The art of swaddling is a centuries-old practice, and it looks like the wisdom of our ancestors is here to stay. Swaddling means wrapping a newborn baby snuggly in a blanket, meant to remind your child of the feeling of being in the womb and give them a feeling of warmth and security.
Swaddling done correctly creates great benefits for you and your child. Here are 6 reasons why you should be swaddling your newborn baby.
1. It will help your baby sleep longer.
The main feature of swaddling involves enveloping a newborn baby snuggly so that it mimics a mother’s touch. This is done best using muslin swaddles that are made of cotton, which is soft, breathable, and gentle enough for an infant’s delicate skin.
Now, the Moro reflex or startle reflex is an indicator of a healthy baby, but it often disrupts their sleep. When a baby is properly swaddled, especially when done in the hands-over-heart position, they learn to soothe themselves and get back to sleep on their own. Swaddling then will help your baby sleep longer and better.
2. It will help reduce the risk of SIDS.
Swaddling is effective in lowering the incidence of SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. One of the factors that increases that risk of SIDS is letting a baby sleep on their stomach or on their side. But swaddling helps your baby maintain a supine sleep position – or sleeping on their back – which is the safest sleeping position at this stage.
Tip: It is important to note that sleeping infants need to be constantly monitored even if they are swaddled. It is also crucial that you stop swaddling once your baby begins to roll over. For babies who are already starting to roll over, the safer alternative to swaddling is using a wearable blanket.
3. It will help regulate your baby’s temperature.
Newborn babies are not able to regulate their own temperature. In fact, it’s only when they are almost 2 years old when they are finally independently able to adjust to variations in temperature. This means that infants are reliant on external factors such as swaddling and using lightweight cotton blankets to keep them at the right temperature – not too cold and not too warm.
Tip: To know whether your newborn baby is at their ideal temperature, simply feel your baby’s skin after swaddling. It should feel normal to the touch and not overheated.
4. It can help prevent colic.
Even though colic is common among infants, it is without a doubt one of the most challenging things that you can experience as a new parent. Your baby likely has a colic if they cry inconsolably for more than 3 hours a day. Apart from this, they are healthy babies; it’s just hard to soothe them and get them to calm down.
But swaddling is observed to have a calming effect on colicky babies. This is most probably because swaddling applies light pressure on their bellies, alleviating what pain and discomfort they might have. It also reminds them of the feeling of being inside the womb, which gives them a feeling of comfort and security.
Dr. Harvey Karp, an American pediatrician, wrote the book, “The Happiest Baby on the Block.” In this book, he praises swaddling and its ability to soothe crying babies, which is due to how it triggers a “relaxation” mechanism in infants. When swaddled, newborn babies remember the snug feeling of being inside the womb, pacifying them and causing them to cry less often.
6. It can help improve your quality of life.
Many parents swaddle because of the benefits it will have on their babies, but not everyone realizes just how valuable swaddling is for parents themselves. If swaddling helps your baby sleep longer and better, then you will sleep longer and better, too! When your child is healthy and happy, you will be healthy and happy, too. There will be less stress in your life – which is great because who needs added stress?
The bottom line of everything mentioned here is that swaddling helps an infant adjust to a whole new world around them. Everything is suddenly different, but swaddling will remind them of the familiar feeling of being safe and secure inside their mother’s womb. Because of swaddling, your baby will feel loved, nurtured, and cherished – nothing short of a good start in life.
*This blog post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, pediatrician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have.