Swaddling is one of the secrets to a calm and happy baby. This ancient technique of wrapping newborns in cloth doesn’t just wrap them into a cute baby burrito; it also serves a very important purpose of calming your child and helping them sleep more soundly. It works by recreating the tight and cosy feeling of the womb that babies are very familiar with. Swaddling also combats the involuntary movements and startle reflex they are born with, which disappears by two months of age. These two things combined can wake a baby in their slumber, and swaddling decreases the likelihood that their reflex responses and movements will wake them.
With that said, swaddling also has its disadvantages if done unsafely, including:
- Keeping them too warm when swaddled
- High risk of hip dysplasia when swaddled too tightly
- Starting swaddling too late; it’s recommended to begin from birth
Avoid these risks by learning the correct way to swaddle your sweet pea. Here’s how to do it step-by-step:
1. Spread out a cloth or blanket in the shape of a diamond, with the top corner folded to around six inches.
2. Place your child face up on the blanket with their head sitting above the folded age while their body extends straight down towards the bottom
3. Straighten their left arm and wrap the left corner over their body, tucking it between their right arm and the right side of the body.
4. Gently hold down their right arm and fold the right corner across the body and under their left side. Ensure your baby’s head and neck are not covered once done.
5. Loosely fold the bottom of the blanket and tuck it under one side.
Note: Make sure not to wrap too tightly around the baby’s chest by checking if you can get two or three fingers between it and the swaddle. The same applies to their hips and legs, so they can easily bend up and down. If they prefer having their arms free, you can opt to leave one or both arms out of the swaddle.
Swaddling Safety Tips and Tricks
1. Put your baby to sleep on their back
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises placing babies on their backs when put to sleep, especially if they are swaddled. A side sleeping position makes them prone to rolling onto their belly and prevents them from raising their heads to breathe since their arms are constrained.
2. Use swaddling in your naptime and bedtime routine
Your little one will learn that swaddling is a predictable sign that it’s time for bed, so try incorporating it into your sleep routine for sound daytime naps and nighttime slumbers.
3. Consider using a video monitor to keep an eye on your swaddled child
When putting a swaddled baby to sleep, you don’t need to hover over them the entire time. Keeping an eye on them can be more convenient by using technological aids like a video monitor. Just remember that it’s never safe to swaddle your child if you share a sleeping surface with them.
4. Don’t swaddle during your baby’s waking hours and when nursing
Keeping your baby swaddled at all times may impede their mobility and motor development and prevent them from exploring with their hands while awake. Similarly, keep them unswaddled when breastfeeding, as research shows that babies use their arms and hands to locate the nipple area, latch on properly, and promote milk letdown. You can also notice their hunger cues more easily, such as putting their hands to their mouth.
5. Wean off from swaddling once your baby begins to roll over
When your baby reaches three months old and starts rolling over, the time for swaddling with their arms down is over. So, if you see them rolling during the day, start weaning them off the swaddle at night. Some may grow fond of being swaddled, and its sudden absence may shock them.
Therefore, wean them off it slowly by gradually letting them sleep with one arm free, then two, and eventually until they get comfortable with just their midsection being snug and comfy.
Swaddling is among the best ways to soothe your baby and put them to sleep. At Tüdl Care, you can find a range of cute and comfortable swaddles and blankets for your babies – made with high-quality materials that will not irritate sensitive skin.
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