Swaddling a baby simply means wrapping her snuggly in a blanket. Doing so not only ensures she retains heat, but has numerous other benefits, from emotional well-being to physical safety.
Here’s what you need to know to keep your baby warm, soothed and happy.
For the first two months of life, babies have a very difficult time regulating their base temperature. That’s because the hypothalamus gland, responsible for regulating body temperature, doesn’t begin to function for several weeks. It will take several more months for babies to begin to adapt naturally to environmental changes in temperature, and almost two years until they are fully proficient.
That’s why hospitals put little-knitted beanies on newborns and tend to keep the heat cranked up in the maternity ward. One of the main benefits of swaddling is that it ensures your baby isn’t losing body heat. You could find the temperature on the warm side, while your baby is feeling uncomfortably chilled.
Babies also have a perfectly normal Moro (or startle) reflex that lasts for the first four to six months. It’s a sign that their nervous system is still developing, and triggers a sensation that they’re suddenly in freefall. Instinct kicks in and prompts your baby to clutch at the air, looking for something to hang on to. The Moro reflex can be triggered by a loud noise, a change in the light, or even being lowered into bed. Swaddling will stop your baby from being awakened by their startle reflex, and sooth them by keeping their arms and legs held close to their bodies.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, swaddling reawakens the sense of security that your baby felt when he was in the womb. Swaddled babies are calmer, sleep better, and tend to be more contented.
When to Swaddle
Swaddling should begin as soon as your baby is born and continue for anywhere from two to four months. Once your baby is learning to roll over, there is a risk that the swaddle may obstruct his airways if he rolls over on it. It is also thought to put your baby at a higher risk for SIDS, so you need to start thinking about transitioning out of the swaddle once you see him getting ready to roll.
Other signs that it may be time to stop include fussiness at being swaddled or waking in the night after a history of sleeping through. You’ll know when it’s time to move on, and should help your baby transition out of their blanket. Start by leaving their dominant arm out of the swaddle for a couple of nights. Once your baby is accustomed to the partial freedom of movement, leave both arms out for the next several nights. From there, you can switch to a wearable blanket or loose coverings when your baby is sleeping.
How to Swaddle
It is extremely important to ensure that your baby’s hips are free and that she can bend her legs both up and out from her body. This means leaving enough room at the bottom of the swaddle for your baby’s legs to move freely and avoid hip dysplasia.
1. Lay the blanket flat in a diamond shape. Fold the top corner down to within six inches of the bottom.
2. Place your baby’s shoulders even with the top fold.
3. Hold the hands against their chest with the arms slightly folded and bring the left side of the blanket over their body, tucking it under the left shoulder. Tuck it in along the length of the body.
4. Pull up the bottom corner and tuck it over the same shoulder. Make sure you leave room at the bottom for your baby’s legs to be able to move up and away from their body.
5. Pull the right side of the blanket over the baby’s body and put your thumb on the “V” shape near the top.
6. Wrap the blanket up, over the shoulder, and under the back.
7. Bring the end back to the front and tuck it into the front fold.
Our Moon and Baby blankets make an ideal swaddle because your baby’s head will be warm and the bamboo fabric will help with temperature regulation. Bamboo is naturally softer than cotton and will wick any moisture away from her body during sleep. You can find out more about our blanket swaddle.
Get your swaddle blankets by visiting us here Swaddle Blankets
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