New moms and dads often learn the art of swaddling from hospital nurses. Being wrapped in a blanket is very comforting for a newborn baby, as it mimics the feel of the womb. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics even says that when done correctly, swaddling helps to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). But as new parents, you are sure to have questions about the process and might even feel unsure about wrapping your baby up so snug.
Here we answer some of the most common questions about swaddling.
Is Swaddling Safe?
Yes, if done correctly! In fact, babies feel safe and comfy when they’re swaddled because swaddling mimics the snug womb environment – which is also a reason why swaddling helps to soothe babies to sleep.
Swaddling is a perfectly safe technique as long as the baby is swaddled tight but not to an extent that would interfere with their natural breathing.
Does Swaddling Help My Baby to Sleep Longer?
Yes! Swaddling not only helps a baby feel secure, but their also less likely to be affected by the jerks and startles (also known as Moro Reflex) that occur during sleep. It can also help your baby calm down if over-stimulated.
My Baby Hates Swaddling. Is It Necessary?
Most babies don’t like being changed either, but you don’t leave them with a dirty diaper! It’s not uncommon for babies to fight being swaddled or fuss at first. However, if swaddled correctly, most babies will start to relax once fully swaddled. Make sure they aren’t too hot or cold, that you’re getting a really snug fit, and that you’re swaddling before baby gets overtired. Give swaddling a chance – and if your baby really doesn’t like it, try swaddling with one arm free.
Does Swaddling Decrease Crying Frequency?
Yes, swaddling has been found to decrease the frequency and duration of crying by about 30 percent. In fact, the reduction is a lot more when compared to a massage.
What Should a Baby Wear Under the Swaddle?
In normal climates simply swaddling the baby over their regular PJs is usually fine! However, babies who overheat easily might feel more comfortable in a lightweight onesie and during the cooler months you can keep baby cozy with long sleeve footie or shirt.
Can a regular Blanket Be Used for Swaddling?
No. Traditional blankets for adults are usually thick and too big to use as a swaddling blanket, which could lead to overheating and/or an increased risk of SIDS. Hence, it is better to opt for a cotton or muslin swaddle blanket to avoid overheating.
How to Handle a Baby Who Wakes up While Swaddling?
Always swaddle your baby in the initial setting period when she is fully awake. Then use your arms to make her drowsy. Gently sneak her into bed when she is drowsy but still awake so as to reduce the chances of her getting up startled.
Can I Swaddle My Baby During the Night?
Yes! It is recommended to swaddle your baby for all sleep times – at night and during naps – until your baby starts to show signs of rolling over. Swaddling will help your baby fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
Why Does My Baby Get Unwrapped?
There are many reasons which result in unwrapping of the baby from Swaddle.
- The cloth used for wrapping is too small.
- The wrap does not have much stretch. If this is the case then try using stretch cotton.
- You are using the wrong wrapping technique.
Does Swaddling Reduce the Risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)?
There is no such research study which states that swaddling reduces SIDS risk. However, properly swaddled babies are less likely to roll over into a potentially suffocating situation. Swaddled (and unswaddled) babies should always be placed on their back to sleep, regardless of their age or size, to reduce the risk of SIDS. And once your baby starts showing signs of rolling over, you should stop swaddling.
What Is the Right Time to Stop Swaddling?
Look for signs such as the baby regularly escaping from the swaddle, she is rolling over, has a short nap time and wakes up more often than usual, and is developing arm and back strength. Most babies stop being swaddled between 4 and 6 months old – right around the time they start learning to roll over.
My Baby Is Not Sleeping Without Being Swaddled?
Swaddling should always be stopped slowly and gradually so as to make the transition fuss-free. Try swaddling with one arm free, and then both arms free, before ditching the swaddle completely. Also, remember there is sure to be a period of transition when the sleep will be temporarily disrupted. But don’t worry! This too shall pass and your baby will get accustomed to the newly found freedom.