Swaddling a newborn has helped many parents keep their babies warm and secure. Especially when it comes to fussy babies, being snuggly wrapped means sleeping more soundly throughout the night.
Nurses might know the secrets of proper swaddling, but what do you do when you leave the hospital?
Since you cannot take the nurse at home with you, the other thing left to do is to learn how to swaddle a newborn yourself.
There’s no need to panic if you’re a newbie. Swaddling can be done in a few simple steps. Luckily for you, there are many products nowadays that help you hack the art of swaddling with the help of Velcro tabs and zippers.
Here’s everything you should know about swaddling a newborn and a few safety tips to keep in mind.
Is swaddling good for the baby?
Swaddling a newborn is amazing for several reasons:
- It helps to soothe the baby and reduce excessive crying.
- It can help parents in their sleep training efforts.
- It recreates the feeling of security the baby had in the mother’s womb, thus improving the baby’s sleep.
- It keeps the baby warm without the need for blankets, which pose a risk of SIDS.
- It stops your baby from being disturbed by her own startle reflex.
How to swaddle with a blanket
The only two ingredients you’ll need for this swaddle is a blanket and a baby.
Here’s how to get that perfect traditional swaddle by using a blanket:
- Lay the blanket out on a soft, flat surface.
- Fold the corner of the blanket to create a triangle.
- Set the baby down on the triangle with the top of her shoulders on the edge of the swaddle.
- Straighten your baby’s left arm.
- Once the baby’s arm is tucked, wrap the blanket over her left arm and chest. Tuck the blanket underneath her right arm and back.
- Now bring the tail of the swaddle up to the baby’s shoulders and tuck behind.
- Straighten your baby’s right arm and wrap the blanket over her right arm and chest. Tuck the blanket underneath her left arm and back.
- Take the leftover fabric you have left and wrap it around the baby once more.
It’s important to note that there are different ways of swaddling a baby. How the nurse does it can differ from the way your mother does it. As long as your baby’s arms are nicely snugged to her side, rest assured she’s feeling secure and cozy.
How to swaddle with a quick wrap
The quick wraps are the perfect way to swaddle a fussy baby, especially for parents who are in a hurry.
The difference between traditional blankets and these quick wraps is that the wraps come with Velcro tabs or zippers that promote faster swaddling.
The design might be different, but the benefits are all the same. Your baby will still feel nice and cozy, snuggled in one of these wraps.
Every wrap comes with a different design, and the wrapping instructions will vary. However, the general notion is that instead of tucking one side of the blanket under the baby’s other side, you now place one side of the wrap over the soft Velcro area.
When to stop swaddling
Swaddling a newborn is a safe and smart idea, apart from also being adorable.
But it isn’t something you should do forever. As babies grow up, keeping them wrapped in a blanket becomes dangerous. Being wrapped up can halt healthy development since it prevents babies from practicing their motor skills.
The right time to stop swaddling would depend on your baby. Once you notice that she’s becoming more active and tries to roll over, that’s an indicator that it might be time to transition to a sleeping bag. You can expect this to happen when she’s about 3 to 5 months old.
There are several methods for how you can transition your baby out of swaddle including:
- Going cold turkey.
- Partial night swaddling where your baby sleeps with the swaddle for one half of the night and then without the swaddle for the rest of the night.
- Swaddle with only one arm in.
- Putting your baby in a sleepsuit.
Swaddling safety tips
There are a few guidelines that parents must follow to ensure their baby is safely asleep. Here are a few general tips:
- Always put your baby to sleep on her back. Keep an eye on her to make sure she doesn’t roll on her stomach.
- Swaddling can potentially lead to overheating, so avoid letting your baby get too hot. Maintain a room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees F. In a room with that temperature, a pair of pajamas and a swaddle blanket is enough to keep her comfy.
- The swaddle should be snug but not too snug. You should be able to fit two or three fingers between the blanket and your baby’s chest. Your baby should also have enough legroom at the bottom of the blanket for healthy hip development.
If you’re a newbie to the concept of swaddling a newborn, the thought of wrapping your baby up so tightly might sound like a crazy idea.
You might feel nervous at first because babies look so fragile, but over time, you’ll see first-hand that it’s wonderful for keeping babies safe and cozy.
In fact, many parents swear that swaddling did wonders for soothing their newborns.
Since swaddling mimics the feeling of being in the mother’s womb, it brings calmness and comfort to your little one. On the plus side, swaddles keep babies warm without the need for a blanket that you don’t want in the crib.
And once your baby outgrows the swaddle, there’s a whole world of sleep sacks and wearable blankets for you to discover.
Until that happens, here are our 5 best baby swaddles for 2020.