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13 Things You Need to Know About Swaddling a Baby

13 Things You Need to Know About Swaddling a Baby

Did you know that mothers have been swaddling their babies for thousands of years? This is true. When a baby is swaddled, not only are they benefitting from the effects of swaddling, but the mother is too!



During the first few months of life, swaddling baby mimics the womb. This creates a calm and safe environment for the baby. And when a baby is calm and safe, this relieves stress from the baby's mom or caretaker. which means better sleep for both of you


What are the benefits of swaddling a baby?

Swaddling your baby every time they go to sleep may seem like a lot of work. Afterall, most newborns sleep between 14-19 hours a day. But taking the time to swaddle your baby can benefit them greatly.


Things baby’s benefit from when swaddled:

  • Swaddling helps your baby sleep longer and better by protecting against their natural startle reflex.
  • It helps eliminate anxiety in your baby by imitating your touch, which helps your baby learn to self-sooth
  • Swaddling helps prevent scratching by keeping baby’s hands and nails off their face.
  • It helps prevent SIDS by keeping baby on its back while they sleep
  • unnecessary items like pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals out of your baby's crib
  • It may help calm a colicky baby
  • It keeps your baby on their back while they sleep

 

What is a startle reflex?

Swaddling protects your baby against their natural startle reflex. It's an involuntary startle response called the Moro reflex that babies have at birth and eventually grow out of.

When your new baby is startled by a loud noise, a sudden movement, or feels like they’re falling, they might suddenly extend their arms and legs, arch their back, and then curl everything in again. When baby is sleeping, this reflex can wake them up. Swaddling helps prevent this reflex which means better sleep for both of you. 

What is the correct way to swaddle a baby?

A few important things to keep in mind: The swaddle should be snug, but not too tight. You should be able to place two to three fingers between your baby’s chest and the blanket, and the blanket should be loose around her hips so she can move her legs freely.

Should I swaddle my newborn at night?

Yes, you should swaddle your newborn at night. The startle reflex is a primitive reflex that is present and birth and is a protective mechanism. With any sudden noise or movement, your baby is “startled” and her arms will extend away from her body, she'll arch her back and neck.

When should you swaddle your baby?

Swaddling is for very young babies, from birth to around 4 to 6 months old. This is when most babies show signs that they can roll over. Once a baby can roll over while being swaddled, it is time to stop swaddling.


Is it better to swaddle arms up or down?

It is usually recommended that you swaddle your newborn with their arms down to their sides. It is best not to swaddle baby’s arms across their chest. This will reduce the chance of your baby being able to get their arms free and scratch their face or cause the swaddle to bunch around their face.

Should babies legs be straight when swaddled?

Healthy hip development is very important for babies. You want to make sure that when baby is swaddled, their legs should be able to bend up and out at the hips. This position allows for natural development of the hip joints. Baby's legs should not be swaddled tightly in the straight down position, and never pressed together.


Does swaddling cause gas?

No. Swaddling doesn’t cause gas. Colic is mainly thought to be a result of a developing digesting system, making it difficult for your baby to digest food. This can cause gas and other intense pain, leading to prolonged and inconsolable crying or fussiness in an otherwise healthy baby.

Many parents believe that swaddling helps alleviate colic. Swaddling has a wonderfully soothing therapeutic effect on a baby suffering from colic by applying light pressure to a baby's belly. The pressure and cocoon-like feeling mimics the womb and provides relief for your baby.

What kind of swaddle is best for newborn?

There is not one particular magic swaddle that is best for babies, it is mostly a parents preference. But, some swaddles do work better than others.

Many people say that Milkmaid Good swaddles are the best! They love that Milkmaid Good swaddles are extra large, stretchy and the perfect weight of material to keep baby the correct temperature. Plus, they come in pretty colors and patterns that can also be purchased in matching robes for mom, lounge sets for siblings and baby gowns.

How many hours should a newborn be swaddled?

There is no set time that a baby should be swaddled. But you can swaddle a newborn baby anytime they are sleeping. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents keep their babies swaddled for 12–20 hours per day for the first few weeks after birth. This helps decrease the chance of them overheating, injury and sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. Of course, they need to be swaddled correctly.

Can I burp my baby while swaddled?

Yes! You can definitely burp your newborn while they are swaddled. This will keep them relaxed and ready to sleep once they are done with a feed. To best burp your baby while swaddled, hold him or her outward facing away from your body, then pat and rub the back.

Should you Unswaddle to feed your baby?

There are two answers to this question.

When your baby is swaddled at night, you can keep them swaddled throughout their night feeds. This will help baby be relaxed and go to sleep quicker letting the family sleep. You can even burb your baby while swaddled. (See the paragraph above.)

But during the day, it is better to unswaddle your baby during feeding. Swaddling can suppress some of the baby's important reflexes during feeding time. These reflexes are important to development. Also, during breastfeeding, a baby who can move freely is able to latch on better and nurse more effectively. 

Swaddled Babies Sleep Longer

Researchers have found that swaddling increases a baby's total amount of sleep as well as non-rapid eye movement (NREM). Which means baby is getting a deeper sleep. This was compared to when babies were not swaddled. Combined with the suppression of the Moro reflex (baby’s startle reflex), most babies get better sleep overall when swaddled.

Babies don't have to be swaddled. 

Not all babies love to be swaddled. If your baby is happy without swaddling, don't bother. Every baby is different, and as a parent, you know what they prefer. Just remember to always put your baby to sleep on their back. This is true no matter if you swaddle or not, but is especially true when they are swaddled.

As you can see, there are many pros to swaddling a baby. Hopefully, we have answered some of your questions regarding baby swaddling. It doesn’t have to be a scary thing, and gets easier and better with practice. We also hope that you choose Milkmaid Goods during your baby’s newborn journey! We have always strived to make the best quality products for moms and their babies.

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