Swaddling helps to make your baby feel secure and comfortable, imitating the feeling of being inside the womb. What’s wonderful about swaddling is your baby is likely to sleep longer and be less restless!
In the first few days of life, swaddling can help your baby stay warm until they learn how to regulate their own body temperature. Babies also often wake themselves in the night due to Moro reflex or sudden arm and leg movements that they cannot control, which is reduced by swaddling.
Creating a regular bedtime routine that includes swaddling will also become a sleep cue, helping your baby to naturally fall asleep when swaddled. Keep reading to know how to properly swaddle your newborn baby and how to create a safe sleep zone.
Step-by-Step Guide to Proper Swaddling
Step 1: Lay the wrap flat and fold the top corner into a triangle. Place your baby in the centre with his or her head above the fold of the wrap.
Step 2: Take one corner of the wrap and place it snugly around your baby, tucking the excess in at the back.
Step 3: Fold the bottom of the wrap up and over your baby's feet.
Step 4: Lastly, fold the other side of the wrap around your baby, tucking the excess underneath. Be sure to smooth out lumps in the fabric underneath your baby.
How to Choose a Good Baby Wrap
First and foremost, it is essential to choose a wrap that is especially made for delicate newborn skin. In this case, your best option would be to choose a baby wrap crafted from 100% cotton, which does not irritate sensitive skin. 100% cotton baby wraps are also super soft and smooth. Plus, they are lightweight and breathable, making them perfect for daily use.
Aside from material, it also helps to choose a baby wrap with a generous square size to make it easier to swaddle your baby properly. Finally, don’t forget to choose a baby wrap with double stitched hems or cotton binding, ensuring that there are no raw edges. Such finishes will endure agitation when machine washed.
Reducing the Risk of SIDS
SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome, which is also sometimes referred to as “crib death” is the unexplained death of otherwise healthy babies during sleep. Experts believe this is because newborn babies have not yet developed a mature arousal center in the brain, which means they won’t be able to wake themselves up if they have difficulty breathing.
To reduce the risk of SIDS, it is crucial to create a safe sleep zone that would not place your child in a vulnerable position.
Swaddling ensures that your baby sleeps on their back and removes the need for loose covers, both of which reduce the risk of SIDS. Aside from swaddling, here are other strategies to keep in mind to create a safe sleep environment for your baby.
- Do not smoke around your baby. Do not let anyone smoke in the house and especially inside the baby’s room.
- Make sure your baby always sleeps on their back, never on their stomach or sides.
- Practice the “feet to foot” method, which simply means placing your baby’s feet against the foot of the crib or bassinet. This prevents your baby from wriggling down under the covers.
- Use a firm and clean mattress that fits snugly in the crib.
- Keep pillows, quilts, bumpers, loose blankets, and other loose bedding outside of the crib until your baby turns 1 year old.
For more information about preventing SIDS, visit www.sidsandkids.org.