Since time began, parents have swaddled their babies. Mums and Dads through the generations have wrapped their babies up before putting them down to sleep. So what is swaddling?
What is Baby Swaddling?
It’s an age-old method for making baby feel safe, secure and ready for sleep. When a baby is born they have a startle-reflex which can make them jump all of a sudden in their sleep. But if baby is tightly-wrapped in a lovely comfy baby swaddle then he or she won’t be jerked awake by these perfectly natural sleep ‘twitches’!
If you wrap your baby snugly in a swaddling baby blanket then it will create a kind of light pressure all around his body. And it is this sensation which magically mirrors the feeling baby once had when in your womb. This makes baby feel safe and relaxed and usually sleepy.
We mustn’t forget that there are always exceptions to every rule and not all babies are the same. So yes, not all babies like being swaddled, regardless of how fancy an organic baby swaddle blanket you have. You could buy the softest bamboo swaddle out there, but some babies just don’t settle when swaddled. Fortunately though, the vast majority do like the sensation of being cuddled closely. And with a bit of luck your baby will hopefully be one of these.
The Lullaby Trust have some guidelines which they suggest parents follow when swaddling their baby.
Swaddling Your Baby
- Don’t swaddle baby above the shoulders
- Don’t swaddle too tightly.
- Keep an eye on baby’s temperature and don’t let them over-heat.
- Use a swaddle made of a thin material
- Do NOT place a swaddled baby down to sleep on their front!
How Long Should I Swaddle My Baby
There isn’t exactly a set age to stop swaddling. Some babies will love being swaddled for a long time whereas others may get frustrated by having their movement restricted when they’re as young as two months. Baby’s safety is paramount however and as soon as your baby is able to roll over onto their front, you must think about stopping swaddling. If a baby can’t roll back onto their back then it is unsafe.
How Do I Stop Swaddling?
Try to get baby used to a few different sleep ‘triggers’ such as a warm bath, soft music and a feed in a dim room. A baby with a good sleep / bedtime routine will settle more easily without a swaddle. Swaddle less tightly in the run-up to stopping swaddling and perhaps leave baby’s arms out and only swaddle from the chest down. You may have a few nights where baby is less settled but it will soon pass.
Most mums who swaddle swear by it, but as I said above, it’s very much up to you the parent or your baby. Happy Swaddling!