In my last blog I wrote about the ways to swaddle your new-born. And as promised, I am back with my research on the ways swaddling is beneficial for infants. Go on, give it a read.
Swaddling Mimics The Womb
Transitioning from womb to world is not so simple for your new little one. Babies suddenly find themselves in cold and bright world from what was once a warm, cozy environment. Swaddling recreates the secure and cozy feeling of the womb,making this transition from baby easier.
Swaddling Mimics A Parent's Soothing Touch
Touch has been proven to have neurological effects; it triggers a self-soothing response in the human brain, stabilises our heart rate and blood pressure and lowers cortisol levels. Correspondingly, touch is fundamental for healthy infant development. A snug swaddles helps to mimic the soft pressure of a mother's touch, and helps baby have longer, more restful sleep with fewer disturbances.
Swaddled babies tend to fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep more consistently throughout the night. If baby sleeps better, then Mom and Dad sleep better, and this is great for the whole family!
Swaddling Moderates The Moro Reflex
One of the benefits of swaddling a baby is that it helps alleviate the effects of the Moro reflex. The Moro reflex, or startle reflex, is a normal neurological response which causes a newborn to feel as though they are free falling. Babies experience this all the time within the first 3 to 4 months of life. While the presence of the Moro reflex is an indication of a healthy infant, its effects can disturb your baby's sleep. The startle reflex causes baby to have involuntary movements that can easily wake them up, and swaddling helps prevent those spontaneous movements, allowing for a much more peaceful sleep.
Swaddling Helps Regulate Temperature
While swaddling baby can help maintain the optimal temperature for baby, it is important to ensure that you are using a high-quality breathable swaddle, such as the Tulo Baby Summer blanket (https://tulobaby.com/collections/tulo-baby-summer-blanket) ensure that baby does not overheat. Avoid "double swaddling" or using a blanket which is too warm. Over-bundling with multiple layers can cause baby to overheat which can increase the risk of SIDS. A breathable fabric, like the 100% cotton hosiery tulo baby sleeping pod (https://tulobaby.com/collections/sleeping-pod)will help keep your baby warm and snug without the danger of overheating.
Experts also recommend maintaining a comfortable room temperature of around 15-21 degrees Celsius. After being swaddled, your baby’s skin should feel comfortable to touch and not too warm.
Swaddling Helps Alleviate Colic
Any parent who has experienced a baby with colic will tell you that it can be on of the most difficult parenting experiences. Some parents describe a feeling of helplessness in their inability to calm their crying baby. Colic is mainly thought to be the result of a developing digestive system, making it difficult for baby to digest food. This can cause gas and other intense pain, leading to prolonged and inconsolable crying or fussiness in an otherwise healthy baby.
One of the benefits of swaddling a baby is that it can have a wonderfully soothing and therapeutic effect on a baby suffering from colic by applying light pressure to baby's belly. The pressure and cocoon-like feeling mimics the womb and provides relief for baby.
Swaddling Reduces Incidents Of SIDS
Swaddling, when done properly, is effective and safe. Research has also found that infants placed to sleep on their stomachs are at an increased risk of SIDS. Babies should therefore always be placed to sleep on their back, never on their stomach or side. By swaddling baby in the supine position, you help baby maintain this safe sleep position. For a baby who is not yet capable of rolling over on their own, the risk of SIDS diminishes.
You should stop swaddling when baby begins to roll over from back to front, break free from the baby swaddle wrap, or when the swaddle becomes disruptive to sleep.
Loose blankets and bedding also pose a threat to baby's healthy by increasing the changes of suffocation. A baby swaddle wrap also constrains baby's arms and helps prevent baby from pulling loose bedding or clothing over their heads. It is also important to keep any loose bedding or clothing out of your baby’s crib and stop swaddling when baby starts to roll.
Swaddled Babies Are Happier Babies!
We've touched on the benefits of swaddling a baby, including how swaddling can help soothe and settle your baby, but did you know that it also triggers a "relaxation" mechanism in infants? Experience the soothing benefits of swaddling for yourself with our breathable cotton hosiery sleeping pods.(https://tulobaby.com/collections/sleeping-pod)
Does Swaddling Work for All Babies?
Some children will resist swaddling like the plague. At the same time, you want to try several different swaddles before giving up completely; but bottom line, some children will not be comforted by a swaddle—never force it to work.
It’s also important to note that a swaddle is not appropriate for:
- Co-sleeping babies, because they cannot move covers from their face or alert their parents when they are too close
- Babies who can roll over
- Babies at a higher risk of SIDS
- Babies in hot environments (especially homes without air conditioning), as baby could be dangerously overheated
If your baby does not like being swaddled, try the sleeping pod option, as the tight restrained feeling might be what your baby is resisting. Never put baby to bed with loose bedding or blankets, as this is a suffocation risk.
When to Stop Swaddling?
It’s important to remember that swaddling is not recommended once baby can roll over, as the blanket begins to pose a risk for suffocation. Many parents stop swaddling baby after one month when she begins to hold her up.
Swaddling will inhibit motor development beginning around two months. When baby is more active during tummy time, that is a good indicator that they are outgrowing the swaddle.
What to Do When Baby Outgrows the Swaddle
When babies first outgrow the swaddle, somewhere between 2-3 months of age, the transition may be a bit challenging. Since baby is used to being snug as a bug, normal movement may wake them up at first and cause a bit of a sleep regression.
Try Wearable blanket as a transition swaddle. My son went from waking himself up constantly to sleeping through the night again.
Once baby has mastered sleeping with both arms out of the swaddle, they can sleep in their pyjamas or in a wearable blanket like our sleeping bags https://tulobaby.com/collections/tulo-baby-bubble-sleeping-bag will be perfectly fine, but some mamas and papas swear the wearable blanket helps their baby sleep. Do whatever works for you!
Thanks for read.
Stay tuned to know how you can help your baby sleep better in my next post.