Swaddling is the age-old practice of wrapping a baby in a lightweight blanket or sheet, to keep them calm and secure as they fall asleep. The centuries-old technique is thought to have originated in Central Asia, as far back as 4000 BC, to keep a baby warm and immobilised, to induce sleep.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about swaddling, as well as answer the question ‘do doctors recommend swaddling?’
How do you swaddle a baby?
- Choose a muslin cloth, lightweight blanket, or thin sheet, as your swaddle wrap. This should be square-shaped.
- Lay down your swaddling blanket on a flat, safe surface, like the floor.
- Arrange the blanket in a diamond shape. Turn the top point of the diamond down and smooth it out.
- Put the baby down gently on their back on top of the blanket.
- Put the baby’s right arm down gently by their side and wrap that side of the blanket up over their right arm and across their front over to the left.
- Tuck the blanket snugly underneath their left side.
- The idea is to wrap your baby gently but firmly, so they feel snug and secure without restricting their legs from falling into a natural frog-like position. Always make sure their neck and face are uncovered.
- Bring the bottom corner of the blanket straight up and fold it upwards towards the baby’s shoulders, making sure it does not cover your baby’s neck or face in any way.
- Place your baby’s left arm down by their side and wrap the blanket up over their left arm across their front and across to the opposite side of their body. Tuck it behind their right side.
Why is swaddling helpful?
Tucking your baby into a swaddle wrap keeps them snug and cosy. Swaddling also makes a great photo opportunity for parents, who enjoy seeing their bundle of joy wrapped up like a burrito!
When you swaddle your baby, this provides numerous benefits for both the little one, and yourself.
Here are several reasons why swaddling might be a good idea:
- It reassures the baby, as it eases anxiety and provides the security and sense of containment that they were used to inside the womb.
- It promotes sleep, as it helps the baby settle quicker, and for longer.
- Swaddling prevents unnecessary wake-ups, due to the baby’s natural startle reflex. This allows the parents to get more sleep!
- Research has shown that premature babies who were swaddled were calmer and had improved neuromuscular development and better muscle tone, because the swaddle wrap eased pain and discomfort.
- It can soothe a colicky baby, as they will be lulled to sleep in the snug swaddle.
- It helps the baby stay asleep during night-time feeds and nappy changes.
- Tucking the baby’s arms stops him from flailing his arms or poking his eyes, which can wake him up during sleep.
- It reminds the parents to put the baby to sleep on his back.
- A swaddle blanket can aid with temperature regulation, as it stops the baby from feeling too hot or too cold.
- Swaddling keeps the baby’s arms by his sides, which stops him from rubbing and scratching his face.
- A swaddle wrap can also be used as a breastfeeding cover, as it hides the mum’s chest area and the sight of the baby feeding- to give the mother privacy.
Do doctors recommend swaddling?
So, do doctors recommend swaddling?
The majority of doctors and midwives will say that swaddling is helpful for some babies, but not all of them.
Swaddling can be very effective at soothing a crying baby and lulling her to sleep, but only if it is done correctly.
The safety and sense of security from the swaddle wrap can calm the baby and help her adjust to life outside the womb.
Correct swaddling can be very effective to keep a baby safe and secure. For instance, the physical restraint of the swaddle wrap stops the baby from rolling over during sleep. Infant rolling is dangerous because a rolling baby might end up in a position that restricts her breathing and then be unable to get out of it.
Additionally, studies have shown that swaddling reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) when babies sleep in the supine position (on their backs). Back sleeping is the safest way for young babes to sleep, to protect against SIDS.
A swaddle wrap can also be extremely useful for breastfeeding, as it can act as a comfort blanket and a privacy cover. It also visual distractions from the baby’s environment, thereby encouraging the infant to focus on feeding. Research has shown that babies who are breastfed are at lower risk for SIDS, compared with babies who were never fed breastmilk. Therefore, swaddling can definitely have a positive impact on breastfeeding, making it a more comfortable experience for both mother and child.
Incorrect swaddling can be dangerous for babies. If the baby’s legs are too restricted inside the swaddle wrap, then she won’t be able to bend and kick her legs, which exacerbates the risk of developmental dysplasia of the hip.
