What to Know About Swaddling your Baby
There’s simply nothing quite as serene as a swaddled cuddly baby. What makes it even more special is the swaddling period doesn’t last all that long, so we have no choice but to cherish it while it lasts. During this brief period of parenting, here are some important things to know when it comes to swaddling:
SafetySwaddling is deemed safe by the American Academy of Pediatrics! Pediatricians recommend either swaddling babies or laying them in their crib with absolutely nothing at all. A proper swaddle should be tight, but loose enough for 2-3 fingers to fit between baby and the blanket. Not only is it dangerous for the swaddle to be too tight around the chest and belly area, but a swaddle that is too tight around the hips can cause hip dysplasia or other hip dysfunctions. And lastly, there shouldn't be any loose ends or flaps un-tucked in case they cover baby’s face.
RoutineMy little girl is stubborn when it comes to falling asleep during the day (five minute catnaps don’t count for your nap, my love) UNLESS she is swaddled. I used to think it was because of the adorable startle reflex being muted by keeping her arms close to her body, but I’m becoming more and more convinced that she simply understands that being wrapped up tight means it’s time to sleep.
In another post I mentioned that I didn’t know how to swaddle my first baby when we left the hospital. I casually asked my sister one day how SHE swaddled her babies but didn’t admit that I was asking because I had no idea what the heck I was doing. I just wanted to see it done so I could make mental notes to improve my way of doing it. She showed me, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. It wasn’t “the” method that I thought was the only method out there. She had her own way of wrapping up a baby, and I’ve since been hooked on that technique. Not only was I more comfortable swaddling my baby but I also learned, like almost every parenting category, that there is more than one way to do things. One way wasn’t working for me and it was perfectly fine to try a different method!
PreferenceNot only is a parent’s preference for swaddling important, what baby likes needs to be taken into account too! When I swaddled my little boy, his arms were to his sides and he slept great stiff as a board. My little girl is a little more particular and prefers her arms folded across her chest where her tiny hands often pop out to hold onto the lip of the blanket. Many babies don’t like to be swaddled at all, and that too is perfectly fine!
WeaningThe number one indicator that it’s time to stop swaddling babes is when they start to roll over. This typically happens around four months of age. The best option at this point would be to continue with the swaddle but leave baby’s arms completely out of the blanket. This allows them to use their arms to lift up their head and upper body if/when they roll over. Something to keep in mind: a looser swaddle is necessary since the shoulders aren’t inside to automatically loosen the blanket around the chest. After a few days or weeks of armless swaddling, it’ll be easier to transition babies to no swaddle at all!
There are many varieties when it comes to swaddle blankets! The classics like Little Unicorn (the one from the video) and Aden + Anias are wonderful because they are versatile, timeless, and sooo big - perfect for any kind of wrapping. Then there’s super duper stretchy and soft swaddles like KicKee Pants. Or there are perfectly designed swaddles that fit like a glove, are incredibly easy to use, and are top notch when it comes to style. These include swaddles like Ergobaby and Ollie World.
Little Unicorn Single Cotton Swaddle - Berry Bloom