Swaddling: Is Packing Up Your Baby Tighter Than Tuna in a Can A Good Thing?

swaddling your baby

Written by: Guest Contributor

Published: Apr 16, 2010

Swaddling babies to provide them comfort and a sense of safety is an age-old – perhaps even ancient – technique that has relieved the cries of newborns worldwide.

Folding new babies up snuggly in a blanket in the first month or longer of their lives is a positive and appropriate technique to helping them feel the security they once had in the womb. Not only does it provide warmth and a sense of protection, it also prevents newborns from feeling potential stress by their uncontrollable flailing legs and arms.

“Newborns can’t tell the difference between day and night for the first part of their lives, much less control their undeveloped motor skills,” says Lianne Castelino, co-founder of WhereParentsTalk.com and mother of three. “Tucking your baby up and preventing their arms and legs from flying about will enable them to lay steady, rest, and avoid unnecessary stress. In our experience it also helped induce and prolong their sleep. In fact we swaddled each of our three children for 12 months.”

However, according to What To Expect.com’s recent blog posting, Baby Swaddling — Breaking the bad habit, make sure that swaddling doesn’t end up being one of those calming techniques that prevents your baby from learning better sleep and coping patterns. In addition, make sure your reliance on swaddling doesn’t stop you from intuitively listening to the needs of your baby.

So how will you know when swaddling is no longer nourishing?

“What’s more than likely to happen is that your baby will tell you when he doesn’t want to be swaddled anymore by crying or struggling in his blanket,” explains Andrea Howick, fellow co-founder of WhereParentsTalk.com. “He’ll get to a point where being bundled in that blanket is no longer calming, most likely at the first or second month of his life, because he’ll be more interested in touching the world around him than feeling the warmth and security that swaddling provided.”

So what’s the bottom line? Keep your baby calm and secure through swaddling until they’re ready to touch, move and discover their new world – one of the most exciting stages of your child’s life.

How To Swaddle Your Baby

Make sure the room your baby will be in isn’t too hot – overly hot temperatures have been suggested to lead to Sudden infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – then follow these 10 simple steps:

1. Start by smoothly laying out your blanket on a flat space.
2. Fold down a corner of the blanket.
3. Pick up your baby and put him on the blanket with his head laying on the fold you just made.
4. If he isn’t already, make sure your baby’s head is laying just above the edge of the blanket.
5. Take either the left or right corner of the blanket and envelop over your baby’s arm.
6. Place this corner of the blanket firmly at the side of your baby.
7. Pick up the bottom of the blanket and fold it over your baby’s feet and legs.
8. Pick up the other corner of the blanket still untucked and repeat step 6.
9. Make sure your last tuck is as secure as it can get.
10. Pick your baby up and give him/her a big kiss and snugly squeeze, reinforcing the love and security swaddling brings.

Watch the proper way to swaddle a baby on WhereParentsTalk.com “How To Swaddle Your Baby”


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