Swaddling is one of the main methods recommended in some of the books written in regards to sleeping such as “ The happiest baby on the block”, “ Healthy sleep habits, happy child” and “ Baby Whisperer”. Swaddling was also demonstrated and suggested to during the baby/ childcare classes we attended before the birth of our child. I believe it has helped our son sleep comfortably and helped create a healthy sleeping habit for him as well as making my and his life easier.
Swaddling will help your little baby to fall asleep faster and will also help your baby stay asleep longer in his first 3-4 months of his life. You can swaddle your baby which will stop the baby from moving his arms without making it too tight and making it difficult for the baby to breath by using a square blanket or by swaddling clothes. You have to be careful about not making the swaddle to tight and harm baby’s little legs and hips. Swaddling should be practiced when the baby is asleep and should not be used when the baby is awake. During playtime, the baby should have tummy time to strengthen his/her neck and arm’s muscles. Also, don’t forget to put baby asleep on his back and on his side.
Swaddling helps the newborn babies calm down, fall asleep and sleep for longer periods because:
- it replicates the comfortable, warm and cozy womb of the mother.
- it prevents moro reflex which causes the baby to suddenly move his arms and legs and wake up from sleep
- it becomes a part of sleep routine and signals the baby what’s coming ahead.
In the first days of swaddling, the baby might react to it and cry. It is up to you to decide whether to swaddling is for your the baby, especially if moro reflex is making it hard for him/her to fall asleep or stay asleep.
You will see that in the 3-4 month, you really don’t need to swaddle your baby anymore since your baby can control his/her arm and leg movements better and his/her muscles are stronger. When the baby starts turning from tummy to back or vice versa, you will not need to use this method anyway.
Some babies, even though swaddled, might manage to get their arms out because they really want to suck on their hands and fingers so bad. There is a special swaddling method for that, called Aussie Swaddle which helps keeps the hands by the face but limits the movement of the arms. I was not very successful with this method but that might be just me.
One practical product that made my life easier with swaddling were pre-wrapped swaddling blankets such as SwaddleMe. These blankets come in cotton material for the summer and fleece for the winter. They close with velcro are easy and safe to use. The only problem is the noise the velcro makes if you need to change the baby or adjust during sleep.
I wish all the babies and moms a long night’s sleep and sweet dreams…