Swaddling is a practice that has been used for centuries to help calm and soothe newborns. It involves wrapping a baby snugly in a blanket or swaddle to create a cozy and secure feeling that mimics the sensation of being in the womb. Swaddling can be an effective way to help newborns feel safe and secure, and it can also help prevent the startle reflex that can cause them to wake up suddenly. However, there are some important do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when swaddling a newborn to ensure that it is done safely and effectively.

Do’s of Swaddling a Newborn

  1. Use a Lightweight and Breathable Swaddle

When swaddling a newborn, it is important to choose a lightweight and breathable swaddle. This will help prevent overheating and ensure that the baby is comfortable while sleeping. Look for swaddles made from materials like cotton or muslin that are soft and gentle on a baby’s delicate skin. The Miracle blanket, Swaddle Me, or Ollie Swaddle are a few of my favorites.

  1. Swaddle Snugly, but Not Too Tight

Swaddling should be snug, but not too tight. The swaddle should be wrapped firmly around the baby’s body, but there should still be enough room for the baby to breathe comfortably and move their legs and hips. Overly tight swaddling can increase the risk of hip dysplasia, a condition where the hip joint is not properly developed. Your baby’s arms should be snug to their sides or across their chest. If you feel like your baby is fighting against the swaddle then the swaddle is likely too loose. A properly swaddled baby is generally calm and peaceful. And remember a ¬†baby may cry while being swaddled but they should calm quickly once the swaddle is in place.

  1. Keep the Swaddle Below the Baby’s Shoulders

When swaddling a newborn, it is important to keep the swaddle at or just below the baby’s shoulders. This will allow the baby to move their arms and prevent the swaddle from covering their face or impeding their breathing.

  1. Use a Safe Sleeping Surface

It is important to swaddle a baby on a safe sleeping surface. This means using a firm and flat mattress that is covered with a fitted sheet. Avoid using pillows, blankets, or other soft materials that can increase the risk of suffocation or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

  1. Swaddle for Sleep Only

Swaddling should be used for sleep only. It is important to unwrap the baby when they are awake and to avoid swaddling them during feedings or when they are awake and alert. Babies need time to move and develop their muscles. Spending as much time on their tummy’s as possible will help them in their development and get them off the backs of their heads.

Don’ts of Swaddling a Newborn

  1. Don’t Swaddle Too Tight

Swaddling a newborn too tightly can increase the risk of hip dysplasia and other complications. The swaddle should be snug, but not so tight that the baby is unable to breathe comfortably or move their legs and hips.

  1. Don’t Swaddle Above the Shoulders

Swaddling above the baby’s shoulders can increase the risk of suffocation or impede their breathing. Always keep the swaddle below the baby’s shoulders to ensure that they can move their arms and breathe comfortably.

  1. Don’t Use Thick or Heavy Materials

Thick or heavy materials can increase the risk of overheating and make it difficult for the baby to regulate their body temperature. Stick to lightweight and breathable materials like cotton or muslin to ensure that the baby is comfortable while sleeping.

  1. Don’t Swaddle When the Baby Can Roll Over

Swaddling should be discontinued when the baby is able to roll over with ease. This usually occurs around four to five months of age. Remember, rolling over here and there typically isnt a reason to immediately discontinue the swaddle. Most swaddled babies aren’t going to be able to roll once they’re swaddled for sleep.

 

What’s my Favorite Swaddle?

During my years as an NCS and a sleep coach, I have experimented with various swaddles. Although there are several very good options on the market, I generally recommend The Miracle Blanket if I had to pick just one. It provides a surefire way to keep your little one snug and promote better sleep. Who wouldn’t want that as a new parent? The effectiveness of The Miracle Blanket lies in its ability to snugly wrap your baby’s arms by their sides, ensuring they don’t break free. Additionally, it features a long piece of fabric that creates gentle pressure on their chest and arms, What’s more, the swaddle enables your baby’s legs to move freely, which is crucial in preventing hip dysplasia.

If you want more info on swaddling or sleep reach out! HERE. I’d love to help you!

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