Swaddling comes with numerous benefits and unfortunately, a few risks as well. However, in this article, we discuss with you how to swaddle your baby in a manner that will make the process as safe and beneficial as possible for your child.
Before anything else, what exactly is swaddling and how long has it been around for? Swaddling has been done for thousands of years (e.g. baby Jesus). In fact, swaddling is done in many hospitals as soon as the mum gives birth to the baby.
Having said that, it is clear that swaddling holds a world of benefits. At present, swaddling has become more popular than ever. Why is this so? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that swaddling offers:
One of the benefits of swaddling that proponents claim is extended sleeping hours, a more relaxed baby, and decreased chances of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS occurring in the baby.
Another benefit that swaddling offers is reduced crying and ensuring that babies sleep on their backs in order to prevent SIDS. It is believed by swaddling proponents that babies that are swaddled feel more secure and exhibit a feeling of calmness, thus allowing them to stay asleep for longer.
What is important is that the swaddling is done correctly. To achieve this, watch a tutorial online to ensure that you are doing the process correctly, ensuring you aren't swaddling your baby to tightly around the hips is very important to promote healthy hip development. Learn more here from the International Hip Dysplasia's website to ensure swaddling is safe and healthy for your baby.
But what does research show about swaddling? Studies have shown that swaddling a baby results in increased levels of REM or rapid eye movement. When one is in the REM stage of sleep, this means that their sleep is in its deepest state. Having said that, this will make it more difficult to your baby to awaken in the event that he is roused.
Research on swaddling
For parents, this will benefit you as you will longer need to make as many trips to your baby’s crib in the middle of the night or even during the baby. Note that newborns sleep for approximately 16 hours each day in three- to four- hour intervals.
In addition, research has also shown that swaddling is helpful for soothing a crying baby. Studies tell us that crying is decreased by 42 percent in infants that are eight weeks old or younger. Unfortunately, there is no solid evidence to prove that this applies to infants that are beyond this age.
Lastly, with regard to sudden death infant syndrome or SIDS, because the baby will be lying on his back, its chances of experiencing SIDS will be significantly reduced as it is babies that sleep on their stomachs whose chances are higher of experiencing SIDS. If a newborn is properly swaddled, it should be facing up and fidgeting and shifting less while it is asleep.
Precautions when swaddling your baby
To swaddle a baby properly, there are several precautions that you need to take. First, you need to understand that a baby’s body heat will be affected by swaddling. Cuddling with mum will provide a baby more body heat than being swaddled, as shown in a research study.
However, swaddling will still keep your baby warm. What you need to ensure is that he does not become overly warm. Otherwise, you risk him suffering from hyperthermia or an overly high body temperature that could be dangerous or even fatal. Use light cotton swaddling blankets unless it is very cold. Keep the baby’s head uncovered.
Lastly, you need to understand that not all babies will be comfortable with swaddling. Yours may snuggle into their swaddle like a bird in a nest, while others will kick and struggle incessantly. If your baby is constantly trying to get on its belly while it is swaddled, it is best not to swaddle him to prevent the occurrence of SIDS. And remember don't swaddle to tightly around the hips to promote - healthy hips.
Consult with your pediatrician as well for additional information on swaddling your baby.
Baby Buy Direct has a great range of baby swaddles available in lots of different colours and designs. Our baby swaddles provide warmth and comfort and are great for cooler nights. See all our baby swaddles in our baby swaddle collection here