Since 4,000 BC, parents have been swaddling their babies. Swaddling is using a light blanket to wrap your baby in to help them feel safe, secure and to mimic the feeling inside the womb. In the womb, babies are wrapped like a cocoon and when they come out into the world, it’s the first time they’re able to stretch out their arms and legs, which can lead to an increase in their startle reflex. There are many benefits to swaddling and I’m here to share them with you!
10 Benefits Of Swaddling Your Baby
There are many benefits of swaddling your baby. Before I dive into them I want to share that swaddling is safe and recommended by the AAP. Not only does it ensure your baby’s legs and arms are tightly wrapped but it’s a great way to ensure your newborn baby is a safe sleeping position, this can put your mind at ease!
1. Mimic the feeling in the womb
When your baby was in the womb, their sleeping position was being wrapped up and cuddled. Swaddling helps to mimic that warm, cozy feeling!
2. Minimizes the startle reflex
Swaddled babies have a much easier time dealing with the startle reflex, also known as the moro reflex. The moro reflex is a reflex when babies arms and legs startle or jolt which can be very disruptive to sleep.
3. Calming and soothing
Swaddling can really help a crying baby! If your baby is fussy or refusing to settle or sleep, try to put them in a swaddle. Swaddling and the comfort they feel from it, can help calm their body and help them settle down.
4. Encourages safe sleep
Every parent wants their child to be safe sleeping and swaddling can help keep your baby safe. When a swaddle is put on correctly (see below), there is no loose material or blankets that could harm your baby.
5. Eliminates anxiety
The feeling of the swaddle actually imitates parents’ touch which helps eliminate your babies anxiety and fussiness.
6. Controls body temperature
Safe swaddling using appropriate material can help control your baby’s body temperature so they are not too warm or too cold. A cotton or muslin swaddling blanket over a onesie is enough to keep your baby comfortable. My tip is to dress your baby in one layer more than what you are wearing, feel the back of their neck to determine if they are cold or warm.
7. Keeps hands off face
A tight swaddle will help keep your baby’s arms by their sides and off their face, this will help keep your baby sleeping!
8. Keeps baby on back
For newborns who aren’t showing any signs of rolling, dressing your baby in a swaddle will help keep them on their back. When your baby starts to show signs of rolling, make sure you don’t swaddle them anymore for safety reasons.
9. Reduce incidence of SIDS
Putting your baby in a swaddle, in a flat sleep space, will help reduce the risk of infant death syndrome (SIDS). Studies have shown that using a safe swaddle and placing the baby in a sleep environment with nothing but the baby will help reduce the risk of SIDS.
10. Parental benefits
Parents can rest easy knowing their baby is safe when using a safe swaddle! Swaddling is a great tool to calm your baby and keep them comforted.
How To Swaddle A Baby
Lay a swaddle blanket or swaddle product on a flat surface. If using a swaddle blanket, folder the top corner down
Place baby so shoulders are on the edge of the blanket and put babies arms to their sides.
Wrap the left side of the blanket and tightly tuck the blanket in under your babies side. Make sure you tuck this side in really tight!
Wrap the right side of the blanket tightly around your baby and tuck in the top backside of the blanket
Swaddling your baby and doing it properly is a key element to safe and restorative sleep for your baby and YOU! If you’re unsure how to swaddle, use the image above to help. There are lots of great swaddle products that make swaddling much easier!
What to do when you’re ready to transition out of the swaddle?
The AAP recommends to stop swaddling at around 8 weeks or when your baby beings to show signs of rolling. It can be a big transition for babies to have their arms free and to change their sleeping position. In order to ease into the swaddle transition, start by taking one arm out of the swaddle and after a few nights of that, take the other arm out. Once your baby is comfortable with that, it’s time to transition your baby to a sleep sack. Sleep sacks are a safe, sleep bag. Avoid any sleep sack that is weighted, they are not safe. As always, do not have loose blankets in your babies crib, they will be warm enough in a onesie and sleep sack. Tip – check the back of their neck to feel their body temperature, if they are cool behind the neck add a layer, if they are warm, take a layer off!