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Swaddling is the art of wrapping your baby snugly in a blanket or a ‘swaddle’ to make them feel safe and secure, just the way they felt in your womb. While swaddling is heavily recommended by most medical experts, there are some downsides to it if you don’t learn how to swaddle the right way. Before we get to the art of correct swaddling, let’s first look at why swaddling can be beneficial for your baby.
Your baby got used to the safe and secure environment your womb provided. By swaddling your little one, you are helping re-create that warm and safe feeling for them while they slowly begin to adjust to life in the outside world.
Swaddling is also known to help your baby sleep longer. It prevents your little one from getting startled awake by their own sudden reflexes, helping them sleep better.
It can help your baby self-soothe, and is especially beneficial for newborns who suffer from colic.
Here are some tips to keep in mind while selecting the right swaddle blanket for your baby:
The ideal swaddle blanket should be 44x44inches / 112x112cms in size.
Look for swaddles that are made from organic muslin cotton. Organic cotton is free of chemicals and harmful substances, hypoallergenic, and is far more durable than non-organic cotton.
The material must be soft, airy and breathable to prevent the risk of overheating. That’s why organic muslin cotton fits the bill perfectly.
Picking something with an adorable print doesn’t hurt either.
Now that you know why swaddling is so great for your newborn and how to choose the perfect swaddle, let’s take a step-by-step look at how to swaddle your baby.
Step #1.Lay your swaddle blanket on a comfortable flat surface in a diamond shape. Fold the top corner downwards by a few inches, just enough for your baby’s head to stick out. Place your baby down on the blanket. Make sure that the top of the blanket is in line with the top of your baby’s neck.
Step #2.Make sure your baby’s arms are on his/her side before you tuck them in. Now, wrap the left side of the blanket gently over your baby’s body and lightly tuck the edge over your baby’s shoulder.
Step #3.Make sure your baby’s other arm is still on his/her side. Now take the bottom of the blanket and tuck it behind your baby’s left shoulder. When you fold the bottom of the blanket, make sure it is loose enough for your baby to still be able to bend his/her legs naturally. Check this by seeing if they can still bend their legs into a little frog-like pose after swaddling.
Step #4.Take the top corner of the blanket and fold it inwards across your baby’s chest.
Step #5.. Finally, fold the outermost corner of the blanket across your baby’s body and tuck it snugly behind the shoulder.
Like we said before, improper swaddling can lead to several problems. So, here’s a few things you must keep in mind while swaddling.
Always place your swaddled infant on their back and never on the stomach.
If your wrap your baby while his/her legs are strictly bound in a straight position, this could lead to developmental hip dysplasia. Make sure your baby can still bend the legs outward while you swaddle.
Make sure the swaddle is tight enough, so your baby cannot get out of the blanket on their own. This can be very dangerous for an infant.
Over-heating is also dangerous and hence it’s important to make sure your baby is cozy yet comfortable. A light, breathable swaddle fabric is a must for this reason. Do not ever compromise on the material used for the swaddle.
After your baby is 3-4 weeks old, you don’t necessarily have to swaddle them while they are awake, especially if they seem comfortable without the swaddle. You can continue the night-time swaddles.
You can stop swaddling when your baby turns 2-3 months old or when they are able to roll over onto their back.
There you go. You’re all set to swaddle your little one!
Tell us your experiences with swaddling. What benefits have you observed? If you’ve just begun swaddling, have you been experiencing any difficulties? We’d love to help! Just leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you soon.