There are very few things that can replace a mother’s warmth. Swaddling is one such thing.
Who wouldn’t love to see their babies have a peaceful sleep? A sleep-deprived baby can be quite a handful. Moreover, if the sleeping patterns are maintained properly, the baby would grow well, physically and mentally.
Confused why we suddenly moved from swaddling to sleep? It’s because they are interlinked. Infants sleep better if they are swaddled. MomJunction gives you some much-needed information on how to swaddle a baby and would help you buy amazing swaddling blankets that can keep your baby warm and give him some much needed calm time. Also, check out our tips on swaddling and safety precautions.
What Is A Swaddling Blanket?
So, what are these swaddling blankets? The blankets recreate the environment that was in the womb. They give the baby the perfect warmth and comfort needed to sleep better. Plus, you have peace of mind.
Best Swaddle Blankets For Newborns:
Swaddling blankets come in various materials. The best, however, is muslin or cotton. If you are on the lookout for a good swaddling blanket for your infant, your search ends now! Here are the best baby swaddle blankets to choose from:
1. Bebemooi Sleephack
Made from 100% cotton material, this amazing sleep bag ensures that your baby gets the perfect sleep in the coziest atmosphere.
With a zipper all the way through, this bag mimics the atmosphere in the womb. The pajamas make the baby comfortable, and the bag gives the baby enough room to move his legs. Travel-friendly and easy to clean, the material of this bag makes air exchange easy and regulates the temperature as well.
2. Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets:
Most new mothers swear by this product! These blankets come in two sizes – 42” x 42” and 47” x 47”. So, make sure to order the right size. These swaddling blankets are light, yet they keep the little one warm. They are made of 100% cotton. The more you wash, the softer the blanket will become. Yes, these blankets are not the cutest in the market, but they do get the job done!
3. Halo Sleepsack Swaddle:
The Halo Sleepsack Swaddle comes in two varieties: 100% polyester version and 100% cotton version. They also come in three sizes: preemie, newborn and small. These swaddles have a zipper and Velcro, making them easy to use.
4. Summer Infant SwaddleMe:
Just like the Halo, the Summer Infant SwaddleMe also comes with a Velcro design. But the one thing most mothers love about these swaddles is their design. If you are looking for colorful designs, go for the Summer Infant SwaddleMe. These blankets come in two sizes: small/medium and large. If you want a swaddle that is easy to use and looks cute, this is your best bet!
5. Miracle Blanket:
If you are a swaddling pro, this product will ‘speak’ to you. The Miracle Blanket does not use any zipper or Velcro. Instead, they use a unique and complicated wrapping process. The wrapping process involves elaborate steps and may seem confusing to some. But most mothers have only good things to say about the Miracle swaddling blanket. The only downside is that it does not come in different sizes. It also does not boast of cute designs but keeps wiggly infants safe and warm!
This is one of the best swaddle blankets for moms who like to keep things simple. Just put your baby in and zip it up! It comes with a stretchy fabric that allows your infant to move around and be comfortable.
Just like the Woompie, the Swaddlepod, too, is a no-fuss swaddle blanket. It is ideal for newborns and prevents startle reflex that can wake your baby up.
Why Is Swaddling Important?
Besides what we did mention above, let us quickly check these points out (1).
- Keeps the baby comfortable and calm by giving him a womb-like experience and atmosphere.
- Places the arms tightly towards the sides thus preventing a startling reflex, which not just wakes babies up from their slumber but could also increase the heart rate. As the arms are held close together even if the baby gets startled, he wouldn’t wake up suddenly.
- Maintains the right temperature, much like the baby was used to in the womb. Swaddling blankets made of muslin or cotton cloths ensure good air circulation and the right temperature.
- Prevents suffocation unlike loose blankets, which could lead to Sudden Infant Death.
Swaddle blankets are important, but what is equally important is the process of using them. Learning to swaddle your baby could take a few (read two to three attempts). You have to ensure that the baby is comfortable while you’re swaddling him. We know you will surely appreciate some help here.
How To Swaddle Your Baby?
While this isn’t rocket science, you have to consider a few things when swaddling the baby: his comfort is number one on the list, his willingness to be swaddled is number two and then the material and thickness of the blanket. Let’s know how to swaddle a baby.
