I actually had no idea what swaddling was until my sister-in-law gave me the best gift ever when she taught me how to swaddle shortly after my son was born. At the time, I had no idea why or how it worked, but I was just relieved that my son finally stopped fussing!
But now that we do know why swaddling is so awesome, we wanted to share some of that info with you.
As new parents begin to experience sleep disturbance, and sleeping advice from your Auntie’s, cousins, and friends hasn’t worked (very common), parents take to Google searching for the perfect remedy to help their bundle of joy sleep soundly (I know I did!). They soon come across information about swaddling.
We know there are different opinions about swaddling, so in this article I’m going to provide lots of information about swaddling from a health perspective, to give you some useful facts around why swaddling your baby can be so helpful (for your baby, and you!)
What is Swaddling?
By definition, swaddling means wrapping the baby in a soft blanket or cloth, with only the head peeking out. Baby’s body needs to be covered snugly within the blanket, giving them the feeling of being inside mom’s womb.
Swaddling is an ancient practice dating back approximately 4000 years ago to Greece, and is used by parents to provide their newborn baby with a comfortable position to fall asleep and to feel warm and secure.
How does swaddling help a baby sleep?
Back in May 2005, Patricia Franco, MD, PhD carried out a swaddling study with 16 infants, their ages ranging from 6 to 16 weeks, and found that swaddling babies helped them to sleep longer and more soundly. Swaddling also kept in check something called ‘the moro reflex’ or ‘startle-reflex’, which causes the baby to wake up with a start.
After nine months of staying inside the mother’s womb, it takes time for the newborn to get adjusted to their new environment. Some babies find it harder to settle than others. Let’s face it, no two babies are the same!
Swaddling mimics the warmth and coziness of the womb. It also helps a baby to feel secure , to sleep for longer hours, and to soothe a baby (which comes in handy if your child is unsettled right before sleep time). Research also shows that swaddling improves the nonrapid eye movement or NREM of infants, which is considered beneficial for the baby’s sleep cycle.
What are the Dont’s of Swaddling a Baby?
How (and in what type) of fabric you swaddle the baby, plays such an important role in how effective swaddling is.
The swaddling wrap should not be too tight or too loose. Don’t bundle baby in too many layers, it will be uncomfortable for them.
When swaddling, the legs and hips of the baby should not be wrapped too tightly as this could lead to issues with hip development.
Luckily these days, special baby swaddle wraps and baby security blankets are available in gorgeous designs and prints. These are made from soft fabric that is safe for the baby’s skin and designed so that they are not too tight or hot for the baby.
At Coco Moon Hawaii, our swaddles are made with soft muslin that becomes softer with every wash.
When should I stop swaddling my baby?
As a baby grows, parents should try to let them sleep without swaddling. The transition should also be gradual.
According to medical professionals, the right age to stop swaddling is when the baby starts rolling onto their tummy, which is generally when the infant turns two months. But remember, every baby is different, so rely on your own instincts to know when it’s time to stop swaddling.
If you have a newborn that is having a hard time falling asleep, swaddling can be a wonderful help. We suggest parents follow the swaddling guidelines and only use a recommended swaddling wrap or blanket for the very best result.
You can also follow my helpful swaddling guide. The simple to follow video and step by step instructions will have you and baby sleeping soundly in no time.