Swaddling is popular due to its simplicity and effectiveness. For thousands of years newborns have been swaddled as a way to make them feel safe and warm. Swaddling helps babies adjust to life outside the womb and helps to combat issues such as overstimulation. One of the main reasons swaddling makes the transition from the womb easier is because it mimics the secure and cosy feeling the baby would have experienced in the womb. It has also been shown that swaddled babies are more likely to fall asleep quickly and sleep more consistently throughout the night; which means more rest for everyone.
All swaddling takes is a muslin and two hands, the secret to swaddling is to find a technique which suits you and establish a routine that is tailored to you and your little one.
Step by Step Guide to Swaddling
Start by folding the swaddle into a diamond shape and place the baby onto it with their shoulders central just below the fold of the straight edge.
Place your baby’s right arm alongside their body, with a slight bend. Take the right side of the swaddle, pulling it securely across the baby’s arm and torso and tucking the fabric underneath the baby. Leave the left arm free.
Next, take the bottom point of the swaddle and bring it up and over the baby’s feet, tucking the point into the top of the swaddle; making sure its secure.
Then essentially repeat step 2 with the left arm. Place their left arm alongside their body with a slight bend and wrap the remaining swaddle over their body and secure the fabric under the baby.
Benefits of Swaddling
In addition to mimicking the comfortable and secure environment of the womb and soothing babies to sleep there are also other benefits to swaddling. Swaddling is able to keep the baby at a comfortable temperature; the muslin swaddle is breathable and moisture wicking so prevents overheating whilst keeping the baby comfortably warm. Swaddling also reduces the risk of accidents in the crib such as suffocation as it prevents babies from pulling sheets over their faces (although loose sheets and fabric should not be in the crib at all). The swaddle keeps them in position preventing too much movement from occurring whilst they sleep.
Usually between 3-6 months babies will grow out of swaddling. You’ll be able to tell as they will usually begin to fuss whilst being swaddled or fight their way free. After this you can turn to other things such as sleeping bags or sacks which still provide comfort without as much restriction.