Lighthouse Thoughts

Swaddling your Baby

In the womb babies are warm and snug and have very little room to move about. After birth they miss this comforting confinement and may have difficulty sleeping. Swaddling soothes babies by recreating the comfort of the womb. Swaddling can help babies to stop crying and get them sleep better. Babies just being introduced to swaddling may need an adjustment period.

Babies need to be properly wrapped but not too tight. A properly swaddled baby feels warm and secure, and the wrap can help prevent a baby form throwing his arms up and startling himself, or scratching his face. They key is to leave plenty of room for baby to move his feet around. Modified swaddling, such as leaving arms free while swaddling the rest of the baby’s body, might be needed when first introducing the practice to your baby.

The blanket should always feel snug not tight. Take special care to make sure that the baby’s circulation is not compromised in any way or that baby is not uncomfortable. This ensures that babies are not rigidly wrapped and that they have room to bend their legs. Ask a physician nurse, or healthcare worker to demonstrate the correct technique to swaddle your baby. It might a number of tries to get it right, but your baby will reap the benefits. Swaddling is recommend for naps and bedtime. Steps to swaddle your baby:

Fold one corner of the swaddling blanket into the other corner, but do not fold completely into a triangle.

1. Place the baby with his feet towards the pointed corner of the blanket.

2. Wrap one edge of the blanket across baby’s body and tuck it under the back and legs.

3. Pull up the bottom (point) of the blanket, and hold it on top of baby’s tummy.

4. Wrap the other edge of the blanket across the baby’s body around to the baby’s back.

On average baby’s need to be weaned off swaddling by age 3-4 months. Indicators that baby no longer needs swaddling include baby can roll over, baby frequently wiggles out of swaddling, or your baby is no longer calmed by swaddling. Many babies continue to enjoy swaddling for naps, but not for nighttime sleeping.

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