So you’ve got a newborn baby, you’ve picked up a muslin or two, you’re all ready to swaddle your little one – but you have no clue where to start.
We understand your confusion. Swaddling is an art, and it takes time and practice to get right. But don’t worry, we’re here to turn you from an amateur into a master swaddler.
All you’ll need to do is follow these steps, tips, and tricks to get the most out of your swaddle blanket – and to make your newborn feel as safe and secure as humanly possible.
The art of swaddling has been around for what seems like forever. For thousands of years, swaddle blankets have kept babies warm and safe. Their womb-like shape helps them adjust to the outside world while regulating their temperature and helping to limit fussiness.
Swaddling your baby also keeps them from becoming overstimulated. It also helps control something called the newborn startle reflex, which means that your baby will be less inclined to make jarring (natural) movements that wake them from slumber.
1. Not only does swaddling help your baby adjust to the world outside the womb – it’s said that the practice also helps babies develop their tactile system to make them more comfortable with being touched. All babies need to experience a healthy amount of touch in the early stages of development, and the womb-like swaddle environment is perfect for this.
2. Swaddled babies often fall asleep quicker and sleep for longer periods of time. This also means more sleep for the parents of the newborn… which, yes, can be equally as important.
3. Swaddling reduces the dangers of suffocation. When blankets are left loose in a baby’s crib, that baby can configure them in any which way. When a baby is swaddled, their environment is already predetermined and the newborn has no way of sticking the blanket, or other miscellaneous objects, in their mouth in the middle of the night.
And there are many, many more to discover. Swaddle blankets are some of the highest-rated and most purchased baby products on Amazon right now, and for a good reason: moms everywhere, even from all different cultural backgrounds and walks of life, are absolutely loving them.
Swaddling your child produces excellent results, especially when it comes to improving your newborn’s sleep routine.
Follow these five simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to swaddle mastery!
The first thing that you’ll want to do is fold your swaddling blanket at its corners so that you end up making a triangle shape. Place this shape underneath your baby, with his or her feet at the triangle’s point and the longest side running behind its shoulders.
Your child’s shoulders should be placed just below the fold. Make sure that your baby is on their back and not on their tummy at this point.
Secure your baby’s right arm along his or her body in a relaxed and ever-so-slightly bent position. Once this arm is in place, take the fabric from the same side of the blanket and pull it across your newborn’s chest. You don’t want to be too tight here, but at the same time, you don’t want the pull to be loose. Make sure your baby is secure in place.
Once you pull the fabric across your baby’s body, tuck the remainder of it in behind their body. Leave the other arm alone until you’re ready to complete the next step.
Your next step is to take the “point” of the triangle, which is situated right by your child’s feet, and pull it up towards his or her neck. The idea here is to tuck the newborn’s feet into the blanket and use the material to thicken the support around their upper body.
For this step, you’re basically repeating Step Two – only with a different arm. Take your child’s left arm and hold it up to their body in a similarly relaxed, half-bent manner. Take the fabric from that side of the blanket and wrap it all the way around your newborn’s body (remember – highly, but not too tightly!) until it can be tucked around the back of their body.
And there you have it, the perfect (and utterly simplistic, might I add) swaddle solution!
The last step is, arguably, the most important. Make sure that your child is comfortable in the swaddle blanket, that their arms aren’t in any sort of awkward position that could cause them pain or discomfort, that the material isn’t suffocating them with heat, that your baby is in good spirits – all of that stuff.
The last thing you’d want is to put your baby in a swaddle and return, minutes later, to realize that it has either come undone or that your baby is even more upset for having being put in an uncomfortable position.
If your baby, for whatever reason, isn’t reacting well to the swaddling (and some babies don’t!), don’t panic. There might be a good reason for this.
Your baby will let you know when they no longer need to be swaddled. They may become increasingly fussy when put in a swaddle blanket, especially one that has been used to hold them for so long – this means that they are ready to graduate from the swaddle blanket lifestyle and move on to bigger and better things.
When, normally, does this happen?
Our answer is between three-and-a-half to six months, but this can change depending on your baby’s individual behaviors and habits.
Congratulations! You are now ready to start your swaddling with style.
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