The Benefits of Swaddling
Swaddling is the act of wrapping a baby in a cloth or garment. It resembles the feeling of being in the mother’s womb, all warm and cozy. If you have ever noticed your tiny one twitching and jerking during his/her sleep, then you are already privy to the startle reflex. Often times these sudden movements awaken a baby from their sleep. Being swaddled up helps babies in falling asleep and prevents their startle reflex from jerking them awake allowing for unbroken sleep and a well-rested baby and you!
Being swaddled makes a baby feel like they are being held by you, hence it reduces their anxiety and allows them to learn how to self soothe. It also prevents babies from touching their face and accidentally scratching themselves. Swaddling is especially useful if you have a colic baby.
SIDs or Sudden Infant Death syndrome refers to the unexplainable early demise of babies within their first six months of their life. It is usually caused by unsafe sleeping positions and environments. It is advised to place babies on their back while they sleep. The back sleeping position is the best sleeping position for a baby since it reduces the risk of SIDS. Unsafe sleeping environments can include overly cluttered areas and places exposed to cigarette smoke. SIDs can also be triggered if the mother smokes during pregnancy or if the baby is exposed to passive smoking post birth since this causes the baby to overheat or develop post-natal infections. Swaddling thus, also allows babies to sleep on their back and prevent SIDs by eliminating the need for extra items in the crib such as pillows and extra bedding.
How to Swaddle a Newborn Baby
- Place your swaddle blanket on a flat but soft surface. Create a diamond shape with your blanket with the bottom point of your diamond facing you.
- Fold the top part of the blanket to create somewhat of a triangle shape. Align your baby’s shoulders with the flat line caused by fold you made. Your baby’s feet should be pointing towards you.
- Hold down your baby’s right arm and pull the blanket across the right side of his/her body. Now tuck the corner of the blanket under the baby’s left shoulder.
- Now pull the blanket over your baby’s feet, nice and tight, and tuck it behind his/her left shoulder. The left arm should be free but within the swaddle.
- Wrap the remaining cloth over your baby’s remaining arm and chest and tuck under his/her back.
Precautions to take while Swaddling.
- Do not wrap your baby up too tightly since this can lead to developmental issues, especially in the hips if the baby cannot move his legs and hips.
- Wrap your baby up just tight enough to prevent the cloth from coming loose. It can be dangerous if the swaddle comes undone and covers his/her face since this can lead to them overheating which is one of the presumed causes of SIDs.
- Remember to ALWAYS place your baby on their back after swaddling them.
- Do not swaddle your baby once they begin to roll over.
- Use a light and breathable cloth for swaddling purposes. Try not to use extra bedding and blankets since the baby could overheat. Moreover, extra cloth in the crib could also lead to suffocation.