blanket flat and fold one corner down to swaddle.
  2. Lay the baby face-up on the blanket, with her head positioned above the folded corner.
  3. Straighten her left arm and wrap the left corner of the blanket over her body, tucking it between her right arm and body.
  4. Afterwards, tuck her right arm into the blanket, and fold the right corner of the blanket over and under her left side of her body.
  5. Tuck the blanket’s bottom edge under the baby’s other side after it has been folded or twisted loosely.
  6. You should make sure her hips can move and that the blanket is not too tight. “At least two or three fingers should fit between the baby’s chest and the swaddle,” says the expert.

Swaddling – Do’s

  1. The “Safe to Sleep” guidelines should be followed. To minimize the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), all newborns should be placed on their backs while they sleep.
  2. You can’t say enough about how important it is to let your child burp. You should consider burping your baby even if he or she does not burp after every meal, as it will help prevent bowel gas in the future.
  3. Babies should be closely monitored to ensure that they do not roll over at any point. It is recommended that babies be swaddled until they are at least 2-3 months old to prevent them from rolling over accidentally. Keep an eye out for your baby’s cues.
  4. Keep an eye on your baby’s awake time. Let your baby have a stretch of sleep. Babies who are swaddled sleep longer, but decreased arousal can be a problem. Consult a doctor if needed.
  5. Hand-wash before handling your baby. Your baby’s still-developing immune system may be weak. Their changing immune systems make them susceptible to pathogens. Scrub your hands well to prevent infections in your infant.
  6. Feed, break, then swaddle for nap. Follow this order. Babies sleep well when full. Nursing babies to sleep is common. Your life would be easier if your infant fell asleep on their own. Leave a little space between breastfeeding and naps.

Swaddling – Don’ts

  1. Swaddled infants should never be placed on their stomachs.
  2. Your baby should not be swaddled too tightly. When a baby is swaddled too tightly, he or she may develop hip problems. Hip-friendly swaddling makes sure that the baby can move her legs up and out. Hip problems are more likely if her legs are pressed together and down (hip dysplasia). Also, you won’t be able to see the baby’s startle reflex if you do so.
  3. Do not leave loose blankets in the baby’s bed.
  4. To avoid overheating and suffocation, do not swaddle your baby with his or her face covered.


Before or after nighttime feedings, should I swaddle my baby?

Swaddling a baby is best done after he or she has had a feeding. Swaddled babies, particularly breastfed babies have difficulty eating. Put on clean diaper and swaddle them when they are done feeding.

For night feedings, do I have to wake the baby up?

It all depends on your newborn’s sleep routine. Do not disturb the baby’s nighttime sleep. Just keep track of what works best for your baby because you want to give a full feeding in, but whether she wakes up or not is up to her.

When should I start swaddling my newborn?

From day one, infants can be swaddled. Mom and baby should spend skin-to-skin time after birth, and then the nurses or midwife will wrap your infant.

When to Stop Swaddling?

When a baby shows signs of trying to roll over, parents should stop swaddling. It is common for babies to begin working on rolling around two months of age or so.

How long should I swaddle each time?

It’s up to you how long your baby stays swaddled each time, as long as his hips and legs can move and he’s calm and comfortable. Monitor the baby’s hours of sleep. Take off his swaddling during breastfeeding to enjoy some quality skin-to-to-skin time with your baby.


Babies should learn to differentiate between day and night. Feeding and swaddling don’t go together.

At any time during the night, if your baby wakes up crying, remove them from their swaddle and feed/burp them.

When they’re done, take off the baby’s dirty diaper and put on a clean one and swaddle them. The use of a swaddle while feeding your infant, whether breastfed or bottle-fed, is not advised.

Your infant will fall asleep quickly and wake up often. If you’re looking forward to fewer nighttime feedings, you’re in luck.

At 4 months, they will only require one to three night feeds, and by 6 months, if they are eating well during the day, they will only require one or two night feeds.

Sources: and the American Association of Pediatrics

Carrie Walters
Carrie Walters is a young mother of Nina and Tom, who along with her husband Jake is passionate about helping moms and families find modern solutions to common parenting and lifestyle questions. Together with a team of real moms and medical experts, this young couple share sound advice and proven tips to help make your life easier. They manage this blog along with other blogs and Youtube channels on similar topics