Swaddling may be defined as wrapping the baby with a blanket or similar piece of cloth to make the baby feel warm. Swaddling is important for your baby –
- Research says that new born babies take upto 3-4 months to get accustomed to the world outside their mother’s womb. They are used to a warm environment within the womb. Swaddling makes babies feel the similar snug and thus feel comfortable.
- New born babies have little control over their limb movement. This involuntary limb movement disturbs their normal sleep. The result is a cranky baby with insufficient sleep. Swaddling the baby helps control/restrict this limb movement and sleep undisturbed for longer durations. How a sound sleep is significant for babies has been iterated time and again.
- Talking about involuntary limb movements, I also remember how Nik’s hands often reached for his face and his tiny sharp nails would cause scratches on his baby skin on the face. Swaddling helps you avoid this painful scratching of the sensitive face skin.
- Swaddling also helps calm down babies and fall asleep faster. This again is linked to controlling the limb movement and preparing the babies to a peaceful sleep.
A friend once told me that in her community swaddling was important because it was considered that it helped straighten babies’ limbs and laid foundations of good height. Even though I do know that people in her community are generally tall, I doubt that it could be a function of swaddling at the infant stage.
How to swaddle your baby
The hand drawing below gives you a pictorial explanation of how to swaddle your baby. A few things to keep in mind –
Downloaded from Pinterest
- The wrapping ought not to be very tight. Too tight a swaddle could cause pain to your baby. You may be a little tight around the tusk but not very tight as it may affect the lungs. Make sure that you are not very tight around the legs, do not restrict their natural curve.
- Make sure that the swaddle is tight enough and does not loosen up to cover the babies face lest it may cause breathing discomfort.
- Do not swaddle if your baby has begun to turn around, because there is a risk of choking. The average age until when you may swaddle your baby is 3-4 months.
Choosing your Swaddles
In earlier days, mothers used swaddles made by tearing off old cotton bed sheets or cotton sarees or dhotis. Swaddles are traditionally rectangular pieces of cloth big enough to be wrapped around the baby. These days’ ready-made swaddles are available in the finest of fabrics and most beautiful prints.
A recent trend is ready stitched swaddles where the legs are restricted in a pocket and the hands are wrapped around with two flaps which are joined by a Velcro tape. These swaddles are good for mothers who struggle with the above swaddling technique.
The fabric of the swaddle should be soft to avoid rashes on the sensitive baby skin. It should definitely be breathable, else swaddling may cause excessive perspiration may cause the baby to fall sick. During summers it is preferable to chose cotton swaddles (knitted or woven) while in winters fleece may also be used to help fight the chill.