What is swaddling?
Swaddling is the ancient practice in which we wrap our baby in a thin blanket or cloth .This helps them to feel safe and secure. Many parents
have found swaddling helpful to keep their babies calm and to reduce excessive crying. Research have found that infants are quieter, sleep more, and have lower and more stable heart rates when swaddled. When done correctly, swaddling is a wonderful and safe way to keep our babies calm and comfortable.
What are the benefits of swaddling?
- Swaddling helps to recreate the feeling of security that a baby had in the womb (uterus).
- A swaddle helps to mimic the soft pressure of a mother’s touch, and helps baby have longer, more restful sleep with fewer disturbances. Also it is found that babies fall asleep quickly and for a longer time when swaddled.
- Swaddling moderates The Moro Reflex : Another benefit of swaddling a baby is that it helps alleviate the effects of the Moro reflex also called startle reflex, is a normal neurological response which causes a newborn to feel as though they are falling. Babies experience this within the first 3 to 4 months of life (which is an indication of a healthy infant) but can disturb your baby’s sleep. Swaddling helps prevent those spontaneous movements, allowing for a peaceful sleep.
- Another important benefit of swaddling is that it can have a wonderfully and therapeutic effect for a baby suffering from colic (difficulty to
digest food which leads to excessive pain, gas and fussiness ). As it applies a light pressure to baby’s belly providing relief for them.
- A swaddled baby can’t scratch their face. This is best for the babies who refuse to wear mittens or cover their hands.
Remember one of the secrets to a happy, calm baby: Swaddling
What are the risks of swaddling ?
Swaddling has tons of benefits but if done in a right way. Improper swaddling can increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS: sudden infant death syndrome, when a baby dies for no clear reason).
So its very important to know the right way to swaddle your baby.
- Use a thin cotton or muslin cloth.
- Swaddling your baby too tightly may affect there mobility and development. Always give them plenty of room to move their legs and feet.
- A swaddled baby should always sleep on their back. Stop swaddling your baby as soon as they shows signs of rolling on side or tummy.
- Its better to swaddle from birth. Don’t introduce swaddling at two to three months as this will lead to discomfort.
- Always follow a pattern/ schedule to swaddle your baby, so that your baby becomes familiar with the feeling of being swaddled.
- Swaddle your baby firmly, but not too tightly. Your baby’s legs and feet should be able to move freely, and bend at the hip.
- Don’t swaddle for too long or the whole night as this may increase their body temperature and increase the chances of SIDS.
What are the steps for a perfect swaddle?
- Start by spreading a thin cotton blanket on flat surface, with one corner folded down.
- Lay your babies face-up on the blanket with head above the folded corner.
- Straighten left arm, and wrap the left corner of the blanket over babies body , then tuck it between right arm and the right side of her body.
- Then tuck the right arm down, and fold the right corner of the blanket over their body and under left side.
- Fold the bottom of the blanket loosely and tuck it at the upper side.
- Make sure that the swaddled cloth is not too tight.
How long should you swaddle your baby?
Keeping your baby swaddled all of the time can restrict their motor development and mobility. This can also limit their opportunity to use and explore their hands. So it is advice to swaddle your baby only for nap/ sleep times.
Do not swaddle your baby while breastfeeding
Babies need their arms and hands free while feeding because research shows that babies actively use their hands to locate the nipple area, which
promote milk letdown and latch properly. Having your baby’s hands free will also allow you to notice their hunger signs.
How to choose a perfect swaddle cloth?
Some people really find this difficult or challenging to find a perfect swaddle blanket for their little ones. This totally depends on personal choice, as some parents prefer a larger, thin, muslin or cotton blanket, while others like a thermal blanket . Some parents prefer pouches, pockets or zippers, to swaddle in which you actually don’t have to learn right wrapping / swaddling techniques.
As long as your baby is swaddled safely and securely, use whichever blanket or product works best for your family.
A premature baby is advised to swaddle as they have less weight and need their body to be kept warm. Also better sleep will help them to develop more and a good swaddle will also make them fell like their mother’s womb.
Also swaddle your baby only for the first 3-4 months of their life or stop immediately when they start rolling.
Happy Swaddling !!