Swaddle mean|Why and How to Swaddle a Baby
Swaddle mean you are somewhat restricting the movements of your baby, which can be a concern in the proper development of the little one’s motor skills.
That is why full-body swaddling is suggested after at least 60 days of birth. Even after that age, while swaddling the baby, the hands should be unwrapped.
Swaddling is snugly wrapping your baby in a blanket to make her feel safe and secure. Parents of colicky babies swear by swaddling.
It also helps some babies to sleep more soundly.
The art of swaddling|Swaddle mean anyway
Follow these simple steps to become a swaddling expert in no time.
Spread a blanket on a flat surface and fold down a corner a few inches.
Place baby diagonally on her back so that her head rests just above the fold. Pull one corner of the blanket across her body to tuck it under her back.
Then hold the other corner and wrap your baby snugly, while tucking it in the rest of the blanket.
Lastly, pull the lower corner up to tuck it under the baby’s chin to complete a secure swaddle.
Special swaddling blankets make this process simpler.
Take care not to leave any folds or lumps on the underside that may cause discomfort to the baby.
If your baby is more comfortable with her hands-free, you can wrap below her arms so that she retains some mobility.
How does swaddling help my baby?
Swaddling is thought to simulate the warmth and coziness of the womb to make your baby feel safe and secure.
It provides the extra warmth that your baby might need until his body temperature control mechanism starts functioning well.
Swaddled babies sleep well and are not awakened by their own startle reflex.
A bundled baby is easier to carry as a compact package even while he is sleeping.
Most importantly swaddling can calm your fussy or colicky baby and can help him fall asleep.
Before you start swaddling…
Take care to not cover your baby’s face, since that would suffocate her.
Be sure the swaddle is snug but not too tight to squeeze her limbs and cut off circulation; leave some room for her to flex his legs.
Avoid swaddling in warm weather, to prevent overheating, a risk factor for SIDS.
Once you perfect the art of swaddling, your baby may soon look forward to being cuddled up in a swaddle.
Once your baby starts getting active, it’s time to prevent swaddling her. You get your cue when she starts kicking the swaddling blanket away.
Some babies might enjoy being wrapped up for a much longer time.
Swaddling is an effective way to give your baby a sense of security whilst they sleep on their back.
With what we currently know of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), it is considered safer to have young babies sleep on their backs rather than on their tummy.
Sleeping on their tummy gives babies a sense of security and safety, but as they are safer sleeping on their back it is important to ensure that babies feel just as snug and secure on their back as they would on their tummy.
Swaddling involves securely wrapping your baby in a cloth wrap before sleep.
There are several misconceptions that surround swaddling, common ones include the views that
- a) Babies don’t like to have their hands wrapped up tightly
- b) They fight and struggle whenever someone attempts to put them in a wrap
- c) They continue to struggle to get free whilst ever they are wrapped up.
These views are misguided as swaddling, provided it is done correctly, actually makes your baby feel both comfortable and secure.
An appropriate swaddling technique places your baby’s hands in a natural position over their chest (you will notice that they do this on their own when they are lying contented and unwrapped on their back).
Swaddling prevents your baby from fidgeting and jerking as they settle and sleep.
Swaddling also ensures that once your baby is asleep, their startle reflex cannot awaken them between sleep cycles.
This allows for a longer, more settled sleep for your baby (and quite possibly you as well).
So how do you swaddle your baby?
The following is a step by step guide you can follow to ensure your baby is properly swaddled:
The Steps To Follow
Step 1: Extent the large, square blanket on a flat surface. Now, fold one of the angles of the swaddling blanket down about the length of your hand.
Next, you should put your baby gently and diagonally in a way that the fold in the corner is above the baby’s shoulder.
Step 2: Now, pull the right corner of the blanket to cover your baby’s body, and tuck the corner under your little one’s left side.
Step 3: It is time to pull the remaining left side across your baby’s body, over the recently tucked one.
At the end of this step, your baby’s body should be wrapped with only the side of the legs open.
Step 4: Now, place your hand on the back of your baby and lift him/her gently.
Now fold the remaining bottom tail of the blanket in between the back and legs of the baby. You are done with a quick wrap!
Swaddling a baby to aid them in achieving a settled state of sleep is appropriate until they are six months old.
The above guide is an appropriate technique for the first three (3) months. After that, you can leave your baby’s arms free, which allows them to suck their fist or fingers to help them self-settle.
Swaddling your baby is simply wrapping your baby snugly in a blanket for warmth and security.
Swaddling your baby can reduce the amount your baby is disrupted due to their own startled reflex and will assist in maintaining warmth for your newborn during their first few days until their temperature is able to calculate itself to the correct temperature.
Swaddling your baby is also important as it can help to calm them.
When you have your newborn, nurses at the hospital will more than likely show you how to swaddle your baby before you leave to go home.
They emphasize the importance of swaddling to help your baby sleep better during naps and especially at night. If your baby is sleeping then you and your family also can sleep.
Another great reason to swaddle your baby is that it has been known to help reduce some of the risks associated with SIDS.
Swaddling prevents babies from rolling on their tummy during sleep, helps with maintaining a healthy temperature and by swaddling your baby the blanket is secure and unable to cover their faces.
During the first month of your newborn’s life when they tend to sleep most of their day and are not very active having your baby swaddled will make them feel snug and secure like in their mother’s womb.
