Parents have been swaddling babies for generations. There’s a reason this proven method has helped both babies and parents get more sleep. When properly swaddled, your baby will feel like they've been transported back to the comforting safety of the womb.
Learning how to swaddle your sweet little bundle will help with everything from the pesky startle reflex to colic. When it comes to the middle of the night wake-ups, here’s why swaddling means a better night's sleep for everyone.
Mastering the Art of the Swaddle
Swaddling is the practice of snuggly wrapping your baby so that their arms and legs are close to their body. This helps keep a baby warm, cozy, and safe while they sleep.
To properly swaddle your baby, start by folding the blanket into a triangle. Place your baby on their back so that the top of the blanket is at their shoulders. Next, you gently wrap one end of the triangle over their body so that it tucks under their back, leaving one arm free.
Take the bottom of the triangle and bring it up over the baby’s feet and tuck it into the top of the swaddle. The remaining triangle gets pulled over the free arm and tucked under the baby’s back.
1. Swaddling Stops the Startle Reflex
Newborn babies are born with a reflex known as the startle reflex. This reflex causes their hands and legs to flail up while they are sleeping. If a baby’s hands aren’t wrapped tightly against their body, it could cause their hands to shoot up and hit their face.
Imagine yourself sleeping soundly and suddenly waking up to your hands whacking you in the eye. It’s understandable that this reflex could cause a baby to be up all night. When your baby is snug in a swaddle, their arms and legs aren’t able to hit their face or startle them awake.
2. Swaddling Helps Babies Sleep Longer
Unfortunately, adorable, newborn babies tend to not sleep through the night right away. While this is common, it has many parents desperate for some shut-eye. Swaddling has been proven to help babies sleep longer.
Compared to the womb, the outside world is cold, overstimulating, loud, and bright. A swaddle helps keep a baby’s temperature regulated and gives them that snug feeling of being back in the womb.
The more comfortable your baby feels, the more likely they are to sleep longer. Give your baby the sense of security they need with a swaddle.
3. Swaddled Babies Can’t Scratch Their Face
A newborn baby may have really long, thin, nails that are difficult to cut. With such tiny fingers, it is almost impossible to trim a baby’s nails.
If a baby wakes up and has trouble falling asleep, they may start to rub or scratch their face. While it’s common for a tired baby to rub their face, if their hands are free, you may see small scratches on their skin.
To help keep your baby’s face clear, consider swaddling your baby. With their arms tucked in tight, they won’t be able to scratch their face while they sleep.
4. A Swaddle Helps With Colic
Colic is a condition in which a baby is inconsolable for long stretches of time. After you have fed a baby, held them, and soothed them in every way possible, a baby with colic may still cry.Kids Health defines this as crying for more than three hours a day.
Colic can take its toll on everyone in the family. It can be hard to concentrate after being up all day and night. A proper night’s rest is just as important for you as it is your baby.
Many believe that colic stems from a gastrointestinal issue or allergies. Whatever is causing discomfort, a swaddle can help soothe a baby. If you can’t get your baby to settle down into sleep or a comfortable rest, try wrapping them in a snug swaddle.
5. Swaddling Encourages Safe Sleep
The Safe to Sleep campaign in the U.S. recommends all babies be put on their back to sleep. Swaddling will help ensure they stay on their back as long as possible. Never swaddle a baby on their stomach.
It’s strongly encouraged that a baby sleeps swaddled on their back while they are a newborn as opposed to their stomachs. Newborns lack the neck strength to pull themselves up or away from something.
Once your baby has better head control and can roll over, they can transition to sleeping in only pajamas or wearable blanket so that their arms are free. A baby who can roll over shouldn't be swaddled anymore.
As cute as these items are, a baby’s crib should always be free of any additional loose blankets, toys, or pillows to ensure the safest sleep possible.
Swaddles Are Great for More Than Just Sleep
More sleep is just one of the many advantages of swaddling. With newborns, diaper blowouts and spit ups are inevitable. You can never have too many swaddling blankets. They are also great for the car seat, diaper changes, nursing covers, and to keep the sun out of a stroller.
When it comes to swaddling fashion, there’s an adorable look for every baby. Don’t forget to grab a swaddle for their first professional photos at home or the hospital as well. There’s nothing sweeter than seeing a newborn baby sleeping soundly in a cute swaddle.
If you’re ready to get a better night’s sleep for you and your baby, shop the beautiful new collection here. You'll find an adorable variety of colors and prints. And remember, more sleep for baby means more sleep for you.