If you are expecting parents or have a newborn baby added to the family, it is most important to keep your bundle of joy cozy, comfortable, and feel safe during the initial few months. One of the best methods for the same is swaddling so that the baby feels the same condition, like staying in the mother’s womb feeling the warmth, togetherness, and contended before adapting to the external world. Swaddling is nothing but wrapping your baby with some soft cloth or blanket in a particular manner. If you do not know how to swaddle a baby, it is time to understand the method to keep your newborn most comfortably.
As already discussed, swaddling baby means wrapping the baby in a breathable cloth or soft blanket so that the newborn can feel calm and sleep without any disturbances during some initial days after birth. If you do not know the art of how to swaddle, it is time to learn with step by step guide in this article. Although it is an age-old traditional method, it is one of the best way to keep the baby comfortable. During this unique form of wrapping the baby with a light and soft blanket, only the body is wrapped, keeping their neck and head free.
- The Benefits of Swaddling Newborn Baby
- The baby gets the feeling of the womb:
- Calms the baby:
- Prevent against startled reflex actions:
- Reduces anxiety:
- Helps to sleep safely:
- Keeps the hands away from the face:
- Helps to maintain ambient body temperature:
- The baby can stay on the back:
- The parents can stay relaxed:
- Reduces the risk of Sudden infant death syndrome:
- The Proper Techniques of Swaddling New Born Baby
- Few Things to Consider While Swaddling
- Points to Consider Before Swaddling Your Baby
The Benefits of Swaddling Newborn Baby
There are multiple benefits of swaddling a baby, and it not only calms the newborn but also helps them sleep more in a settled, comfortable position. A baby needs to sleep as much as possible after birth so that the newborn can grow fast, adapting to the outside world.
The baby gets the feeling of the womb:
The baby gets the feeling of the womb if properly swaddled. They had spent almost nine months in the mother’s womb in a cuddled position, and any change of the position immediately after childbirth can disturb their sleep and reflexes.
Calms the baby:
Swaddling can calm the baby if your baby cries too much. The baby wants to be in a soothing position like the mother’s womb, and swaddling can give your bundle of joy that feeling. They can stay more relaxed and without any tensions, particularly the first three months after the birth wrapped in that position.
Prevent against startled reflex actions:
Whenever a baby gets a disruptive sleep due to noise or any kind of vibration, their reflex action due to startling starts to begin, and they feel disturbed and insecure. Moro reflex or startle reflex can be minimized with proper swaddling as the baby does not feel the jolt.
You may have a newborn, but they are born with a mind and senses. Therefore they can feel anxious and reflects their concern through crying or kicking their arms and legs. They have disturbed sleep. Imitating a mother’s touch through swaddling the baby can make them feel secure and overcome fussiness or anxiety.
Helps to sleep safely:
As the baby is wrapped with a light blanket with arms and legs in a particular position, there is no fear for the parents, unlike loose covers that may cover the neck and face resulting in the baby choking. Thus the baby can sleep safely, and the parents can stay relaxed when they swaddle baby for sleep.
Keeps the hands away from the face:
If the swaddling techniques are proper, the baby cannot throw the arms and touch the face therefore the baby can sleep undisturbed for long hours.
Helps to maintain ambient body temperature:
With proper swaddling materials like a light blanket or cotton cloth, the baby can feel neither hot nor cold. Swaddling helps the baby maintain an appropriate body temperature and avoid falling sick. One can touch the back of the neck of the baby and feel the temperature and swaddle appropriately.
The baby can stay on the back:
Newborns cannot roll on their back. With proper swaddling, the baby can stay comfortable on the back. However, make sure not to swaddle the baby whenever they are able to roll on their back.
The parents can stay relaxed:
Parents, particularly the mother, need adequate rest after childbirth. With a swaddling newborn at night, the parents can have a good night’s sleep staying relaxed, knowing their child is sleeping undisturbed properly.
Reduces the risk of Sudden infant death syndrome:
Although we are discussing the joy of parenthood, it is imperative to say that swaddling reduces the chances of SIDS. Doing a safe swaddle and keeping the baby in a comfortable sleeping position on the back can reduce the risk to a much extent.
The Proper Techniques of Swaddling New Born Baby
It is time to know the technique of swaddling a baby. Both parents can master the methods without any third-party help, and let us discuss the process of how to properly swaddle a baby.
Follow the Below Steps:
Laying a soft cloth or light blanket:
Select a flat surface and lay the soft cloth or the light blanket. The blanket or the soft cloth should be square with minimum dimensions of 40 inches x 40 inches. One can also buy a swaddling blanket readily available in the market. The material of the blanket or the cloth should be breathable and lightweight. Breathable fabrics allow the body to breathe and prevent overheating. Try to select materials like muslin and or likewise. One can also purchase readymade swaddling blankets with Velcro fasteners for easy wrapping. Lay the blanket on the bed or padded floor or some soft flat surface in a diamond shape.
Folding the top corner:
After spreading the blanket or the soft cloth on a flat surface, fold the top corner with the folded corner facing the front side and not underneath the blanket or the fabric. It allows guiding for the proper placement of the baby on the fabric. The soft cloth or the light blanket now looks like the symbol Superman. You will observe that the three corners are intact on the three sides, with the folded area on the top. You will also have five corners now.
Placing the baby:
Hold your newborn carefully with one hand behind the neck and the other hand on the buttock. Lay the baby on the soft cloth or the blanket with the backside, the face towards you. Make sure the top folded edge is just below the neckline. Position the baby on the center of the blanket or the soft cloth.
Positioning the arms:
Baby arm position when swaddling is also essential. Lift the left arm and carefully straighten it. Place it alongside the left part of the body. One can also place the arms across the chest to create the same position as when the baby was in the womb. However, the baby can free the arms by twisting and turning in this positioning.