However, after about a month keep swaddling your baby but just at sleep time as they need to be able to move freely and explore their surroundings.
You can swaddle your baby as long as they will tolerate it. This varies among individual babies.
When your baby gives you cues that they no longer want to be swaddled be sure to stop straight away as this will just disrupt both the babies and your sleep.
Some ques may include crying, kicking, or wriggling out of their wrap.
5 Major Benefits of Swaddling Your Baby
Having spent 9 months in their mother’s womb, it’s normal for newborn babies to seem for a womb-like haven to sleep at.
They are longing for that warm, affectionate environment where they feel safe and well-supported.
Now, you’ll actually give your babies this experience by wrapping them employing a cottony soft blanket.
This process is simply referred to as swaddling. Swaddling, which is an ancient practice, has been proven beneficial to newborn babies. Here’s why.
1 Sleeps tight.
It is recommended that babies get enough sleep, which is 8 hours. But of course, the longer the better.
Getting more than 8 hours of sleep every day ensures the maximum physical and mental development of your newborn.
Studies have shown that babies who are swaddled experience long and deep sleep. They don’t have unnecessary wake-up moments because of the startle reflex.
As you know, newborns are very sensitive to noises and are not used to having a big space to move so you see them startled for seemingly no apparent reason.
Swaddling prevents or minimizes startle reflex in babies.
2 Behaves calmly.
Because swaddling gives them that feeling of warmth, safety, and security, the babies are less likely to feel anxious and are therefore calmer or well-behaved.
They feel that peace and comfort that swaddling gives. It is rare for them to cry so parents, nannies or babysitters are less stressed when taking care of them.
They will grow up as peace-loving people and are better at handling complicated situations.
3 Less demanding.
Babies can actually be demanding if you go along with their wishes. For instance, giving them comfort items like pillows and stuffed toys so they stop crying.
This, in turn, makes them demanding persons growing up. While they are still babies, instill contentment in them through swaddling.
With swaddling, your babies will not be looking for those comfort items so they grow up contented and independent.
4 Avoid self-harm.
Newborns like to touch anything around them. They like to practice their different senses such as touching, holding, and even chewing so it is very important that they stay in a safe and secure corner in the house.
Now if you just put them in a cradle, a stroller, or a crib, obviously their two hands are free to do whatever they want including scratching their face and eyes or hitting their nose and mouth, which can make them cry loud or feel irritable.
Swaddling can help you avoid all these untoward movements.
5 Great posture.
Your babies’ sleeping position can actually affect their posture. If they sleep on the side, they can develop hunchback growing up.
This position can constrict their breathing which can be very dangerous. To avoid these scenarios, try swaddling.
This practice can assist your babies to lay on their backs while sleeping so they can breathe properly and grow up with good posture.
You can also put their hands over their heart while they are swaddled so they can learn to calm themselves on their own.
Top 5 Baby Swaddling Mistakes You Want to Avoid
Swaddling has been proven beneficial not just to the newborn babies but also to the parents.
This practice makes babies calmer and well-behaved, requiring less attention; hence, parents or babysitters do not freak out and get stressed.
It makes the whole parenting process smooth, especially to first-timers.
Are you a new mommy eager to swaddle your child but is in need of guidance on how to do swaddling correctly?
Below are a few of the swaddling mistakes some parents commit so you can avoid them.
Do not wrap your babies in a blanket twice.
In other words, just use only one swaddle blanket and not two. Doubling the blanket induces more heat that can be dangerous to your newborn’s body.
Overheating specifically has been associated with the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Look for signs such as excessive sweating or wet hair.
Fortunately, there are swaddle blankets today specifically made to be comfortable and safe.
Do not use loose or too tight swaddle blankets
Otherwise, the blanket can strangle your newborn or can cause hip problems. A loose or tight blanket will also defeat the purpose of swaddling, as it does not take hold of your child securely but comfortably.
So make sure that you find one that fits your baby’s size perfectly. You can do so by getting your baby’s measurement first before buying one.
Do not put your babies’ hands on the sides.
Doing this does not only restrict the newborn’s movement but can also result in painful joints. So that your babies feel well-protected and comfortable, put their hands over their hearts.
This makes them feel in control of the situation; thus, making them calmer and well-behaved.
Do not allow the babies to sleep on their tummy
This position does not only restrict their air intake but also induces overheating. You have to position the babies comfortably, making sure that they get good air circulation.
Sleeping on their tummy can result in a bad posture so make sure that they are lying down on their back. You don’t want your baby to develop a hunchback posture.
Do not swaddle your babies when they start rolling.
Babies naturally reach that stage where they like to roll or crawl. These are big movements already so their hands must be free at all times.
Swaddling may not be good at this stage as the blanket may strangle them since they know how to move big and wide.
They might even know how to remove the swaddle blanket already. Most parents stop swaddling when their child reaches 5 or 6 months to give way to other motor developments.
Do not swaddle them the whole day.
Your babies need to develop other skills too so give them the freedom to roam around their crib or bed any time of the day. Let them feel their surroundings and observe how they can use their body.
The Bottom Line
Swaddling is a wonderful way to calm your baby, it provides them with the same feeling they had when they were in the womb. Once your babies learn to recognize being swaddled, it can lead to less crying and longer nap times.
This practice has been around for centuries, and you will find that you can make it work for you and your baby.