The Many Benefits of Swaddling
Your baby's sleep can be improved with some safe swaddling! Help your baby sleep safely and peacefully throughout the night, helping mom and dad sleep longer, too.
If you look at any parenting book or website about how to care for a new baby, you'll be sure to see something about swaddling. That's because a swaddled baby is typically a happy baby - and one that sleeps longer, which is what all parents of newborns desperately need!
Swaddling is an excellent way for babies to feel soothed, calm, and able to cope with the outside world. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that swaddling healthy infants can be an effective technique to calm babies, reduce infant crying, and promote restful sleep.
The Advantages of Swaddling & How It Helps Your Baby Sleep Longer
When you create your baby registry, you'll probably add all kinds of items, from baby bottles, to cribs, to diaper rash cream, to onesies and sleep gowns. One thing every parent should have on their baby registry is a blanket made for swaddling your baby!
Swaddling helps newborns feel snug, get more sleep, and begin to self-soothe. It prevents the frustrating newborn startle reflex that causes them to wake up frequently during the night. If you want to swaddle your baby, be sure to buy blankets that are soft, breathable, stretchy, and large enough to wrap your baby in.
Why is it important to swaddle a baby?
Swaddling your baby doesn't have to be difficult. Many babies enjoy being swaddled, especially in the early days and weeks. Swaddling mimics life inside the womb, and helps the baby sleep more peacefully.
Being swaddled allows your little one to have a cozy environment to rest away!
How long should babies be swaddled for?
While it can be tempting to keep your baby swaddled for longer periods of time, even during the day, it is important for your baby to have their legs and arms free throughout their awake periods. Babies should have ample time to move, stretch, and wiggle during the day!
Caution: Don't swaddle too tightly.
Protect your baby's hips by not swaddling too tightly. Parents should also take caution to prevent overheating by not swaddling their baby too tightly. Before your baby is born, it might be helpful to ask your doctor or pediatrician how to swaddle safely so that your baby safely grows and develops.
Caution: Don't swaddle babies for excessive amounts of time.
Although it can be adorable to watch your baby all warm and snug in their swaddle, it's important for babies to have time to wiggle and move throughout the day! Swaddling too much or too tightly can cause issues like hip dysplasia. Don't let swaddling come in the way of unrestricted movement or tummy time. These activities are important for your baby to develop motor skills.
What are the three benefits of swaddling babies?
There are many benefits of swaddling. It helps a baby fall asleep, creates a womb-like environment for your baby, and helps them stay cozy and happy!
1. Temperature regulation.
One thing that causes problems with newborns sleeping is their inability to regulate their body temperature, causing them to become to warm or too cold. Swaddling with breathable, lightweight fabrics ensure that your baby doesn't get too hot or cold while they are sleeping, allowing them to feel comfortable all throughout the night.
2. Reduces the startle reflex.
Swaddled babies have fewer instances of the startle reflex (also called the Moro reflex) that causes them to experience a falling sensation that makes them flail their arms and legs. While the startle reflex isn't concerning, it can cause infants to wake more frequently during the night. Sleeping soundly becomes easier once swaddling reduces this pesky reflex.
3. Reduces the risk of SIDS.
Swaddled babies have a decreased risk of SIDS, especially when combined with safe sleep practices. Infants should also be put to bed on their back (not their stomach or side). When you swaddle your baby, it's easier to remember to place them on their back to sleep.
Remember to always practice safe sleep.
When your baby begins to show signs of rolling, it's time to stop swaddling. Always keep your baby's head uncovered, keep loose blankets and pillows out of the crib, and never put stuffed animals in the sleep space with an infant.
Do newborns sleep longer when swaddled?
Some parents find that swaddled babies wake less frequently throughout the night. If you notice your baby sleeps better while swaddled, continue to do so until it is no longer safe (when they begin to show signs of rolling).
However, your baby's arms and baby's legs need time and space to wiggle and move, so it is important for caregivers not to swaddle for extended amounts of time (excluding nighttime).
Newborns need time to move, stretch, bathe, and eat. Skin contact is also important for infants.
Keep your baby safe by stopping swaddling when they show signs of rolling over onto their belly. This happens anytime between 2 and 4 months of age. Your baby doesn't need to be able to fully roll before you need to stop using the swaddle - parents should watch for signs that their baby is ready to roll over.
When is it important to stop swaddling your baby?
Parents should stop swaddling as soon as their baby shows signs of rolling.
Reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome by getting rid of swaddles when you notice your baby starts to roll. At that point, transition the baby into an arms-free sleep sack or sleep bag or other methods where the baby's arms aren't constrained by a swaddle blanket.
Your baby's crib should always be free from everything except the mattress and fitted sheet. Baby safety includes a sleep environment free from loose blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, decorative items, and toys. All of these pose an increased risk for infant injuries or death.
The swaddle can be a lifesaver for parents of newborns.
A swaddle creates a womb-like environment for your little one, which is why many babies love being swaddled! The benefits of swaddling are extensive, and as long as people swaddle their baby properly to avoid hip problems and other dangers, swaddling can be an amazing resource to help the baby sleep more peacefully.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.