Swaddling is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your newborn baby. Some of the benefits of swaddling include better sleep, a calmer baby, and a happier and better quality of life in general!
Because swaddling mimics the feeling of being inside your womb, it helps soothe your baby. It also helps them learn how to sleep on their own, giving you more time to do other things. In other words, there are many reasons why you should learn how to swaddle a baby.
Swaddling a baby is not rocket science, but it’s not exactly something that you can do with your eyes closed either. There is a proper way to swaddle your newborn baby, and there are some mistakes that you need to avoid.
But before you learn the proper way to swaddle, here are tips to help you get the right swaddle blankets for your little one.
The Perfect Swaddle Blanket
The perfect swaddle blanket does exist! Ideally, it should be soft as clouds and gentle even on the most sensitive skin. We know that your newborn baby has delicate skin, so avoid blankets made of synthetic material that can potentially irritate and cause allergies.
It is, then, best to choose a swaddle blanket that is made of 100% cotton. Premium cotton is not only soft but also hypoallergenic and non-toxic. Best of all, 100% cotton swaddle blankets are lightweight and breathable, which means your baby can use them in any weather.
Now that you know which type of swaddle blanket you should get, let’s move on and talk about the proper way to swaddle your baby.
5 Basic Steps of Swaddling
- The first thing you need to do is spread out your swaddle blanket with one corner folded.
- Next, in the middle of the blanket, lay your baby on their back with their head at the edge of the folded corner.
- Pick up one corner of the blanket, on the side of your baby, and bring it across their body. Tuck this corner beneath your baby.
- Fold the bottom corner of the swaddle blanket over your baby’s feet.
- Finally, pick the remaining corner of the swaddle blanket and wrap it across your baby’s body.
9 Things to Remember on How to Swaddle Your Baby Properly
- Don’t swaddle your baby too tightly. Swaddling tightly may dislocate your baby’s hips and put them at risk for developmental dysplasia of the hip. This is a condition where the hip joint has not formed normally.
- As a rule of thumb, to know if the swaddle is too snug or just right, you should be able to fit two to three fingers between the swaddle blanket and your baby’s chest.
- Don’t let the swaddle blanket touch your baby’s cheek as they may think the blanket is your breast. This may cause confusion (and cause your baby to cry instead of feeling soothed).
- Always make sure that your baby’s arms are straight inside the swaddle and not stuck in an awkward or uncomfortable position.
- Don’t stretch your baby’s legs. The bottom of the swaddle blanket should stay loose enough to keep your baby’s legs at their natural position, which is bent and spread out.
- Swaddling can cause your baby to overheat. Aside from choosing 100% cotton swaddles, which are lightweight and breathable, you also need to keep your baby’s room at a comfortable temperature (68 - 72 degrees Fahrenheit is optimum).
- If swaddling (for the first time) causes your baby to cry, don’t give up. It takes time for some babies to adjust to swaddling.
- Whether your baby is swaddled or not, always lay your baby on their back when they sleep to prevent the risk of SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
- While swaddling is extremely beneficial for newborn babies, it can be dangerous for older babies who are now trying to roll over. It’s best to stop swaddling before your baby reaches 3 months.
It may take time for you (and your newborn baby) to fully adjust to swaddling (and the feeling of being swaddled). And swaddling needs to be done properly to avoid mistakes that can potentially affect your baby’s growth and development.
However, as with everything you do as a parent, you will soon get the hang of swaddling, giving your baby a chance to enjoy its many benefits.