If you’re looking to help your newborn sleep longer and cry less - two things parents definitely want, the answer is swaddling!
Touch is our most ancient, calming sense. So swaddling reminds babies of being in the womb and it's a similar experience to being cuddled skin-to-skin, but its big advantage is that it envelops a baby's body with a soft caress that can soothe them for hours when they’re sleeping … and can't be in your arms.
New babies have very little control over their arms. Swaddling prevents your little one from whacking themself in the face and getting even more upset. It also prevents them from startling themself and disrupting sleep. Once wrapped, a baby can pay attention and be soothed by the other S's (Side-Stomach, Shushing, Swinging or Sucking).
Swaddling is an ancient method for wrapping newborns in a thin blanket or cloth so that movement of the limbs is tightly restricted. It soothes your baby and makes him feel warm, protected and comfortable, as your baby learns to adjust to life outside the womb.
Here's why you should swaddle your baby, if you aren't doing it already:
It makes sure your baby is sleeping on his back, which is extremely important for your baby's comfort and safety.
The swaddle imitates your touch, which keeps your baby calm and free from anxiety.
It protects your baby from their natural startle reflex.
It makes sure your baby doesn't scratch himself while sleeping.
- It helps your baby sleep longer, which means you get a good night's sleep as well!
You probably can’t even count on two hands the amount of wraps and swaddles you were gifted before your newborn arrived, and it’s time to finally learn how to put them to good use.
To ensure that you and your baby get every extra minute of sleep, here’s how to swaddle your baby safely:
Step 1: Start by laying out the swaddle on a flat surface.
Spread your baby’s swaddle blanket out in the shape of a diamond with one corner pointing up on a flat surface. You can use the middle part of your bed as the flat surface.
Step 2: Place your baby face-up on the blanket.
Place your baby's head above the folded edge of the blanket and extend their body straight down toward the bottom corner.
Step 3: Straighten your baby’s left arm.
After completing step 1 and 2, take the left side of the blanket and wrap it over the baby's left arm and chest. Now tuck the blanket underneath their right arm and their back. At this point, your baby’s left arm will be covered but her right arm will be free.
Hang on, you're almost there. 2 more steps to go!
Step 4: Bring up the bottom.
Now fold the bottom corner of the blanket up over your baby’s body and tuck it under the first fold, under their chin. Straighten your baby’s right arm and pull the right side of the blanket over your baby’s body and tuck it under her left side.
Step 5: Secure the blanket.
Lastly, twist the bottom of the blanket loosely and tuck it underneath your baby.
And that’s it! You’re done. Now relax a little while your little one dozes off to the dreamland.
While following these steps there are a few things you should ensure for a safe and comfortable swaddle.
✔️ Always put your baby to sleep on their back to reduce the risk of sudden infant death.
✔️ The swaddle should be snug, but not too tight.
✔️ The baby must not be wiggly. If they are, make sure you take a break before snuggling them and let them finish their movements.
✔️ Swaddle wraps with Velcro tabs or zippers are easier to master than blankets and less likely to become untucked.
✔️ Make sure you choose the right swaddle blankets that are not too tight and nor too loose.
✔️ Since swaddle blankets provide comfort to the baby, they may sleep for longer than usual. Make sure you check them at intervals to see if the blanket is in the right position and does not suffocate them.
✔️ Make sure you invest in a comfortable, and breezy blanket for your baby, which is preferably made from natural fabrics.
If you are too excited to buy one right away, check out our Baby Organic Muslin Wraps. Available in 12+ styles, our wraps are extremely lightweight, breathable and easy to use. Apart from providing the perfect swaddling experience to your baby, our wraps can be used as a pram blanket, comforter, nursing shield and change mat.
We hope you are all set to seek your extra piece of sleep. Happy swaddling, mums!