Shop
02361

5 Tips on swaddling your baby

 
Thinking about swaddling your baby, but not sure if it’s for you? Swaddling your baby is a great way to calm them and help them feel secure. It also helps newborns sleep in those early months. These useful tips help to explain some of the benefits of a swaddling your baby and how to wean them off their swaddle before it becomes a problem.
Thinking about swaddling your baby, but not sure if it’s for you?

Swaddling your baby is a great way to calm them and help them feel secure. It also helps newborns sleep in those early months.

These useful tips help to explain some of the benefits of a swaddling your baby and how to wean them off their swaddle before it becomes a problem.

If you haven’t tried using a swaddle already, it’s definitely worth giving it a go.
 

5 Tips on swaddling your baby

 

1. Benefits of a swaddle


At such a young age your baby isn’t use to so much open space, so being swaddled is comforting for them.

The swaddle reminds them of what it was like in the womb, and the confines of a nice soft blanket gives them a sense of security and helps calm them down.

The swaddle is also helpful for sleep as it contains the startle reflex of newborns. The startle reflex (also called the ‘falling’ or ‘morro’ reflex) is when your baby spontaneously throws their arms out.

Your newborn can do this a few times in the process of falling asleep, and when they do, it startles them and wakes them up again.

When they’re in a swaddle, the tight wrapping helps keep their arms still, and in turn makes it easier for them to sleep as they’re not constantly ‘startling’ awake. The swaddle encourages them to sleep longer and more solidly.

Just make sure your baby isn’t too tightly wrapped for too long, and be aware of the season and/or temperature in your baby’s room so they don’t overheat.

Also remember to leave the swaddle looser from the waist down to allow for leg movement.

 

2. When your baby doesn’t like being swaddled


This one’s pretty simple; if your baby doesn’t like the swaddle, don’t use it!

In saying that, sometimes it will take a few tries for them to get used to it, so give it a few goes before you decide they really don’t like it.

These days there are some great transition sleep sacks for babies who don’t like the swaddle but are a bit young for a full arms-free sleeping bag.
 


3. When a swaddle becomes a sleep prop


For some babies, overtime their swaddle becomes a sleep prop, something they rely on to get to sleep easily.

Around the 3 months mark, your baby will start to kick free of their swaddle, and as they get older they’ll want to explore and wriggle out of their swaddle completely.

This isn’t a bad thing in itself, but if they think they need to be tightly wrapped for sleep to happen, they’ll cry when they’re out of their swaddle and finished playing.

This is when it becomes a problem, as you’re in and out of their room having to constantly rewrap them. If this is happening, you can be pretty sure they are dependent on the wrap for sleep.

There is no need to panic about this, but it does pay to be aware of it, so you can transition your little one out of their swaddle before it becomes a problem.

 

4. When is a good time to stop swaddling?


Before the 3-month mark is a good time to stop swaddling for the simple reason mentioned above.

The 3-4 month mark is also when a lot of babies start to roll onto their front, and you really want them to have the ability to move their arms before they’re ready to roll-over, for safety sake.

Try weaning your newborn off the swaddle around 10 weeks of age.

 

5. How can I wean my baby off the swaddle?


Newborns 0 – 3 months

If you have a newborn ready to wean off the swaddle (around 10 weeks old), you can do this gently.

Start by leaving one arm out of the wrap for a few days, then both arms out for a few more days, then wrap from the waist down for a few more days, after which time they’ll be ready to be out of it altogether.

From then on try using a sleep sack which still allows for the comfort of the blanket and will keep them warm as they kick around.

If your little one is under 3-4 months, they may not quite be ready for a full arm-out sleeping bag. In this case, a transition sleep sack is a great option as it continues to confine their arms, but also allows movement so they can explore their hands and roll safely.
 
Babies 4 months+

If your child is 4 months and up and you’re still swaddling, you may have a sleep-prop dependency already. If this is the case there is no easy way to wean off it. You baby now depends on being tightly wrapped to fall asleep.

The best way to handle this is to just remove the tight swaddle all together. Depending on the age of your child you can move to a transition sleep sack, full sleeping bag or just pyjamas.

Now this transition WILL take a few days, and your baby may protest the change; it may be a tough few days. But after this time you’ll have a baby who has learnt to sleep well arms-free and there will be nothing to kick off and no more constant cries to be rewrapped at night.

As with any sleep prop dependency, even if you leave it until they’re older, you will still go through a withdrawal period when you finally need to change.
 

More baby articles to enjoy


Source: This article was written by Kim Corley, a certified sleep sense consultant at Cherished Sleep www.cherishedsleep.co.nz.
Image source: adenandanais
Enquire

You might also be interested in ...

Reasons for bed wetting & how you can help

Reasons for bed wetting & how you can help

It may be of some comfort to know that wetting the bed is very common and the majority of children will grow out of it. We take a look at what causes bed wetting and how parents can help to manage it.
Immunising kids in New Zealand

Immunising kids in New Zealand

The topic of immunisation for kids often throws up lots of discussion and strong view points, but remember the choice to immunise your children is yours to make.

join us

Join us on social media for all our latest news.
facebook twitter pinterest
 

sign up

Sign up and receive our latest newsletters.
First/Last Name
Email
Town/City
 

contact us

mailinfo@under5s.co.nz
phone09 376 4408
PO Box 147429
Ponsonby
Auckland 1144

advertise with us