Wrapping babies in swaddles has become a trend. We have learned that some parents would like to wrap their little ones in swaddles. Wrapping a baby tightly is good for keeping him calm and helping him sleep tightly during the first few weeks after birth. How does swaddling work, and when to stop swaddling a newborn baby? Today’s article will focus on these problems. For more information, please kindly read on.
1. What is a swaddle?
Swaddling is a technique of wrapping the baby in a cloth or blanket, which has a calming effect on the baby. Swaddles can create a familiar, comfortable feeling for babies to let them feel they are still in the womb. The baby's Moro reflex (startle reflex) can be reduced by swaddling. This Moro reflex is innate to every newborn baby. Babies’ arms or legs will suddenly stretch outward, and their fingers will open when they hear a sudden loud noise or shock. The Moro reflex will reflect your baby’s sleep quality. During the sleep phase, infants will often awaken from sleep, and then they will wake up completely and have difficulty falling asleep again.
The modern swaddling is not a new invention, and it is an upgraded version of the traditional swaddling method. In modern times, swaddling is used for calming the newborn baby and helping him to have a comfortable, restful sleep.
On the contrary, ancient people believed that a baby's body needed to be supported and shaped. So a baby needed to be wrapped tightly. But wrapping too tightly is not a good thing for a baby’s growth and development. Gradually, the criticism of this tight wrapping was growing. Finally, this tradition disappeared.
Nowadays, some research has shown that swaddled babies can have longer and more restful sleep. In addition, swaddled infants are much less likely to wake up during sleep suddenly.
2. Benefits and disadvantages of swaddling
1) Feel Secure
Babies will always feel insecure after they leave the womb, which is a familiar environment to them. A sense of safety from birth is very important. Every parent needs to provide a sense of security for their babies. Swaddling newborn babies is one of the most efficient ways that can make them feel secure. Parents wrap their babies in different ways to offer a safe feeling.
2) Reduce The Risk of SIDS
SIDS is sudden infant death syndrome. SIDS is one of the chief killers of infants under age one. Some studies show that SIDS is associated with many different reasons. Including sleep position, sleep environment, baby feeding, etc.
Experts suggest promoting babies sleeping on the back to avoid compressing their hearts. Swaddling can help babies sleep in this position to cut the incidence of SIDS.
3) Have a Restful Sleep
Babies sleep most of the time. Helping babies have enough good sleep very important. This is closely related to babies’ physical and mental health.
Swaddling provides babies with a secure rest environment from outside. In this way, they can have a longer, more restful sleep easier.
4) Soothe a Crying Baby
Parents usually feel quite helpless when they face a crying baby. At this time, parents can try to swaddle their babies. Babies always can be comforted by swaddling. That's one of the most effective ways to smooth a crying baby.
1) compress the babies’ nerves
Swaddling may compress the babies’ nerves if parents wrap their babies too tightly.
2) DDH (Developmental dysplasia of the hip)
Swaddling your baby in the wrong way may increase the risk of DDH. DDH is a problem with the baby's hip joint forms. Sometimes the DDH starts before birth, and sometimes it happens after birth. It can affect your baby’s hips as he grows.
Wrapping too tightly also may cause the baby to be overheated.
3. How to swaddle a baby?
Swaddling can help calm your baby and help him have a restful sleep. But swaddling a baby for too long can make him have an improper position or be overheated, even leading to a risk of SIDS. Parents can use swaddling when their babies are falling asleep. The correct swaddling is essential.
- Step 1: Lay the swaddle or blanket out in front of you in a rhombus. Then fold the top corners down into a triangle. Then place your baby in the middle of the swaddle or blanket.
- Step 2: Grasp the right part of the swaddle and cover it over your baby. Make sure your baby’s arm is firmly placed under the swaddle.
- Step 3: Fold the bottom of the swaddle up to cover the baby's feet.
- Step 4: Finally, you should hold the baby’s left arm close to his body and fold the swaddle up. Then you can tuck the rest of the fabric under the baby's body.
4. some attention points of swaddling
- You can keep your baby sleeping on his back while he is sleeping. If your baby has serious spillage, you can turn his head sideways to prevent choking and coughing. At the same time, parents should monitor the baby at all times. Your baby has the risk of turning over his face down or having the mouth and nose covered by clothing or blanket
- Do not place soft things in the crib, including blankets, pillows, quilts, soft toys, etc., which can cover the baby's mouth and nose and cause the risk of suffocation.
- Parents should try to avoid sleeping in the same bed as their babies. Babies are better off sleeping in their own cribs. It is the safest.
- If you find that your baby is sweating, has a red face and has shortness of breath, be sure to reduce the thickness of the swaddle in time. Or you can give your baby a swaddling sleep sack, which has organic mesh cotton. The organic mesh cotton helps babies to let heat out easily. Parents don’t need to worry that their babies may be overheated by swaddling.
- After your baby can turn over by himself, you can gradually stop swaddling and give him a pacifier for a soothing effect.
5. When to stop swaddling a newborn baby
The purpose of swaddling is, first and foremost, to keep your baby calm and to avoid the Moro reflex. We recommend that you can swaddle your baby for the first few weeks after birth. Because the Moro reflex gradually decreases after about two to three months.
As your baby grows, his need for movement increases. In this case, swaddling can limit your baby's movement and hinder his development of a motor function. When your baby wakes up from a long sleep and opens his eyes, it's time to stop swaddling your baby.
A baby sleep sack is a good alternative to swaddling and is recommended for babies after three months of age. After three months, babies can transition from swaddle to sleep sack. Sleep sacks will continue to provide your baby with the feeling of being well protected and also provide him with the freedom of movement.
sleep sack vs swaddle
Which is better? There are advantages and disadvantages to both of them. Next, I will introduce some baby sleep sacks.
6. High-quality sleep sacks recommendations
This versatile sleep sack is sleeveless and one-piece.
1) The sleeveless design helps babies to self-soothe more easily. They are convenient to suck on their fingers or stroke the cheeks.
2) The one-piece design gives the baby more freedom. Babies can kick their legs in it more freely.
3) The bottom of this sleep sack can be opened. Your baby can peek at their feet easily. Parents also can change their babies’ diapers more conveniently, even in the middle of the night.
4) Newborn babies also can wear this sleep sack. It can be used with a swaddling accessory - Baby Bamboo Velcro Swaddle Wrap Band, which helps parents to calm and soothe their babies.
This swaddling sleep sack is typical of the fabric choice - bamboo fiber. The properties of raw bamboo fiber are introduced as below:
1) It is a green and environmental protection fiber that is made through a physical method, without any chemical process. It is absolutely environment-friendly and sustainable.
2) Bamboo fiber is anti-acarine, anti-bacterial, deodorant, and breathable. It can be produced to better absorbable and comfortable baby clothing.
3) Friendly, soft fabric that is comfortable for babies’ sensitive skin. It's natural, gentle, and hypo-allergenic.