What is swaddling?
Swaddling is the centuries-old art of wrapping babies in blankets. Swaddling provides a secure womb-like environment outside the womb. Swaddling is known to soothe and calm fussy babies when they’re overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of the outside world.
Proper swaddling technique and infant care
In recent years, questions have come up about the use and benefits of swaddling. But many of the physical developmental issues associated with swaddling have more to do with common swaddling mistakes including overuse, than swaddling done and used properly.
Let’s look at some of these common swaddling mistakes:
1) Swaddling should only be used after your baby’s needs have been met (feeding, mommy-time, diaper change) and she still won’t settle. If your swaddled baby’s brow is furrowed and his/her fists are clenched, then there is something else your baby needs.
2) Swaddling should not be used to shut baby down when caring for him/her is inconvenient. Crying is the only way babies can communicate that they need something.
3) Avoid using swaddling all the time. Some of the concerns surrounding swaddling and newborns include studies that have shown that newborns who are routinely swaddled feed less frequently, suckle less effectively, and have greater weight loss than unswaddled babies. (1)
Swaddled babies wake less frequently and fall asleep more quickly during feeding. Newborns need to feed 8 to 12 times within 24-hours to prevent dehydration. This feeding regimen is also necessary for nursing moms establish their milk supply.
4) Babies need skin-to-skin contact with mom to help regulate their temperature, heart rate, breathing, hormone levels, and develop and solidify the mother/baby bond.
Swaddling Needs to Be Snug but Allow Baby to Move Too
5) Swaddling should be “snug” but not tight. Swaddling should not completely keep your baby from moving. Babies need to move to develop muscle control and their nervous system, and to maintain blood flow to all extremities.