Wrapping the left side:
Hold the corner of the soft cloth or the light blanket lying at the baby’s left side and pull it across the body towards the right side. Tuck the corner under your newborn’s back on the right side below the armpit.
Positioning the right arm:
Like placing the left arm, follow the same process for the right arm. The tucked left corner under the back of the body will be by the side of the right arm. Alternatively, if you had put the left arm on the chest, place the right arm too on the chest. But the baby can break free the arms in this type of swaddling.
Tucking the right corner:
Hold the corner of the soft cloth or the blanket lying on the baby’s right side, pull it towards the left side, and tuck the corner under the left side of your newborn’s back. You can observe that the baby is wrapped on both sides alongside the arms. Ensure to keep a gap of 2 to3 fingers between the soft cloth or the blanket and the baby’s chest so that they can breathe easily and do not choke. Undo and follow the above processes if you swaddle too tight. Rewrap the baby with a gap of 2 to 3 fingers, as mentioned earlier.
Hold the bottom corner of the blanket lying below the feet and move upwards. Holding the loose end, carefully tuck the corner under either of the sides of the baby’s legs. As you master the tips and tricks of how to swaddle a baby with a blanket or a soft cloth, make sure to keep enough space under the feet while wrapping the baby so that the legs can make movements inside the swaddle. It will allow air to pass and prevent overheating and hip problems in the future.
Few Things to Consider While Swaddling
As you master the art of how to swaddle newborn babies, some points should be pondered for safe swaddling. Many questions arise in the parent’s minds of caring for their newborn, and one should get the answers to them to keep their baby safe and comfortable inside the swaddle.
➨The tightness of the swaddle – If it has come to your mind how tight to swaddle, remember to keep at least 2 to 3 fingers gap between the blanket and the soft cloth used for swaddling and the baby’s chest. Ensure that the lungs can expand and the baby can breathe without choking. The swaddle’s primary purpose is to keep your bundle of joy comfortable during the initial months after birth, grow properly, and stay healthy. Newborns sleep most of the time and adjust to the outside world as the days pass.
➨If the question comes to your mind on can a swaddle be too tight, the answer is No. It cannot be too tight either on the side or near the legs. The baby should be able to move the legs inside the swaddle to prevent suffering from hip dysplasia in the future. Again, a proper swaddle gap allows the heat generated inside the wrapping to radiate out and keep the baby comfortable without any aliments. Make sure to leave an adequate gap, as mentioned earlier, on the chest or under the legs as you wrap your newborn baby.
Points to Consider Before Swaddling Your Baby
As you learnhow to wrap babywith a soft blanket or cloth, you should pay heed to some of the features of the process ad take appropriate action.
Keep your baby on the back while they sleep:
As you swaddle your baby, lay your newborn on their backside. Do not ever lay them on their stomach or the sides, as these positions can choke the baby and be fatal. As the baby is immobile after swaddling, they cannot change their position to get the best comforts, and the risk of SIDS is more if they do not sleep on their back. Although very little is known about the risk of swaddling, this practice certainly can help your baby sleep better than other positions.
Dress your babies in light clothes:
Overheating while inside the swaddle can also enhance the risk of SIDS. Therefore, before wrapping the baby and making a swaddle, dress them in light, breathable clothes. Also, use a light blanket or soft cloth to wrap the baby. If you observe that your baby is breathing fast, having heat rashes, flushed skin or sweating, or having damp hair, immediately unwrap the baby. These are signs of overheating. Only diapers will do during the hot weather; however, dress the baby in more comfortable clothes if it is a bit cold. The heat flow can be even, and the baby can stay comfortable.
Stop swaddling when your baby tries to overturn:
Usually, newborns can overturn after 2 to 3 months. However, they can turn to sides within this period. If you notice your baby trying to roll over, it is time to stop swaddling. Rolling over and lying on the stomach can be dangerous while saddled, and the baby can suffocate, and something fatal can happen. Do not swaddle your baby once they begin to roll or turn sideways. Use a sleep sack or a wearable bag blanket after stopping swaddling.
We repeat do not swaddle too tight. The hips may not develop correctly if swaddling is too tight in the leg region. maintain correct gaps on all sides while swaddling your baby. Often check the swaddling fittings of the baby as any movement of the legs can make them loose. Also, using a firm mattress while laying the baby on the crib can prevent suffocation if, by chance, they overturn.
Use readymade swaddles:
If you cannot make the swaddle sing a light blanket or soft cloth, it is best to buy them from the local store or online. It is better to purchase readymade swaddles with Velcro fittings so that swaddling becomes easy.
Buy a proper swaddle:
Buy a swaddle that can wrap your baby comfortably till the neckline. Ensure that the fabric is anti-allergic, and prefer to buy the blankets made from muslin. Check the quality of the swaddle and then only seal the deal.
Wash the swaddles before use:
Irrespective of readymade or home swaddles, one should always wash them with a baby-friendly detergent before the first use. Avoid using detergents with strong chemicals. Again one should wash the swaddles at regular intervals to give the newborn a fresh feeling.
You must have gathered much knowledge of how to swaddle your newborn baby by now. The age-old process is even relevant today and gives the best comfort to your baby for a few couples of months after seeing the light of the sun. Even in hospitals and childbirth centers, nurses swaddle to wrap the baby immediately after birth. However, ensure to swaddle your baby appropriately to avoid choking and other discomforts. Follow the above mentioned method and see your bundle of joy growing healthy staying happy wrapped in a light blanket or cotton cloth. As parents, we all love to give the best to our children, following all safety precautions, and it is time to be on the bandwagon and enjoy life with your little one.