1. Choose your blanket:
- Consider the shape (should be square), size (preferably 40×40”), the material of the blanket, and the elasticity of the blanket.
- The blanket could be a little (but not very) stretchable. This would help you wrap the baby nicely.
2. Fold the blanket:
- Fold the blanket in a diamond shape from the top corner of the blanket.
- The fold should be as long as your baby is.
3. Place the baby on the blanket:
- Once the fold is made, place the baby on it.
- Make sure that the baby’s neck and face are above the fold.
- Support the neck while you are swaddling the baby.
4. Fold the baby’s arms:
- One way could be to hold the baby’s arms around his sides. This way, the arms would outline the baby’s sides.
- Another way is to fold the hands over the tummy to replicate the posture in the womb.
- Whatever way you use, make sure that the baby is comfortable.
5. Wrap a side:
- Hold the blanket on the side of one arm and tuck it in the downward direction under the fist of the other arm.
- The blanket should be tucked in such a way that it holds the baby’s arm in place.
6. Close the bottom:
- Once one arm is adjusted and swaddled, close the bottom of the swaddle.
- The section, which is left at the bottom, should be folded towards the upward direction near the baby’s neck. The side should be the one where you just tucked the baby.
7. Wrap the second arm:
- Just like the first arm, adjust the other arm and wrap it around.
- This should come over the fold that you made from the bottom of the swaddle.
- Cross it on the downward opposite side.
8. Tuck the left over:
- The left-over blanket from the second arm should be flipped over from the legs to the top in such a way that it forms a V-neck.
- Tuck it under the shoulder of the first arm. You may have to lift the baby up a bit to complete the final tuck of the swaddle.
Things to remember:
- Give the baby enough leg space and make sure that the baby can move his legs inside the swaddle. Bad swaddling could sometimes lead to hip dysplasia if the swaddle does not have enough room for the baby’s feet.
- Do not tighten the swaddle. A tighter swaddle does not mean the baby is comfortable. You should only make the baby feel warm, not suffocated.
- Once the swaddle is done, check for air circulation and monitor the baby’s temperature.
At last, we know how to make our tiny fellas comfortable. But it doesn’t end here. There are still a couple of things you could take home!
For How Long Can I Swaddle My Baby?
And by that we mean the age until which you can swaddle the baby. It is best to swaddle your baby until three or four months, but some parents prefer to do it for a good nine months.
While most doctors recommend swaddling until four to six months, they also agree that there is no harm in extending it. The idea is to make your baby feel relaxed and comfortable while sleeping.
Once your baby gets used to sleeping without a swaddle, then you can do away with it. And how would you know when to wean your baby off a swaddle? The best way is put one arm off the swaddle. If your baby isn’t sleeping well and seems irritable, he is not ready yet. So wrap the baby back. After nine months, make conscious attempts to wean the baby off the swaddle.
When Should You Avoid Swaddling?
Swaddling is not suitable in all the cases. You need to avoid swaddling at times:
- Hip dysplasia is an abnormal bone formation in the hip section. Because of the abnormality, the bone does not fit well in the socket. If your baby has this, do not swaddle him. Check with your doctor and make sure that the baby is swaddle-ready.
- Avoid swaddling when the baby is not sleeping but trying to play or move. While this may seem logical, the idea is to swaddle the baby only when you are trying to calm him or put him to bed.
Risks Of Swaddling:
Swaddling is comfortable both for the baby and you, but it is not free of risks. This does not mean that we are discouraging you from swaddling your baby, but we just want you to be more careful. The two major risks involved are:
While swaddling prevents Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), it may also promote it. Confused? If you do not swaddle the baby properly, and the folds are too close to the baby’s neck (thereby obstructing the windpipe), there are chances of SIDS. So make sure that you’re swaddling the baby correctly and leaving enough room near the neck region.
2. Lack of “arousal”:
A lot of babies lose their ability of arousal if they are swaddled for too long. This means they wouldn’t know when to wake up. While many parents want their babies to get a good sleep, babies should be swaddled for a limited time only.
An infant needs around 12-16 hours of sleep every day. And you need at least seven! A swaddling blanket can ensure enough sleep for you both. But, make sure that you get it right!
Have you thought of using a swaddling blanket? Are you already using one? Why don’t you review the brand for us? Just type in your views in the comments section below.