Best Swaddling Technique For Your Baby
Swaddling is a great thing to do as it replicates a strong sense of security that was felt in the womb. This swaddling technique helps your little one not only to sleep but also helps calm down. Swaddling is an ancient method for wrapping newborns in a thin blanket or cloth.
Knowing how to swaddle your baby is an important skill, especially in the newborn phase, as your sweet pea will stay calm and sleep more soundly. Swaddling up your pea will also help them feel safe and secure as they adjust to life outside the womb.
Swaddling up your lovebug will also help deter the jolting startle reflex, which may cause them to wake up. It will also help prevent your tot from whacking themselves in the face and getting more upset.
I agree with you that it looks simple to the eyes but tricky on the hands. But with more practice and patience, you'll get the hang of it and wrap your little burrito like a pro! And you still wonder why nurses deliver your newborns from the nursery as a neat little package with only their fuzzy little heads poking out?
Well, tag along as this article aims to inform you of everything you need to know about swaddling, as well as the best swaddling techniques for your newborn.
What Exactly Is Swaddling?
Swaddling is an ancient practice of wrapping infants gently in light, breathable receiving blankets, cotton muslin wraps, or specialized "winged" baby swaddles so that the movement of the limbs is restricted. The act of swaddling reminds your little one of the womb embrace, and it's very similar to being cuddled skin-skin, leaving them feeling snug and secure.
Swaddling will help calm your fussy baby as she will feel like you are giving her a cozy hug. And who doesn't love being hugged! It is advisable to start with a cozy hug before bringing in the organic cotton thin blanket. They should only have their body wrapped and not their neck or head.
What Are The Benefits Of Swaddling My Baby
While swaddling your baby might seem like a lot of work, it will help protect your newborn against their natural Moro reflex, which means better sleep for both of you! And there are many benefits to swaddling your baby, which include:
- Swaddling your young one will help calm your colicky baby.
- Swaddling your little one helps keep their hands bound to their face, thus preventing them from scratching their face and upsetting them.
- Swaddling your baby will help them sleep on their back while they sleep, which is excellent as it reduces SIDS risk.
- Swaddling your baby will help eliminate anxiety in your baby by imitating your touch. Which will help teach your young one to learn how to self-soothe.
- Swaddling your baby helps them settle more efficiently, thus sleeping longer and better.
Is Swaddling Safe?
This is a question that we always want an answer to. The answer is yes and no! Before you dismiss me, hear me out.
Yes, swaddling is safe for the baby as long as you practice it correctly and practice with the other safe sleep guidelines and hip-friendly swaddling guidance. Swaddling your baby will help improve their sleep quality and give you the peace of mind that you need. BUT you should stop swaddling your little one once they show the first signs of rolling over.
Alternatively, swaddling can also become hazardous if not well executed. Some of the hazards to look out for are:
- Swaddling may cause the risk of overheating your little one if done too tightly, in too many blankets, or in covers that are too heavy or thick.
But you can avoid this hazard by ensuring you use thin breathable swaddle blankets and ensuring you swaddle your little one gently.
- Breastfeeding your little ones while they are swaddled might also be hazardous as feeding causes them to get hot quickly, and they might overheat.
Therefore breastfeed your little one before swaddling them.
- Swaddling your little one for long periods might also suppress your baby's voice, delaying response to the baby. This may result in your tot feeding less frequently, suckling less effectively, and their inhibited arm movement affects your child's arousal movement.
It is ideal to leave your tiny one open to play and swaddle them when they need to take a rest and snooze away.
- Tightly swaddling your baby could also include the chance of developing hip dysplasia, a developmental problem with a baby's hip joint.
You can counter this hazard by ensuring you do not tightly swaddle your baby or opt for hip-healthy swaddling techniques.
The Top Three Techniques For Swaddling A Baby
While swaddling is great, not all babies will enjoy being bundled up. Some might find it too hot and confining, while others find it delightfully reassuring. These three swaddling techniques will help you gauge your little one's reaction.
You do not need to figure out the best way to swaddle independently. We have provided a step-by-step guide to making sure you do it right.
The 'Simple Swaddle'
The simple swaddle technique is for babies who have started to develop their motor skills as it is designed to keep their hands neatly packed away. You will want to tuck in their little flailing limbs as they sleep, as they can easily wake themselves up with the movements. This swaddle is sure to keep your pea secure and sleeping, and it is also quick and easy to do.
