Swaddling – All you need to know.
Swaddling is an ancient practice of wrapping a baby in soft cloth till the age of 9 months. There were many tales attached to it, that we heard from old great grandmothers and midwives by practice. It was believed that a baby needs to be held still for another 9 months as for the initial 9 months in the mother’s womb, it was used to free-flowing movements in the fluid. This practice helps him adjust to the regulations, restrictions, relations, and bonds of the new life. In fact, in Medieval times, swaddling boards were used, where the babies were kept on a soft board and tied with soft cloths and bands to restrict the movement of their limbs. In 90’s the swaddling practice again came back to popularity, because of deep research on baby sleep and infant growth patterns. Hand to heart swaddling practice became popular.
Various ways of swaddling:
In different cultures, different patterns of swaddling are used. It mainly depends on the training and learning of nannies and midwives. Few swaddling practices are:
· Bat Wings Swaddle.
· Arms Only Swaddle.
· Burrito Wrap Swaddle.
One doesn’t need to do go into all the details, the only important thing is to understand that swaddling is a must for a newborn baby and one must start practicing swaddling before the baby is born.
It helps parents get their babies to fall and stay asleep on their backs, which is what we recommend to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. Some babies have trouble with sleeping on their backs because they startle themselves awake; when they are swaddled, that’s less likely to happen. Swaddling protects your baby against their natural startle reflex, which means better sleep for both of you. It may help calm a colicky baby. It helps eliminate anxiety in your baby by imitating your touch, which helps your baby learn to self-soothe. It not only calms and soothes them, but also helps them sleep longer. Recent studies have found that infants are quieter, sleep more, and have lower and more stable heart rates when swaddled. When done correctly, swaddling is a wonderful and safe way to help calm and comfort your baby.
How not to swaddle?
· Instead of learning various ways of swaddling and just blindly following them all, it’s important to understand, that there are few steps to avoid while swaddling to ensure maximum benefit from swaddling.
· Do not keep swaddled babies on their tummies.
· Do not wrap the baby too tight, you should be able to move your fingers freely through the edges of the swaddling cloth.
· Do not swaddle too tight around hips and legs.
· Do not keep it loose from any end while tucking in, it shouldn’t open on its own.
· Avoid covering baby’s head while swaddling, use a soft cotton cap instead.
Ideal qualities of Swaddling cloth:
· Best swaddling clothes are ideally made of cotton or muslin, with a little stretchability in the fabric. Few brands have also made swaddling clothes in Flannel fabric, they are not the perfect ones for your little ones, as at times they tend to get too warm and are not breathable.
· Swaddling cloth should be a minimum of 40*40 inches to a max of 48* 48 inches.
· It should be a square cloth, non-dyed preferably with breathable fabric.
· Swaddling cloth with too thick fabric should be avoided. Swaddles should not be made of synthetic material at all.