Newborns are so adorable, their skin smells so nice, all you want to do is kiss them every other minute. Normally, when they are breastfed, and have a diaper change, the next thing they do is sleep. That’s their only job anyway, right?
We can bet you can remember how your baby looked after her first visit to the nursery. He/she looked like a baby burrito with their precious little head peeking out, didn’t they? While looking cute was a big reason for it, ultimately, the main reason why the nurses wrapped your baby in a thin blanket was to keep your newborn calm and happy; this wrapping method is what’s known as swaddling.
The relationship between keeping your baby serene and swaddling isn’t magic. Here’s how it works. First, it’ll keep the child secure and safe as they adjust to life in the outside world. Secondly, it keeps the arms and legs in place, preventing startle reflexes that could wake up the baby. Lastly, this wrap is so warm and cozy, it’ll lull the kid to sleep faster.
The importance of this technique is evident. The bigger issue now is how to make the swaddle yourself. This article will guide you on how to swaddle your newborn step-by-step.
How to Swaddle a Baby
A nice, comfy swaddle helps the baby settle when he or she is fidgety and is being disturbed by his own startle reflex. However, the whole swaddling process might seem confusing for a new parent, just like it is when your baby swallows bathwater, and you don’t know what to do. Here are the steps to swaddling your newborn.
Step 1: Identifying a flat surface
You’ll need to spread out the cloth or blanket in a diamond shape. One corner should be pointing up on a plane surface. Next, fold the corner at the top down for about 6 inches.
Step 2: Place the baby on the blanket
Place the baby’s head on top of the blanket’s folded edge. This leaves her body to stretch all the way to the bottom corner.
Step 3: Baby’s left arm
Wrap the left portion of the blanket over the child’s chest and left arm. Taking care not to overdo it, tuck the blanket under her right arm and around her back. This step’s end goal is to have the right arm free while the left arm is covered.
Step 4: Bring the bottom up
This is where the baby burrito starts coming into shape. Take the blanket’s bottom corner and fold it up over the kid’s body, tucking it under the first fold right beneath the chin. Ensure the baby’s right arm is straight as you pull the blanket’s right side over the child’s body, tucking it under their left side.
Step 5: Ensuring the blanket is secure
Twist the blanket’s bottom loosely and tuck it beneath the toddler.
Swaddling With a Wrap
Your baby will not always be willing to be swaddled. If they’re too wiggly or have a serious case of the squirmies, you might have to wait it out for a few minutes to let them tire themselves out a bit before swaddling them.
If they’re always trying to worm their way out of the swaddle, you might have to try out alternative swaddles.
You can use swaddle wraps with zippers or Velcro tabs to keep your little one warm and snug. They are as safe as using blankets and deliver the same results without the need for tucking and folding. Instructions on how to set them up vary from vendor to vendor, and you will have to read the instructions or guide carefully.
Is Swaddling Considered Safe?
Any new parent should know that blankets and a toddler’s sleep don’t mix well. This is because swaddling, if not done properly, could create a suffocation risk for the baby. When blankets get unwrapped as the baby naps, they could cover the child’s face, leading to breathing difficulties. Furthermore, as baby sleep is sound and immersive, they’re less likely to wake up or shift sleeping positions.
Being tempted to over-wrap the baby as a precaution against this hazard is understandable, but wrong. If the swaddle is too restricting, especially around the child’s hips, it could force their legs into awkward positions. This unnatural posture could damage her joints, hips, and cartilage.
To keep your newborn healthy and safe, here are a few pro-tips to keep you on the right track:
- Put the baby to sleep on her back. This is widely considered to be the safest position, whether you’re swaddling or not.
- Know when snug is too snug. A general rule of thumb is a well-done swaddle should allow you to fit in two or three fingers at the swaddle’s top. Meanwhile, the bottom of the swaddle should give enough room for the baby’s legs to remain bent and spread out.
- Keep the room at a comfortable temperature; say around 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit. Too much heat will cause problems for the child in the form of sweating, flushed cheeks, rapid breathing, and a heat rash.
How Long do you Swaddle a Baby?
While swaddling is ordinarily safe for newborns, the case might be different when they’ve grown up a bit. This is because they can break free from the wrapping cloth or blankets and suffocate on them.
Furthermore, too much restriction to their natural movements might stunt healthy development, leading to a detriment in their age-appropriate motor skills.
You might want to think about halting the swaddling after your little one has become more boisterous and insists on rolling over. This initially starts happening at around 2 months. However, not all kids are this active at this age, but the verdict is pretty clear on this; stop swaddling the kid by the third or fourth month.
It may not seem like it at first, but you’ll get the hang of it eventually. Parents have been wrapping up their bundles of joy for eons, and so you can be confident your technique will become better and better the more you practice.