Swaddling a newborn or a young baby is a great way to help them to feel safe so that they can relax and sleep well. After nine months in the womb, many babies are startled awake when their arms and legs are left to move freely. It is a movement that their bodies are not yet used to. So, it can startle them and jolt them awake.
When you swaddle them, you stop their arms and legs from moving freely and break this negative cycle. As they move around while awake their bodies get used to these movements. Once that happens, they will no longer suffer from the “startle reflex” in the same way. So, fairly quickly, swaddling your baby is no longer necessary or advisable.
Swaddling is a skill that is worth both mum and dad learning about before their baby is born. After all, when your newborn sleeps soundly, so do you.
Get a Professional to Show You How it is Done
If you can get a professional to show you how to swaddle a baby, do so. It is by far the safest way to learn how to do it and make sure that you do not put your baby at risk.
You have to be careful not to swaddle your baby too tightly. If you do, you will end up restricting their breathing.
Recently, the possibility of a connection between very tight swaddling and developmental hip dysplasia has also been raised. That is another reason, learning how to swaddle properly is important.
Swaddling is not taught in all parenting classes. But, usually, if you ask about it you will be shown how to do it.
Make Sure Your Baby is Not too Hot
When you swaddle a baby, you need to be careful that they do not get too hot. Bear this in mind when dressing your baby for sleep. Usually, you will not need to use any other bedding for a child that has been swaddled.
How to Buy the Right Type of Swaddle
The most important step is choosing the right type of swaddle. It needs to be soft, flexible, and not too heavy.
You need one that is the right size too. If you have a very small baby you will want to buy a smaller swaddle.
It is also important to select one that can easily be laundered and dried. Look for one that allows your baby’s skin to breathe and wicks moisture away from their body.
When you shop online, it is relatively easy to find a good-quality swaddle that is flexible enough to hold your child firmly, yet gently.
Getting Your Baby Used to Being Swaddled
When you first swaddle your baby you may find that they fidget. Should this happen, double-check that it is not too tight and that they are not too hot.
If you swaddle a crying baby, the chances are they will cry louder for a little bit, because they are frustrated. Stay with them to make sure they settle.
Knowing When to Stop Swaddling
It is very important to stop swaddling your child the moment they show signs of being able to turn themselves over. If a swaddled baby was to somehow end up on their stomach they could easily suffocate. So, the moment your child shows any signs of being able to roll over you must stop using a swaddle. The age at which this happens varies drastically from child to child.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.