How To Create The 'Simple Swaddle'
Step one: Lay a thin, lightweight square blanket or a large square muslin down on a flat surface to look like a diamond. Fold one corner approximately a hand length downwards.
Step two: Place your tot with their face up on the lightweight square blanket with their neck along the top edge, i.e., the top of the fold is just above the neckline. Place your tots left arm on their side, taking the left side of the blanket across their body and tucking underneath.
Step three: Repeat the above process(step two) with the right-hand side of your baby.
Step four: Finally, fold the bottom of your lightweight breathable blanket upwards and either tuck in the to[p or tuck each side underneath your little one.
The 'Hands Up Swaddle'
This swaddling technique is excellent for your newborn who is not yet ready to be stretched out. This swaddle keeps your week-old tot in a natural position mimicking their position in the womb. The 'hand up swaddle’ is a perfect technique as your baby's hands are near their face and legs in the frog position.
How To Create The 'Hands Up Swaddle'
Step one: Place your muslin or blanket on a flat surface. It should be big enough to cover the whole of your baby.
Step two: Take one corner and fold it down approximately equivalent to the length of your baby's whole body from the neck to their behinds. With this fold, you will end up with a triangular shape.
Step three: Tuck your baby's left hand underneath the fold, then wrap that side across their body and tuck underneath them.
Step four: Fold up the bottom of the muslin or blanket and tuck just the tip of the corner into the top of the swaddle. Ensure that there is enough room at the bottom for their legs to move about as they take up their frog position.
Step five: Ensure that your tot's hands are next to their face tuck the baby's right hand underneath the fold. Fold the right-hand side across the baby's body. There should be a "V" shape underneath the chin.
Step six: Finally, wrap the right side underneath, tucking the end of the corner into the front of the swaddle.
The 'Burrito Wrap'
How cute is your baby in a 'burrito wrap'? This wrap is one of the easiest types of swaddling to master and works perfectly on a larger square or rectangular blanket.
How To Create The 'Burritto Wrap'
Step one: Place your blanket on a flat surface and ensure that it is large enough to cover your baby's whole body. We suggest a size of 42 inches X 42 inches.
Step two: Fold up one corner down about 4 inches. This will give you a rough diamond shape.
Step three: Place your baby on their back with the top line of the diamond just above their neck.
Step four: Tuck your baby's hands underneath the fold of the blanket swaddle so that they are placed by their shoulders or face. If you are swaddling up an older toddler, you can opt to leave out their arms and tuck the swaddle underneath their armpits.
Step five: take the right side of the blanket and tuck underneath their left side.
Step six: Fold the bottom tail of the blanket upwards towards the baby's head and securely tuck into the top right side of the fold.
Step seven: Finally, take the left side and wrap it across their body, and tuck underneath them on the right-hand side.
One tip as you swaddle your young one is not to let the blanket touch your baby's cheek. They may think it's a breast and set off a rooting reflex, making them cry in the confusion of not being fed.
What If My Baby Does Not Like Being Swaddled?
What do you do if your little one doesn't like being swaddled? Yes, not all babies will want to feel restricted and try to free themselves from the swaddle. You can opt to do without the swaddle altogether.
But before you give up, you can try different techniques to rule out chances that they might not like how you are doing it. Nothing personal! If your baby prefers having her arms out, grant her that. If it is her feet she wants to kick, why not try a velcro tab swaddle?
If your baby is still fussy even after properly being swaddled, you can continue with the 5S's: Swaddle, Side/Stomach, Shush, Swing, Suck. If you have tried different swaddles and techniques, but your little one is still not impressed, it might be a sign that you will have to move on without the swaddle.
When To Stop Swaddling a Baby
You should hold off swaddling your little ones when they start to roll over. That is between two to four months; during this time, your baby might be able to roll onto their stomach but not be able to roll back over. Other signs that will show you its time to put away the swaddle are:
- Your baby consistently breaking the swaddle
- Your baby has no more Moro reflex
- Your baby has become fussier than usual at night
- When you want to sleep, train your young ones into soothing themselves.
Swaddling your newborn promotes warmth, comfort, and better sleep. With the proper techniques, your little burrito will be able to mimic the womb position. Learning how to swaddle your newborn is a skill that needs practice and all the patience you can summon. And while it has its benefits, you should ensure you do it right to avoid any hazards.