Swaddling is a technique which has been used by mothers throughout history, and during the first few months of life, it is a great sleepwear choice for babies. The snug safe feeling which is achieved by swaddling a baby in a babywrap helps them to settle quickly, especially when they are overstimulated. A correctly wrapped swaddle can also reduce facial scratching and can help to stop your baby from waking himself with his own startle reflex. Follow these simple steps to learn how to turn your baby blankets into a perfect restful environment for your baby.
A guide to Swaddling
- Spread your baby blanket out on a flat surface and turn down one corner. Place your baby in the centre with his shoulders just below the fold and so that the folded triangle is beneath his back.
- Place one of your baby’s arms by his side with a slight bend. Take the corner of the blanket on the same side, pulling it over this arm, across his body and tucking it underneath the other arm and accommodate the excess comfortably underneath him.
- Now fold the bottom corner up and over your baby’s legs and body and tuck the point smoothly into the top of the swaddle. Make sure there is sufficient room for your baby to move his legs freely.
- Finally, take the remaining corner and wrap it around his body enclosing the other arm which is held comfortably bent by his side, and then passing the blanket on around and underneath again.
With practice, you will develop your own swaddling technique to get your baby cosy and comfortable. Remember that swaddles can be used for newborn babies up until 3-months of age, and that a swaddled baby should always be placed on their back, and never face down. No further sheets or blankets should be placed over the swaddled child and swaddles can be used for sleeping periods during the day or night but never continuously during 24-hours. Research has shown that swaddling can help to develop healthy sleeping patterns which can aid in your new-born baby’s development.
Baby swaddles should be made from a fabric which is soft and stretchy so that they support and restrain comfortably. Muslin baby wraps can be used for swaddling but for maximum comfort use baby swaddles made from Merino blankets. Merino wool is a marvellous substance which is extremely soft and snuggly and perfect for the delicate skin of young babies, and it will not cause irritation even in babies with eczema. It also has a unique ability to regulate your baby’s temperature keeping him at an optimum body temperature, warm when the ambient temperature is cold and cool when it is hot. Merino wool also breathes to allow the moisture from perspiration to pass out into the air so preventing clamminess and it does not retain odours. It is also fire resistant and naturally self-extinguishing making it one of the safest of all fabrics.
If you’re looking to purchase a baby wrap, it’s worth looking at models with diagonal-wings that make swaddling quicker and easier. While more expensive than simpler models, their unique forms make tucking around and in simpler and more comfortable for the baby. Built-in leg pouches ensure that the baby’s legs have ample room for movement promoting healthy hips, and you can also do a nappy change without removing the swaddle. Some baby wrap designs also include a belt aperture which allows safe travel in a buggy or car seat, but with these models make sure there are no straps or fastenings which could irritate your baby.