What is baby swaddling?
Do you as parents remember the first time you saw your little one? How he was wrapped in a blanket? How that thin layer of fabric seems to protect and comfort him. The technique of wrapping your baby tightly in a blanket or fabric is part of the centuries-old practice of “swaddling“. The blanket forms this material protective barrier. It gives them a sense of security and comfort. Parents worldwide have utilized this method to calm their infants and promote better sleep. Baby swaddling has regained popularity in recent years as more and more parents become aware of its advantages. In this article, we will look at the history of swaddling, the advantages, and disadvantages, and offer some advice on how to wrap your infant securely.
History of baby swaddling
Swaddling has been used for many years and is said to have its roots in antiquity. Swaddling was employed in ancient Egypt to simulate mummification. In medieval Europe, it was thought to protect against abnormalities and assure healthy development. In Western Europe and America, swaddling grew in popularity during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was suggested by doctors as a technique to keep infants quiet and stop them from moving around excessively, which was thought to be bad for their development. Babies were frequently put to sleep on their stomachs before the early 1990s. The Back to Sleep campaign was introduced in 1994 when studies revealed a link between tummy sleeping and SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Parents were advised to place their infants in their cribs on their backs rather than their stomachs. The very real need for parents and babies to obtain the sleep they require led to the development of the first generation of swaddling blankets, sleep sacks, swaddle sacks, and a variety of other baby-sleep items. Over the years swaddling products have been modified to cater to the needs of the parents and the baby’s comfort.
Benefits of baby swaddling
Encourages improved sleep
The startle response of newborns might lead them to wake up abruptly and become agitated. They throw their hands in the air and start kicking, where they may hurt themselves. By keeping the baby’s arms and legs tightly wrapped in a blanket they turn into happy little burritos. Swaddling lessens the baby’s uncontrollable movements when they are uncomfortable. The infant will sleep better and for longer if they feel safe and at ease.
Decreases colic and weeping
Babies’ wailing and colic symptoms can be lessened by swaddling. Babies that experience colic cry for extended periods, although the etiology of the condition is unknown. Swaddling a newborn can calm them and give them a sense of security and warmth. This may result in less crying and better behavior.
Resembles the womb
Swaddling can be useful in simulating the womb experience. This is because the infant is tightly wrapped and feels the fabric pressing against their body, just like they did in the womb. This can help the baby relax and experience less stress.
Helps with breastfeeding
By keeping the baby quiet and comfortable and minimizing distractions, swaddling can encourage breastfeeding. A baby is less likely to flail its arms and legs while being swaddled, which can be annoying while breastfeeding. This may enhance the latch and overall nursing experience for the infant.
Additionally, swaddling helps strengthen the attachment between a parent and child. It offers the chance for cuddling and skin-to-skin contact, which can contribute to a feeling of intimacy and closeness. Oxytocin, a hormone crucial for attachment and bonding, can be released as a result of this.
Safety considerations when baby swaddling
Overwrapping or using two blankets to swaddle a baby might cause hyperthermia. SIDS has been connected to this factor. Wet hair and perspiration are indications that a newborn is overheating. Today, parents can use swaddles that are specially made to let extra heat escape, giving the baby ventilation.
Holding the infant “hands-over-heart”
In the past, it was customary to swaddle an infant with his or her arms at the sides, but this might restrict mobility and cause joint problems. Before wrapping, put the baby’s hands over his or her chest. Alternatively, if using a swaddle that doesn’t require wrapping, just put the child inside, put the hands over the chest, and zip!
Select the appropriate material
To prevent overheating and guarantee the baby’s comfort, the swaddling blanket’s material should be light, breathable, and soft. Use lightweight blankets instead than those made of heavy fabrics like wool or synthetic fibers
From birth to two months, use a swaddle
For newborns up to two months old, swaddling is safe. After that, the baby can turn over more easily, which raises the possibility of asphyxia. When the infant begins to exhibit signs of rolling over, it is crucial to gradually remove the swaddling.the infant on their back. To lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), always swaddle the infant on their back. A newborn should never be swaddled while they are on their side or stomach. Watch the infant. To make sure the baby is secure and at ease while being swaddled, it’s crucial to watch over them. Regularly check the baby’s temperature, breathing, and general health.
