Swaddling is a big part of my life nowadays with a newborn. But…to swaddle or not to swaddle? Now that is the question 😉
When I had my first child, the parenting classes and nurses at the hospital swore by it. So we learned it, my husband was actually known as the swaddle master at home, and it truly helped our little one with sleep and comfort. She loved being wrapped up like she was in the womb again. It got her through that “4th trimester”.
Some argue that swaddling, if done incorrectly, can lead to hip dysplasia. And I think that anything done incorrectly can cause something, so it’s best to actually take a class on it or better yet, have a nurse go over it with you many times before you leave the hospital or ask your midwife to show you if you choose a home birth.
Some even say that it might psychologically affect the baby, to be wrapped tightly, while others argue that by not doing so you are harming them also since the warmth and tightness of the womb to having nothing like that is scary for them.
When I considered the research that was out there, I learned that a lot of it was from traditional swaddling vs. modern swaddling technique and ideas.
For instance, I would make sure his hips were not turned out and also keep it loose at the hips so he can still move his legs freely when swaddling to avoid hip dysplasia. I also never, ever cover his head. Plus to keep the skin to skin idea of mother and baby, which feels great for both for us, I always unwrap him when breastfeeding him.
And all I know is that it worked for us for those beginning few months, (we only swaddled until about 4 months max) and that the benefits were important enough for me as a parent to incorporate it twice now with both kids. I will say that we didn’t leave my daughter or don’t leave my newborn son in the swaddle for long periods of time since I undo it every time I feed him in the middle of the night (so every 2-3 hours) and we only swaddle him at night and during a longer nap he takes during the day. It’s important for them to be “free” also so like anything in life, balance is best.
Mothers have been swaddling for countless generations and there are many benefits.
- Studies proved swaddled babies sleep better in the back sleeping position, and swaddling helps parents avoid the dangerous stomach sleeping position. Sleeping on the back has been directly linked to less incidence of SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, (there is a newer study relating SIDS to swaddling for those infants that had respiratory infections. If your child has a respiratory infection it is best not to swaddle in my opinion).
- Swaddling also prevents newborns waking themselves with their Moro reflex.
- When babies were measured pyscho-physiologically while swaddled, they are more calm and sleep better.
The Modern Method:
This way ensures you are able to keep the hips and legs free but allow for a snug fit above. It also keeps the head uncovered so baby doesn’t overheat, (I like to also sometimes tuck the fabric in step 3 over the baby’s free shoulder if there is more of it).
*method courtesy of Aden and Anais Swaddle Blanket instructions
Swaddle blankets I love:
I use blankets that are thin and soft, so I don’t risk any chance of overheating. The blankets designated as swaddle blankets are usually the perfect shape for the task at hand. Here are some that I have tried and worked well for me:
- Hospital blankets. The swaddle blankets that the hospital gives out are wonderful those first few weeks definitely take a few home i you can!
- Burt’s Bees Organic Swaddle Blanket: I just discovered this one and adore it. It’s a little stretchy so makes swaddling easier plus it is nice and thin and durable in the wash.
- SwaddleDesigns Swaddling Blanket: These are a little thicker so good for cold weather months.
- Aden and Anais Silky Soft Muslin Swaddle Blankets: Okay, I love these. I use them for covering up while nursing too sometimes. This blanket is made with silky rayons from rayon from bamboo fiber muslin which is why it is so lightweight, breathable and comfortable. The swaddle blanket features a natural open weave that helps reduce the risk of overheating during the summer while keeping your baby warm in the colder months. The muslin also tends to get silkier every time you wash it. Plus the prints are so cute. There’s a sleep sac we used for our daughter when she was an older baby and kept her hands out.
- The Miracle Blanket: We used this sometimes when our daughter was older, around 3 months, after getting it as a hand me down and was nice and easy! It can be used for younger infants, too.
- Halo SleepSack: Also used this when our daughter was around 3 months and it worked well.