When most people hear swaddles, they think of babies wrapped up like cute little burritos, perhaps for a newborn photoshoot. But did you know that there’s so much more to swaddling than the aesthetic? Mothers have been swaddling their newborns for thousands of years, to help them feel calm and improve their sleep.
This traditional practice of wrapping up a baby gently in a cloth? The main reason is because during the first three months after birth, also known as the “fourth trimester,” swaddling creates a snug, womb-like environment for your baby, helping them adjust better to the outside world.
From preventing unnecessary wake-ups to helping calm a colicky baby, here are some of the benefits of swaddling your tiny one:
- Swaddling keeps the baby snug, protecting them against their natural startle reflex, which often causes unnecessary wake-ups. This means better sleep for your little munchkin and almost as important, you!
- It helps eliminate anxiety and may help calm a colicky baby, which, if your baby suffers from it, you know how challenging it can be (for both parents and baby)
- A snuggly wrapped swaddle cloth simulates the warmth of the mother’s womb/touch, making it easy for the baby to self-soothe.
- It keeps the baby’s hands off their face and helps prevent scratching, no more socks serving as gloves.
- It helps prevent SIDS by keeping your baby on their back while they sleep, and eliminating the need for extra items like pillows and stuffed animals in your baby's crib.
Swaddling Safety Tips
While swaddling comes with numerous benefits, it has potential risks when done wrong. Below are some recommended safety tips you must follow to prevent your little one from danger or discomfort during swaddling.
- To prevent overheating, make sure your baby is not wearing too many layers or a single very thick layer. It’s best to swaddle your baby using a thin, breathable material.
- Wrap your baby firmly, not tightly. Swaddling your baby very tightly such that they can't move their hips or legs may limit the development of the hip, resulting in hip dysplasia. Aim for a firm enough swaddle that will hold your baby's arms firmly while allowing for free hips and knees movement.
- Always put your baby to sleep on their back when swaddled, and stop swaddling them as soon as they start rolling over. While swaddling keeps your baby on the back while they sleep, potentially protecting them from SIDS. If a baby rolls over when swaddled, they could be at increased risk of SIDS, because head lifting and turning are crucial to avoid suffocation, and that is impeded when a baby is restrained by swaddling.
- Avoid swaddling your baby while breastfeeding/bottle feeding; during feeding, babies' temperatures tend to go up, and they might overheat. Your baby will also latch well on the breast while not restricted by swaddling.
- Don’t swaddle your baby over the shoulders; their neck and head should be left free to prevent suffocation.
More Than a Swaddle
A Muslin Swaddle offers a lot more. The Milk & Honey muslin swaddles not only provide much-needed soothing comfort to newborns, but are also super versatile. They can be used as baby swaddle blankets, covers during naps and nursing time, emergency burp cloths, a buggy stroller cover, changing mats, or tummy time play mats.
Our Swaddles are made from organic bamboo and organic cotton, they’re super-soft and breathable, and are Oeko-Tex certified.
So...to Sum Up:
When done correctly, swaddling your baby is a great way to get them to sleep better, and when the baby sleeps better, so does the entire family! Go ahead and give our super-soft and snuggly muslin swaddles a try. You’ll thank us later.