To swaddle or not to swaddle? That is the question…
Becoming a parent for the first time is a never-ending stream of decisions. Should you breast or bottle-feed? Should you decorate the nursery with pandas or koalas? Should you use a swaddle blanket or a sleep bag?
Read on to learn more about swaddling and how to keep your little bundle of joy securely bundled…
Baby Swaddling 101
Mamas have been swaddling their babes for centuries. Babies can startle themselves awake. This is known as the Moro reflex and it’s completely normal. By swaddling your little one’s arms, you can prevent them from fully waking up. A nice snug swaddle helps your babe self-soothe and fall back asleep.
Swaddling helps babies feel safe and cozy — just like they’re back in mama’s belly. Swaddling will comfort a fussy baby and help her fall asleep. It’s kind of like giving your babe a big hug while she sleeps. Doesn’t that sound lovely?
Experts recommend swaddling your babe from day one. This will help you and your little one sleep better. The longer you wait to start swaddling the hard it may be to get her used to it.?
A swaddle blanket is a soft, thin blanket designed to wrap up your babe like a burrito. A swaddle blanket can help your babe fall asleep and stay asleep. She won’t be able to wake herself by reflexively moving her arms.
With swaddle blankets, you must be careful not to swaddle your babe too tightly. She should be snug, but still able to wiggle her legs. If you are co-sleeping with your little one, experts recommend not swaddling. She may overheat from the combination of the blanket and your own bedsheets.
What Is a Sleep Bag?
A sleep bag or sleep sack is a wearable blanket. Snaps or zippers ensure a snug fit for your babe. Some sleep bags have holes for your little one’s arms. Sleep bags are great for babes who repeatedly resist swaddling.
Sleep bags are easier on mamas too. No need to teach everyone who watches your babe how to swaddle. Sleep bags are user-friendly. Sleep bags make those early morning, bleary-eyed diaper changes faster too.
Should Your Newborn Sleep in a Swaddle Blanket or a Sleep Bag?
Every mama has a different opinion in the swaddle blanket vs. sleep bag debate. It comes down to personal preference and what helps your babe sleep best.
Try using a swaddle blanket at first. Once you get the hang of wrapping up your little burrito, you and your babe will sleep better. If your babe is resistant to a swaddle blanket, it may be time to try a sleep bag.
As babes get older and stronger they need a little more movement while sleeping and a sleep bag offers that. A sleep bag will still help your newborn sleep snug and cozy but allow her to move as she needs.
Signs it’s time to transition from a swaddle blanket to a sleep sack:
- Your babe breaks free from her swaddle frequently. She may be getting too big for the swaddle blanket and need more movement while she sleeps.
- Your babe rolls over. You don’t want her arms trapped if she’s able to move from her back to her stomach.
- Your babe enjoys lots of tummy time. This means her neck and back muscles have developed and she is ready for more movement while she sleeps.
If you’ve had trouble using a traditional swaddle blanket, it might be time to try out a sleep bag.
Every babe is different. Talk to your pediatrician about what’s best for your little one.