There are a lot of methods that parents can carry out to calm their baby and help them fall asleep faster. One of the most prominent — and unquestionably one of the oldest — methods is swaddling.
Swaddling is essentially the practice of wrapping a light blanket around a baby. This practice has been around for centuries, and the idea behind it is to make the baby feel like they’re back in the womb, thus making them feel more comfortable.
But though swaddling has been around forever, does it mean that parents should continue doing it? And if parents choose to practice swaddling, what is the right way to do it?
The Benefits and Risks of Swaddling
As mentioned above, the purpose of swaddling is to calm the baby. So, when parents swaddle their baby, the baby will be able to settle more easily and sleep faster and longer. In particular, babies who have neurologic problems benefit from this.
Moreover, swaddling also helps parents get their babies to fall asleep on their backs, which is what doctors actually recommend that parents do in order to avoid sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
However, even though swaddling has its benefits, it also poses a few risks. For one thing, swaddling wraps the legs together tightly, which can increase the possibility of hip problems.
Additionally, swaddle blankets may overheat the newborn baby, and frequent swaddling has the possibility to suppress the baby’s voice.
How to Swaddle a Baby
Because of all the risks mentioned above, it’s highly imperative that parents practice the proper technique when it comes to swaddling.
So, if you want to practice the baby swaddle, you should follow the tips below.
- The materials you’re going to swaddle your baby in should be thin. This is because thin materials are breathable, so your baby won’t suffocate when you wrap them up. A few suitable swaddle blankets are cotton blankets and cotton muslin wraps.
- You should never wrap several layers of blankets around your baby.
- You shouldn’t swaddle your baby’s neck and head. If you do, they will definitely have trouble breathing.
- When you wrap your baby up, make sure it’s firm but gentle. The wrapping should never be tight. To check if the swaddling is okay, your baby should be able to move their hips and knees.
- You should always put a swaddled baby on their back — never on their side or front.
- You should regularly check your baby’s temperature — to ensure they don’t feel overheated.
- You should only swaddle if the baby is newly born. Once they start rolling over, the swaddling should stop.
As a method that has been around since time immemorial, swaddling has been used by parents to calm their babies and get them to sleep. However, it should be done right to avoid complications and problems.
If you’re planning to swaddle your newborn baby, you should take the time to learn how to properly do it.