You should stop swaddling a baby as soon as they are able to roll over. This usually happens at around 3 to 4 months old, but some babies can roll over earlier than this, while others may take longer. It can be very dangerous and even deadly if a baby rolls over while swaddled, as they can suffocate in their sleep.
Where can I buy a swaddle wrap?
At Mama Jewels, we have designed our products to make your routine with your newborn baby as comfortable as possible.
To learn more about our swaddle wraps and muslin products, click here to read our blog articles on:
We offer Swaddle Wrap Breastfeeding Covers, which are ideal for wrapping your baby to sleep.
Use this product to swaddle your newborn baby snugly, to give them a blissful rest.
This is a must-have item for breastfeeding mothers, as it provides an airy space and acts as a barrier, to provide privacy for the intimate moments of nursing or pumping milk.
Made from bamboo and organic cotton, our Swaddle Wrap Breastfeeding Cover slips nicely over the body, feeling roomy and comfortable, like a one-shoulder top. The material is lightweight and breathable, so your little one won’t feel overwhelmed or overly hot under the fabric.
We know how wriggly, distracted and fussy babies can become during breastfeeding. That is why our Swaddle Wrap Breastfeeding Cover is also perfect for minimizing distractions in the baby’s eyeline, and keeping his focus on feeding.
What’s more, our Swaddle Wrap Breastfeeding Cover creates a protective barrier for any nursing mums who experience spraying or leaking from their breasts, due to an overabundant milk supply.
Our Swaddle Wrap Breastfeeding Cover is available in these stylish patterns:
- Pastel Flower swaddle wrap
- Natural Leaf swaddle wrap
- Terracotta Leaf swaddle wrap
- Monochrome swaddle wrap
- Mustard Swirls swaddle wrap
- Mustard Dots swaddle wrap
We also offer Muslin Dribble Bibs, which are practical, ultra-absorbent and wonderfully soft against a baby’s delicate skin.
Our muslin bibs are less bulky than traditional bibs, making them perfect for smaller babies.
Made from 70% Bamboo and 30% Organic Cotton, the bib is machine washable and features a double popper fastening at back.
Click here to shop our:
Should newborn babies be swaddled all day?
No, a baby shouldn’t spend all day wrapped in a swaddle blanket. The baby should spend some time outside of the swaddle, so she can move her arms and legs.
You should give her the opportunity to use her hands to touch objects like toys, which will encourage her to develop motor skills.
Using the swaddle wrap for naps and bed-time only will help your baby associate it with sleep. Once you start swaddling, this will signal to the baby that it is time to wind down and go to sleep.
To keep your baby safe when swaddling him:
- Never cover up the baby’s face and neck, as the swaddle wrap can obstruct his breathing if this happens.
- Choose a thin, lightweight swaddle wrap. The material should be breathable and comfortable on the baby’s skin. A hypoallergenic material like cotton is an excellent choice.
- The swaddle wrap should not feel too tight, especially around the hips. It should be snug, but comfortable.
- Make sure the baby doesn’t wear too many layers of clothing underneath the swaddle wrap, to prevent him from overheating.
- Make sure the baby has enough room inside the swaddle wrap to stretch and flex his legs.
- If the baby’s skin feels hot or sweaty, then remove the swaddle wrap or a layer of clothing, so he can cool down.
About Mama Jewels
Mama Jewels is an independent gift box company, selling planet-friendly and vegan-friendly artisan gifts, to help make the transition to motherhood easier and more comfortable for pregnant mums and new mums.
Shop our Swaddle Wrap Breastfeeding Covers here. These make an adorable gift to include in a gift hamper for an expectant mum or new mother!
For more gift hamper inspiration, click here to read our articles on:
- What To Put In A Baby Girl Hamper?
- What To Put In A Baby Boy Hamper?
- Mum To Be Gifts Ideas
- Adorable New Mum and Baby Gift Hampers
- What is Baby Shower Gift Hamper?
We hope you now have the answer to the question ‘do doctors recommend swaddling?’
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