How to Swaddle Your Newborn like a Pro
Everyone loves a newborn baby, especially their parents. It’s a big change when a new child is born but it’s a much bigger change for the child to be out of the womb of their mother. A womb is a safe place where they grow and come to term. Mom might see them hiccup occasionally towards the end, but once a child is born, some become traumatized in the birth canal and the first few minutes of their lives are critical sometimes. Some babies come out so fast, they are in shock and stop breathing and turn blue, so they have to be stimulated and until they breathe on their own. Then they are cleaned up, swaddled and ready for mom and dad to hold them. The most beautiful gift a parent can have is the gift of life from the child they brought into the world. Here are a few reasons why swaddling is so important and why there is a certain way that works best.
Newborns are used to being tucked away in their mother’s womb for 38 to 40 weeks. They are warm and cozy in the womb and they try and search for that comfort and security so swaddling is a very important step to having a healthy and happy baby. Swaddling can be the key to helping them sleep through the night or a little longer between feedings because they are so comforted.
Swaddling is known as a burrito type wrap for newborn babies. Swaddling has also been around for over a thousand years and Native Americans and other tribes were more likely to swaddle their babies then the Europeans and newly arrived Americans. Parents that swaddle their babies help them to sleep, feel like they are being held close, feel protected, and also helps them calm down. During the 18th century, swaddling wasn’t so popular amongst the rich folks, however; during the 1970’s hippie movement, swaddling made a comeback.
Parents are looking back in history for ways to raise their children to change the idealistic mentality the world has grown into, mainly the increasing violence. Parents are appreciating the natural and ancient ways of caring for their children compared to the parents of 30 and 40 years ago.
Swaddling means simply to tightly wrap up your baby in a blanket to make them feel very secure. This reminds the baby of the mother’s womb because they feel the warmth and comfort of the swaddle. Swaddling is also safe and the swaddle wrap is like a snug burrito that is fastened, and there is no way this blanket will come apart. When swaddling is done correctly, it’s very safe and is a great way to soothe your baby.
Why is swaddling good for the baby?
The reason parents should swaddle is so newborns still get the feel of the womb while they are adjusting to their new environment. This is very soothing and comforting for new babies. Parents should swaddle their babies anytime they are fussy or crying for no reason. This means that you have done everything possible including changing their diapers and they are still crying. Some babies will cry for exercise and it’s their fussy time as well so give them some time to exercise those lungs before you swaddle. Baby’s get the feel of a huge hug when they are swaddled. Bay’s also like to feel snug and swaddling helps them keep calm, and you can always hold your baby and rock them in a rocking chair to help them relax. When parents say the “SHH” sound softly, this too can comfort your child if you do this right. Research has shown that swaddling, rocking and saying Shh Shh softly will put the baby to sleep for longer periods of time.
If you are worried about SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, swaddling doesn’t contribute to SIDS. Swaddling just helps the baby sleep more securely and longer. Just make sure you don’t put your baby on their tummy after they are swaddled because babies that sleep on their tummies are at a higher risk for SIDS. Once your child is rolling around in their sleep, there is no need to swaddle anymore.
The easiest way to create a swaddle for baby is to find some velcro or zipper swaddle, that allows you to tuck in your baby. You can also use soft blankets to make a swaddle and fasten it. You can always look online to find out what your choices are for swaddling material or if you are creative, simply buy some soft fabric and make one yourself.
You can also ask a nurse to help you with your first doctor’s appointment with your baby. You can also take a class for newborns with your significant other. Here are a few steps as well.
Swaddling tips and tricks
Get a blanket shaped like a square and lay it down on the table and make it look like a diamond shape. The top corner should be folded towards the center, so the top has a straight line. Then put your baby on the back so their neck is on the edge. Gently hold your child’s left arm straight down along the side of the baby. Make sure the baby’s neck is on the top edge of the blanket. Don’t let the blanket touch their cheek or they might think it’s time to feed and then the baby might start crying out of confusion. As you are holding the left arm down along the side of baby, take about 4 inches of the blanket from the left shoulder of the baby and pull the blanket across the baby very tight, make sure you start tucking in the blanket underneath the baby on the other side, until it’s snug. Then take the bottom of the blanket and pick it up over your baby’s legs and right arm, and tuck the corner under the right shoulder. It should be loose a bit so the baby can move their feet and legs around. Finish by taking the rest of the corner and put it very tight across the body and make sure their arm is straight. Then tuck the blanket underneath your baby on the other side so the blanket is snug. Make sure you check the swaddle to see if it’s nice and tight and won’t collapse on you. This is where velcro comes in handy when if the part you tucked in gets loose. You can always use duct tape.
Some babies don’t like swaddling because they were in a different position in the womb, so now their arms are straight down. They may start to resist, and if they do, this doesn’t mean they won’t like swaddling, it means they are not used to being swaddled yet. Just keep trying. Make sure you start swaddling as soon as possible because if you wait a few weeks, it might be too late for the baby to enjoy the swaddle. They have already been out in the world for a while now. In case your baby fights swaddling, use gentle pressure and constant pressure on their arms to keep them straight along their sides. This is when your baby will relax their muscles, and it will be easy to keep their arms straight along the sides of your baby.
Some babies don’t need any swaddling, they are happy and content, however; if you have a baby who is cranky, the more swaddling will help mom and dad keep their cool. Swaddling will really calm a baby down but don’t always expect them to stop crying right away. Try the other techniques too like rocking and shushing and anything else you can think of.
It’s time to stop swaddling when your baby is ready to move around. Sometimes babies don’t need to be swaddled around 2 or 3 months old but then again, some like to be swaddled until they reach 6 months old. You can try checking your baby and pull out one of their arms and if they cry, they still enjoy the luxury of the swaddle. If your baby doesn’t mind having one arm out for a week, then try both arms out until they are ready to sleep on their own. When your baby can wiggle out of the swaddle, it’s time to give it up entirely. When a bay wants to sleep freely, then it’s time to remove any extra blankets that might cause SIDS.