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Sometimes the old ways are the best ways, and this is certainly true when it comes to the old-fashioned practice of swaddling infants. Swaddling has been around for centuries, and it is currently undergoing a surge in popularity.
But what is swaddling? And why should you swaddle a newborn?
Swaddling is wrapping your baby tightly in cloth, making a kind of cocoon. Parents find that this practice will often calm a crying baby and cause them to sleep longer, the snug wrap making the baby feel safe in a womb-like environment or as if they’re being held.
The confines of a swaddle also deter startling, which is called the Moro reflex, and “refers to an involuntary motor response that infants develop shortly after birth. A Moro reflex may involve the infant suddenly splaying their arms and moving their legs before bringing their arms in front of their body,” according to Medical News Today.
However, it is also important to put the baby on their back to sleep, whether you swaddle or not, and to stop swaddling once the baby shows signs of turning over.
To be extra safe, there are common recommendations.
According to Dr. Edwards for Healthline Parenthood, “most pediatricians and the chair of the task force for the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe sleep recommendations, advises that parents stop swaddling babies at 2 months … this is because babies begin to roll intentionally at 4 months and doctors want to make sure swaddling stops well before the baby could roll onto their stomach and be in danger. For parents who are worried about their baby sleeping … babies are going to start self-soothing at this age. The startle reflex will start decreasing.”
In the meantime, you’ll be training your baby to sleep longer and happier.
Often, people make the mistake of using a small, regular piece of fabric when the baby needs a large, light, and stretchy blanket to be properly swaddled. Also, it’s safer for the child if you choose organic cotton or bamboo swaddle blankets that are pesticide-free. Don’t forget to pair your swaddle blanket with a matching organic knotted gown for the perfect combination.
A common mistake of new parents is to over-dress a baby. Make sure the child is not red, sweaty, or rashy. If a baby is too warm, consider removing some items of clothing before re-swaddling.
Welcome to the swaddling club! We’re sure you and your baby will love it. When your baby sleeps peacefully and for longer, then the parents get more time to sleep, too.