Do you remember in the hospital when the nurse wrapped your newborn baby into a little burrito and made it look so easy? Then, you tried knowing that if you were the burrito maker at Chipotle, you would be fired.
We have come up with some simple steps to swaddle your newborn. Time will fly so try to master this skill before your baby is too old to enjoy it.
Why We Swaddle
One reason we swaddle babies is because it mimics the months in the womb, tight and warm. Most parents learn to swaddle from their nurses in the hospital. If done correctly, it can give the parents more sleep.
Why? This is because swaddling can be a way to help calm the infant and assist them to stay asleep. It prevents them from waking up from their own startle reflex. Additionally, it makes your baby feel more safe, so it's easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
When can I start swaddling?
Skin to skin with the mother or father is how most infants love to sleep, and swaddling comes in at a close second place. Therefore, no time is too early to start swaddling. If the infant is not skin to skin, it is safe to swaddle the baby and let the infant rest in a safe crib.
How often should you swaddle?
Some infants preferred to be swaddled 12-20 hours a day. It sounds like a long time, but remember, the baby was swaddled 24 hours a day with their mother when they were inside the womb. After all, the purpose of swaddling is to mimic the feeling of of being in the womb for the baby.
Kangaroo care is also encouraged over swaddling, therefore, if you can, skin to skin is best. Decreasing the amount of time swaddled can help your infant transition to being unswaddled faster so you can slowly them off, suggesting a natural change.
Safety Tips for Swaddling
Learning to swaddle is not difficult, but you must remember to follow some essential safety tips when swaddling:
Back to Sleep - There is an increase of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) if the baby is not placed on their back to sleep. If you swaddle the baby, laying them on their stomach or side is a risk of suffocation. Putting the infant on their back is the best way to prevent SIDS, especially when swaddled.
Knowing when to stop - Parents love to swaddle their baby, but when the baby is trying to roll over (around eight weeks), it is time to stop because of the risk of suffocation.
Boring Crib - The baby should not have any other items in their crib besides their swaddled blanket. This includes any other blankets, bumpers or stuffed animals.
Check the room temperature - Infants are safe to be swaddled in a light blanket in a room 65-70 degrees. Avoid overheating the baby
Wake the baby to eat - Make sure your baby is not too comfortable that they will not feed because they are too sleepy in their swaddler. If the pediatrician says the infant can go longer than 3-4 hours between feedings it is okay, but babies need to eat often to grow.
How to Swaddle your baby
Place a big blanket (not a fluffy one, but a receiving blanket material to avoid overheating the baby) in a diamond in front of you.
Fold down the top corner of the diamond and place the baby in the center with their neck at the fold of the blanket.
Don’t force the baby’s limbs straight, let them be comfortable, hips flexed and knees bent.
Fold over the left side in front of the infant and tuck behind the baby.
Fold up the middle piece in front of the baby.
Fold over the right side and bring it over the top and under the baby.
Pick up infant supporting their head and bottom
Your baby will love you even more by being able to help comfort them with swaddling. The hands-on part of learning how to swaddle can be tricky. Practice makes perfect, so consistently practice to master the art. If you still have a hard time, watch some youtube videos to improve your technique.