This word has become more and more common over the past few years and there is a huge reason why- it’s an incredible component to creating sweet dreams for your little one. As a newborn care specialist I’ve worked with families on both sides of the fence when it comes to swaddling. There have been clients that swore they couldn’t have gotten through those newborns days without it and believe it or not there are some families that don’t even want to start for various reasons, or quit because they feel their baby doesn’t agree with it.
I love helping families work through those feelings, and fears, by reassuring them that swaddling is hugely beneficial to their baby, and therefore them as well!
If you are a parent that has anxiety when it comes to swaddling, or are one of the many who feel like they wouldn’t like being swaddled- so what’s the point?
Then I’m happy you are here to dive in and learn why.
Babies are born with very immature startle reflexes and that’s why they tend to “jump” or startle at sudden movements and noises. What many parents don’t know is that unlike us newborn babies spend they majority of their time in REM sleep states, however; they don’t experience REM sleep paralysis as we do.
This means that you baby can move a lot while they are sleeping and it is not uncommon for them to make noises and even cry- all while in REM sleep.
Being swaddled helps promote a more snuggly and peaceful sleeping condition for your little one by limiting disruptive movements that can startle them to wake.
I also like to think of swaddling as a way to sort of mimic the closeness and coziness babies are accustomed to from life in the womb! Swaddling is a helpful soothing technique to use with your newborn, this helps them to reset and regain calmness.
(KNIT SWADDLE BLANKET- CAMEL by COPPER PEARL, CREDITS TO COPPER PEARL)
Now that we’ve gotten some of the scientific facts behind swaddling and infant sleep out of the way, lets get down to business of brands and what swaddling products you actually need in your nursery.
For me personally the answer is the simpler, the better.
I love a good old-fashioned swaddling blanket of a thinner or preferably muslin material for swaddling. A very well known brand for these is Aden and Anais, their baby blankets make for wonderful swaddles.
While some parents can feel overwhelmed and sloppy when it comes to swaddling in the traditional style- I assure you all you need is a little patience and practice to perfect your new skill.
In no time you’ll be swaddling like an old pro!
My second favorite swaddle is the Woombie and Love to Dream and this is because they have z-i-p-p-e-r-s my friends, zippers! If you are an expecting parent you will be forever grateful for these wonderful little inventions because they are quiet and make nighttime changes after 3am feeds much more of a breeze.
Many brands use Velcro for closures on swaddles, and while I don’t hate them I do prefer them for naps vs. nights. They can be loud and a little disruptive to a dozing baby in the wee hours is my only reasoning for this.
Now, if you have a slightly older baby, say 10wks or so, I don’t mind using a Velcro swaddle in the evening quite as much because babies I’ve worked with around this age are typically sleeping longer stretches and I find myself un-swaddling them less frequently than a 1-6wk old baby.
Here are a few links for big time favorites of professionals and parents alike:
- Aden and Anais Easy Swaddle – muslin swaddle bag with arm flaps
- Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle – https://www.amazon.com/Halo-Sleepsack-Swaddle-Wearable-Blanket/dp/B017GAA5VK/ref=sr_1_4_sspa?crid=2OPBUK0LJBFXJ&dchild=1&keywords=halo+sleepsack&qid=1584452408&sprefix=halo+%2Caps%2C164&sr=8-4-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzOTVLQkVPMzBUREdRJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNzMzNjU2M05ZRkExRTY5Q1JCSCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNDA0NzUwMVY2OUJFRVk4TkxKNyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=
- Woombie – https://www.amazon.com/Woombie-Original-Nursery-Swaddling-Blanket/dp/B00BV80Z64/ref=sr_1_2?crid=341V7516K72P4&dchild=1&keywords=woombie%2Bswaddle&qid=1584452314&sprefix=woomb%2Caps%2C161&sr=8-2&th=1
- Love to Dream Swaddle: https://amzn.to/2X3xWlI
- Ollie Swaddle: https://amzn.to/2xaN6pW
- Swaddleme Swaddles https://amzn.to/2X8F4x2
How to Swaddle
So now that you have the why and the what behind swaddling let’s jump into the how part of it all!
One of my dear friends, Rachelle Gershkovich, is a fellow newborn and postpartum care provider. She owns her own company that works with families all around the globe and specializes in walking parents through gentle, baby led sleep coaching.
Her video, which I will share below, goes over in great but sensible detail of swaddling and how to do it properly.
If you are currently expecting I highly recommend practicing your technique on a baby doll or perhaps one of your friends newborns if you are so lucky to have a willing and able participant!
Safe Sleep & Swaddling Note:
Remember the idea is to have your baby wrapped snuggly so the fabrics aren’t too loose which can be a definite safety issue if they are able to pull the materials up around their little faces.
You also want to be sure they aren’t wrapped too tight where their chest movements are restricted, an easy way to check this is by sliding your fingers in flat between the swaddle and your baby.
Another important tip to keep in mind is the ideal sleep temperature range for newborns/infants. A swaddle will help to contain some of your baby’s heat so be sure to asses what they are wearing in addition to the swaddle to avoid overheating , which can increase the risk of SIDS. You can check your little ones temperature by placing your hand or a few fingers on his/her bare back or chest. Your baby should feel warm and dry not sticky and sweaty.
I also never recommend putting your baby to bed wearing a hat as they could easily slip off and become a hazard while sleeping.
I hope these tips and tricks are helpful to you as you begin your journey with your little one!