Properly swaddling your newborn baby is the key, if you are hoping to get any rest. Swaddling to a newborn is the ultimate comfort and soothing tactic and is vital to your sanity. Additionally, swaddling increases your newborn baby’s safety, while he is sleeping. Making the ability to swaddle your infant, and invaluable skill, every new parent, needs to master!
What makes swaddling so important for your newborn baby? First and foremost, swaddling reduces the risk of SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome, swaddling helps prevent an infant from covering his head or rolling over onto his stomach. Meaning, your newborn baby is less likely to accidently suffocate himself. Please note, you should never put your newborn to sleep on his stomach, whether he is swaddle or not, infants are more likely to suffer from SIDS, if they are on their stomachs.
Your newborn’s safety, is of course, your number one concern, but swaddling as other important benefits. Babies are born with just two fears, the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling/ being dropped, all other fears are learned/ develop as they age.
What do these fears have to do with swaddling?
Infants can startle themselves in their sleep, with any sudden moments of their limbs. Babies natural panic if they can’t feel their edges, which means, a newborns need to feel the edges of something, in order to know he is not falling. Swaddling, prevents infants from making sudden moments in the middle of night and scaring himself and if he does move a little, he will feel the edges of his blanket and know he is not falling. The bottom line? Your newborn baby will sleep better, be able to self sooth and cry less throughout the night.
Do’s and don’ts of swaddling
So, now that you know some of the benefits of swaddling your infant, it is time to learn the do’s and don’ts of swaddling and the steps needed to properly swaddle a newborn. The first thing you need too swaddle an infant, is a clean blanket, lay the blanket onto a flat, safe surface, so the blanket looks like a diamond. Then take the top corner of the blanket and fold it down, six inches or so. Next, lay your newborn baby, on top of the blanket, on his back, make sure the top of the blanket is level with his shoulders. Take your infants left arm and bring it down, then pull the corner of blanket, closes to his left arm, up over his chest and then carefully tuck the edge of the blanket under the right side of his back.
Next, bring down your baby’s right arm and pull that corner, over his chest and tuck that side of the blanket, under your baby’s left side. The next step is to take the bottom of the blanket and either fold or twist it and tuck it behind your baby, be sure that both of his legs are bent out and up away from the rest of his body, so that his little hips can move a little and he can spread his legs apart, like normal. Tada! You now have swaddle your newborn, like a pro!
FAQ on how to swaddle
Now, you may have a few questions or concerns about your swaddling job. For example, do you want to wrap the swaddling tightly or more loosely? You never, ever want to put your newborn to sleep, wrapped in loose blankets! Blankets that are too loose can cause a suffocation risk. Making sure your swaddling job is nice and snug, is safer and more comforting for your baby.
Is my newborn baby too hot when he’s swaddled? A premature baby, might need extra help keeping warm and swaddling can aid in helping him stay warm, check with your doctor about your premature babies needs. If you don’t have a premature baby, you may be concerned that your infant is getting to hot. Often times, your baby will cry if he is overheated or uncomfortable, but you can easily check to see if your baby is to hot by feeling his ears and fingers, if they feel overly warm, it’s probably time to unwrap him.
How much time should my baby spend swaddled? Newborns are use to the comfort and tight space of the womb, swaddling reminds them of that comfort, so your baby might be content to spend anywhere between 12 to 20 hours a day swaddled, when you first bring him home. Once he is a month or two old, your baby will want to spend less time swaddled. You’ll be able to tell how long he is happy being swaddled.
Swaddling isn’t something to fear. If you follow the steps and keep an eye on your newborn’s temperature, swaddling can be a huge help for the first several months of your baby’s life. Remember, that a happy baby, is a sleeping baby and a sleeping baby means happy parents!