December 11, 2020 5 min read 1 Comment
Swaddling babies from birth and throughout their early infancy is a tradition that has existed in various parts of the world for centuries. However, as with most things in life, baby swaddles have evolved over time. If you're a first-time parent seeking answers on how to wrap a baby and when to stop swaddling, you are not alone!
Before making any decisions, you should first acknowledge the fact that no two babies are the same. Therefore, it’s important to do what’s best for your baby (don’t worry, your gut instinct will usually know what to do), even if this isn’t your first child. Nonetheless, it helps to educate yourself on the subject. Here's some things for you to consider;
The concept of a swaddle wrap for newborn babies is one that essentially stems from the concept it mimic's the feeling of being in the womb. It is meant to provide your child with the warmth and soothing feeling of being cuddled.
It is also known encourage a better night’s sleep in most babies. You are typically taught how to wrap you baby by midwives with a wealth of experience in newborn babies, which is another clear indication that it is an ideal sleep routine in the early stages of infancy.
Sleeping your baby in a wrap is designed to achieve;
Using swaddles has received some criticism in recent times due to some sensationalist headlines following research into swaddling and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). In reality, the studies showed that they are actually very safe and can reduce the risk of SIDS. The dangers only occur when your child is not wrapped correctly or is allowed to sleep on their side or front. As long as they are placed on their back, as intended, it is commonly accepted to be safe.
As mentioned, wrapping a baby can provide a calming and safe sleep experience, but only if you wrap your child in the correct fashion. These written steps should help you;
In addition to using a muslin wrap or cotton blanket, you can purchase specialised swaddles. Different types include; a swaddle wrap with velcro, a sleep bag with zipper, options to have arms up or arms out.
You might need to try a couple of different designs to find the one that is perfect for you and your baby.
This YouTube Video will take you through the various steps of using a blanket to wrap your baby.
Buying a specialised swaddle is another expense, especially as your child won’t be in it for long. Nonetheless, it can be a good investment for any parent that desperate to get some sort of sleep or is worried about whether they’ll wrap the blanket correctly. The positioning is under control while the tightness is easier to get right too.
Another significant issue to consider is your child’s hips. As described by Healthy Children, a tight wrap around the legs could lead to hip dislocation or Hip Dysplasia. However, it is not an issue that impacts well designed swaddles and standard muslin wraps and blanket swaddles
Finally, you should always understand and educate yourself on the risks of choosing to swaddle a newborn. Here are some key things to keep in mind and reduce your risks.
Swaddling is safe for most babies, although they should not be wrapped when sharing a surface with another person, as per Pregnancy Baby Birth. While most babies react positively to the cuddle-like sleeping environment, others may feel trapped and restricted. If this is the case, they will let you know.
While you may have read about the potential benefits for both you and your baby, there is no value in making your child upset or uncomfortable. You can try loosening the wrap slightly or switching to an armless swaddle. If that doesn’t work, be prepared to lose it altogether.
Ultimately, keeping your baby healthy and happy is far more significant than following any guidelines.
In addition to knowing how to swaddle a baby safely, you should familiarise yourself with the signs that it is time to stop swaddling your baby. As with most aspects of swaddling, it is important to remember that all babies are unique. Consequently, there is no set rule or timeframe of when you should remove swaddling from the nightly rituals.
Nonetheless, there are several signs to look out for. If you notice any of the following, it is time to stop swaddling;
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