Avoid wrapping the hips and legs of the infant too firmly.
Hip dysplasia, a disease where the hip joint does not develop properly, can be brought on by swaddling too tightly around the hips and legs. It’s crucial to leave space so the baby’s legs and hips can move freely.
If your child starts to roll over, it’s a good idea to talk to your pediatrician or a baby sleep expert about whether or not you should keep swaddling them. When a baby starts rolling over, you should usually move them to arms-free sleep, although some pediatricians now advise against it as long as the cot is clear of all suffocation hazards such bumpers, pillows, toys, and blankets. An arms-free sleep sack is a great tool for babies to feel comfortable but with their arms free when it’s time to transition.
When to stop swaddling baby?
The infant is turning over.
It’s time to cease swaddling your baby once they can roll over from their back to their stomach or vice versa. Babies who can roll over while being swaddled are more likely to suffocate or become caught in their swaddle.
The infant appears uneasy or restless while being swaddled.
It could be time to quit swaddling your baby if they appear to be resisting the wrap or being restless while it is on. Your infant might want to be able to move their arms and legs with more ease rather than being wrapped in a blanket.
The infant is achieving developmental benchmarks.
Your infant may require more freedom to move around and explore as they develop and hit various milestones. It could be appropriate to stop swaddling your baby if they start to show signs of wanting to move their arms and legs more. A preferred timeline to stop swaddling practices maybe when the baby is 3-4 months old. So that they can learn to self-soothe themselves.
Baby swaddling techniques
Classic Swaddle style
The traditional swaddle entails covering the infant tightly in a square of fabric or blanket. the following steps:
- Lay the blanket down flat with one corner facing you and fold it into a diamond shape.
- With their head above the folded edge, position the infant in the middle of the blanket.
- Take the blanket’s left corner, wrap it around the infant’s torso, and tuck it under its back.
- Fold the blanket’s bottom corner over the infant’s feet and tuck it under his or her chin.
- To wrap the baby’s body tightly, grab the right corner of the blanket and tuck it under the infant’s back.
Sleeping bag swaddling (sleep slack)
A common method of swaddling involves utilizing a particular swaddling sack, known as the “sleep sack swaddle.” the following steps:
- Place the infant into the sleep sack, making sure their arms are included.
- Ensure the baby’s arms are tightly wrapped around their torso before zipping up the sleep sack.
The double-swaddle method uses two blankets or pieces of fabric to create a tighter, more secure wrap. the following steps:
- With the baby’s arms exposed, wrap them with the first blanket.
- With one corner facing in your direction, lay the second blanket on top of the first one.
- The second blanket’s top corner should be folded over the infant’s arms and tucked under the back.
- The second blanket’s bottom corner should be folded over the baby’s feet and tucked under their chin.
- The second blanket’s two sides should be taken, wrapped around the infant’s torso, and tucked under the back.
Swaddle Your Hands Up
A method called the hands-up swaddle enables the infant to have their hands close to their face while still being swaddled. the following steps:
- The infant should be placed with their arms raised over their heads on a flat surface.
- The blanket’s top should be folded over the infant’s arms and tucked under the back.
- The blanket’s bottom should be folded up, over the infant’s feet, and tucked under their chin.
- Wrap the baby’s body with the blanket, tucking each side under the back for a secure fit.
In conclusion, swaddling a baby is an age-old custom that has been used to comfort and settle infants for hundreds of years. Swaddling is the practise of tightly enveloping a newborn in a blanket or piece of fabric, which can help to simulate the sensation of being inside the womb and offer security and comfort. Swaddling provides numerous advantages for both parents and infants, such as better sleep quality, lessening fussiness and screaming, and a lower incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
To protect your child’s safety and healthy growth, it’s critical to understand when to stop swaddling your child. Watch for clues that your baby is ready to be unwrapped. Swaddling can help newborns sleep better and have less screaming, among other advantages. To avoid any mishaps or injuries, it is crucial to select a swaddling technique that is comfortable for both the baby and the parent and e the infant is swaddled securely and appropriately.