Swaddling Your Baby: A Complete Guide
There is nothing in the world which can exactly replace a mother’s warmth. Swaddling your baby too cannot exactly replace your warmth but is very close to it. If your baby is restless and doesn’t sleep properly, swaddling is a way that will make him sleep securely and peacefully. Infants sleep better if they are swaddled as swaddling reminds them of their mother’s warmth.
Swaddling your baby: What is it?
Swaddling a baby is a very popular tradition around the world, it can help calm a crying baby and prepare him for sleep. Swaddling is snugly wrapping up your baby in, either a square blanket or a specially designed swaddle blanket for your baby’s comfort and safety, leaving no room for your baby to move (headroom is present). Swaddling helps him to feel safe, comfortable and especially secure, exactly the way he experienced these feelings inside your womb. Swaddling is meant only for the first few months of your baby’s life.
Why swaddle your baby?
• It keeps your baby comfortable and calm. It gives him an atmosphere and comfort, he experienced in your womb.
• Swaddling maintains the right temperature for your baby to sleep properly. It helps your child with the transition to life outside your womb.
• Swaddling your baby helps in preventing startling reflexes, which are the main cause of sudden waking up of your child from sleep. Keeping your baby’s arms bound in a swaddle can prevent him from waking up suddenly even if he gets startled.
• It keeps your baby’s arms bound thus prevents him from scratching his face.
When to swaddle your baby?
Swaddling your baby is meant for the very first few months of your baby the first 2 to 3 months. However, you can continue swaddling up to 9 months of age if your child feels uncomfortable sleeping without it.
During the first few couple of weeks, you can swaddle your baby when he is awake and asleep, both but not all the times. At around 6 weeks, you should stop swaddling your baby while he is awake giving him time to start practising mobility and strength.
When your baby starts heading up or has good tummy time, it is an indicator that you should stop swaddling. You will find that as your baby grows in his ability to move, he would not like to get swaddled. However, some babies prefer swaddling until the age of 1 as well. But you should start settling your child without swaddling as he starts rolling over.
Ways to swaddle your baby
Learning ways to swaddle your baby is not a difficult task. It is just an art which you can master upon in few trials only. You just need to ensure that your baby is comfortable while you’re swaddling him. There are different ways to swaddle your baby to make him calm and comfortable while he falls asleep.
The Diamond Swaddle
1. Lay a nice square shaped blanket down on a flat place for your baby in a diamond position from the top corner of the blanket. The fold at the top is for the headroom for your baby’s head.
2. Lay your baby down on his back in the centre of the blanket. Make sure his neck and head are above the folded corner.
3. Hold your baby’s hands along his sides or fold over his tummy to replicate a womb’s position. Pull the left side over and snugly tuck under your baby.
4. Pull the bottom corner up and fold towards the upward direction near your baby’s neck and then wrap the last corner all the way around your baby and tuck the left-over into a pocket you created at the front.
The square swaddle
1. Lay a blanket in a square position and fold from top, exactly the same way you do in a diamond position.
2. Lay your baby down on his back diagonally across the blanket with his neck at the top of the fold.
3. Pull the right side over and snugly tuck under your baby and then the left side over and tuck it under your baby.
4. Tuck the bottom of the blanket behind your baby and your baby is snuggly swaddled.
Sleep sack swaddle
1. Purchase a sleep sack for your baby. Put him in sleep the sack like you put him in a onesie.
2. Zip the sleep sack.
3. Wrap your baby and adjust the velcro.
Things to remember when you swaddle your baby
Though there are many ways to swaddle your baby, in each way you need to make sure that your baby is comfortable.
• Do not tightly swaddle your baby. A tightly packed swaddle makes your baby suffocated and uncomfortable.
• Do check for air circulation in a swaddle.
• Always give support at the neck for your baby while swaddling.
• Give enough leg space in swaddle so that your baby can move his legs easily.
• Avoid swaddling when your baby is not sleeping and trying to play or move.
• Always swaddle your baby correctly to prevent SIDS.
• Make sure you choose the right blanket or sleep sack for your baby. The material should make your baby comfy and not irritable.
Your baby requires at least 15-16 hours of sleep throughout the day and night. Swaddle him to make him sleep peacefully and comfortably but do not force your child to be swaddled. Leave it if he doesn’t like the idea of being swaddled. Co-sleeping is perfect to avoid swaddling.