Becoming a parent is an exciting and a wonderful journey, but wait until you bring your newborn baby home. Then you’re left to deal with a baby who doesn’t sleep, kicks, squeals and has a hard time settling down. Swaddling the baby is the answer to all these problems. It keeps their little arms and legs tucked in and mimics the environment in the womb. So your baby is calm and drifts off to sleep easily. However, all good things must come to an end, and eventually your little one is going to be too big to put in a swaddle. So, if you’re wondering what swaddling is, how it works and most importantly when to stop, this is the article for you. Read on to know more!
What Is Swaddling?
Swaddling is an old traditional technique used for soothing babies. All you need to do is use a thin fabric or a very light blanket to wrap around the baby’s little body. Swaddling doesn’t just keep your little one warm and cozy, it also ensures that they stay calm and secure. It helps soothe them when they are overstimulated or just need to be held tightly. It also helps your infant get in some quality sleep and reduces their crying. Most babies wake themselves up by accidentally hitting themselves with their legs and hands. They still don’t control all their muscles, so wrapping them up and lightly restraining them without suffocating them will ensure that they sleep soundly. However, you need to keep in mind that not every baby likes or takes to the swaddle. Some may find it too confining. So, introduce it into your routine and see how they react to it.
When Can You Start Swaddling?
Even newborns in the hospital get swaddled successfully, and it’s perfectly safe! It’s one of the many tools that you can use to soothe your little one. However, there are some guidelines that you need to follow in order to do it safely. Make sure to use a thin cloth or blanket made of breathable fabrics. Swaddle up to their arms and shoulders, and ensure that there are no loose flaps that can cover their face. Also tie the swaddle in a way that still makes enough space for your little one to be able to bend their legs up and out at the hips. To prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), always place your baby on their back to sleep, and never on their belly or side.
Signs That You Should Stop Swaddling Your Baby
It’s time to stop swaddling your little one when your baby attempts to to roll. That’s the biggest give away that signifies that keeping your baby restrained is no longer a good idea. Many babies start showing signs of rolling very early, when they are around 3 to 4 months old. However, some babies start rolling around as soon as 2 months old. There are some telltale signs that your baby is ready to roll around that you have to look out for. If your little one is trying to roll onto their shoulders or side, or if they are kicking their legs and scooting in a circle when on their back. Sometimes babies use their arms to lift their chests and arch on their back. They also rock on their stomachs from side to side and kick or twist their legs. They may even twist one leg over the other when they are on their back.
When the infant becomes more mobile, swaddling them becomes impossible as there is a higher risk of them suffocating. The biggest concern is that the baby could roll onto their tummy and find themselves too physically restricted to recover. The weight of the baby doesn’t really matter, as long as they can roll over, it’s time to bring the swaddling days to an end. However, your baby may not initially want to stop being swaddled. But there are ways to help the transition. You can stop swaddling your little one all at once, or you can gradually stop by swaddling them with one arm out of the swaddle for a few nights. Then swaddle them with both their arms out of the cloth. And then you can slowly stop swaddling them altogether. You can also switch to a sleep sack which is far safer for them. This too helps them keep their startle reflexes down and it has removable sleeves.
Yes, swaddling is a fan favorite amongst parents, but your baby doesn’t absolutely need it. If your little one sleeps soundly and would rather be snug in your arms, there’s nothing like it. However, if you do need to slowly wean them off of swaddling, make sure you take your time. This is a big change for your little one but one they will get accustomed to quickly.