Top 4 reasons to swaddle your baby
Parents have been swaddling their newborns into small baby burritos from the dawn of time. Not only does it look absolutely adorable, but it also serves the purpose of helping your little one to stay calm and sleep more soundly.
If you want to improve your baby’s sleep and wonder if you should try swaddling your baby, here are the top 4 reasons why:
4 reasons to swaddle your baby
1. Sense of Security
A swaddle helps your baby feel safe and secure as he or she adjusts to life outside the womb. Since swaddling can give babies the feeling of being back in the womb, this feeling gives them a sense of security. Further, it helps eliminate anxiety in your baby by imitating your touch, which helps your baby learn to self-soothe.2. Startle Reflexes
Babies are born with involuntary startle reflexes – called the Moro Reflex. These reflexes are involuntary movements in their arms and legs and happen until they get older and learn to control them. As these movements are involuntary, babies are often startled by them, and it can affect their sleep. By swaddling their arms, big movements are limited, and they are - for that reason - less likely to be startled and wake up when sleeping.
One of the factors that increase the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is letting babies sleep on their stomachs or their sides. Swaddling helps maintain the baby’s back-sleeping position while also reminding parents to place the baby on its back to sleep – which is the safest sleeping position at the newborn stage.
4. Regulating baby’s temperature
Newborn babies are not able to regulate their temperature. This means that infants are reliant on external factors - such as swaddling - to keep them at the right temperature. Remember that you are your baby’s thermostat!
A tip to make sure that your baby’s temperature is comfortable is to put your fingers or hand down under the clothes and touch the bare skin either in front of the chest or on the neck just below the clothes. If your baby is warm and dry at a suitable temperature, it’s perfect. But if your baby feels too warm and possibly sweaty, you should take off some of the clothes or take your baby somewhere to be cooled down. If your baby feels too cold, give it some more clothes on, or put it in a warmer place.
Although swaddling comes with the above-mentioned benefits, you need to make sure you're doing it right to avoid danger or discomfort for your baby. Follow these safety tips:
- The swaddle should be snug, but not too tight. You should be able to place two to three fingers between your baby’s chest and the blanket, and the blanket should be loose around the hips so the baby can move its legs freely. Swaddling your baby too tightly may affect her mobility and development.
- Also, the swaddle should not be too loose or that comes unwrapped during sleep could cover a baby’s face and create a dangerous situation.
- Always lay your baby down on his or her back after swaddling.
- Stop swaddling as soon as your baby can roll over on its own.
- Never overdress your baby underneath the swaddle since it can lead to overheating.
- Not all babies like to be swaddled. Babies are different and there are plenty of other methods that can make your baby relax and feel safe. So don’t worry if your baby does not like being swaddled.
- You should always remember that your child may only be swaddled during sleep.
Disclaimer: This guide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you may have.
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