Dos and Don’ts of Swaddling Your Baby

Category: Newborns

Getting your baby to sleep soundly might be just as simple as swaddling her right. Find out what you need to know now.

WORDS ANGEL DREWGUS & MELISSA ESPECKERMAN

When it comes to tucking your brand new bub into bed, no pillows or duvets are needed. Instead, all you really need is a thin muslin cloth. To keep your little one nice and snug, you might want to try swaddling her in a soft, cotton sheet. This might help her to settle into her new room better and also provides her with a sense of security.

The book The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan by Alison Scott-Wright states, “Swaddling your baby may also help to reduce the impact of the startle reflex. This is a natural reflex that occurs in young babies, causing them to make a sudden, jerky movement as if they have been startled by a loud noise. It can occur throughout sleep and babies can easily be woken or disturbed as their arms thrash around. Swaddling your baby with his arms across his chest lessens the impact, thus aiding undisturbed sleep.”

According to Kang Phaik Gaik, head parentcraft/lactation, Mount Alvernia Hospital this is what you need to know when it comes to swaddling your baby.

  • Baby should be swaddled snugly in a thin cloth/blanket to help him feel secure in the early weeks after birth. Never swaddle baby too tightly.
  • In the first few days after birth, swaddling baby day and night may remind baby of being in the womb, making him feel warm and secure.
  • Mothers are discouraged to leave baby swaddled through the night as it can interfere with his mobility and normal development.
  • Some mothers find that swaddling the baby at bedtime is an effective way to soothe the baby to sleep. Once the baby is asleep, remove the swaddle.
  • A baby that is swaddled should not be placed to sleep on his tummy. This is to avoid him being suffocated. Mothers are advised to place baby on their back to sleep.
  • As soon as the baby grows bigger and stronger and can roll over, stop swaddling him. Swaddling for a long period may interfere with his mobility and development on his hip joints.
  • Most babies prefer not to be swaddled after six to eight weeks. If the baby resists being swaddled and is constantly freeing himself or rolling over in the night, it may be time to stop swaddling.
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