Last week I shared a video of my version of how to swaddle a baby. I also mentioned that I had never actually swaddled any of my other kids. At this point, having Owen home for just over two weeks, I feel like I really missed out on some of the benefits of swaddling with my other three children. This kid is seriously happy when he is wrapped up like a baby burrito.
Since making my little video I have watched a couple dozen videos on swaddling babies. I had no idea how many different techniques there were for snuggly wrapping a baby in a blanket. There are also even wraps you can buy that take the guess work out of it for you. So why swaddle a baby?
For the first few days, babies can't control their body temperature. Until their internal thermostat kicks in, it is important to keep them nice and warm. That is why the hospital passes out hats even in the dead heat of summer in Arizona. A good swaddle is one way to make sure they are staying nice and warm while they sleep, without the risk of a loose blanket in their crib.
Another benefit of being swaddled is that it helps keep the baby from waking himself up with his natural startle reflex. The Moro reflex is what causes a baby to look startled, spread out their arms, and even cry when they feel like they are falling. This often happens when you are trying to lay them in their crib. Then they cry, wake up, and you get to repeat putting them back to sleep. I have fought this battle with all of my babies, and this is the first time that we haven't had an issue with keeping one of my babies asleep when I lay them in their bed.
If you have a little one with colic, swaddling might also help to soothe the crying. Along with other S's like swinging, shushing, and sucking. The only thing that used to help my oldest daughter when she was suffering from colic was swinging her in my arms while making loud shushing noises. It looked and sounded ridiculous, but it worked. I wish I would have added swaddling to that combination. It might have helped even more.
I am not sure how long Owen will enjoy being swaddled, but for now it is definitely working for us. If you have a little one that is having a hard time sleeping or self soothing, I would give it a shot. Talk to your pediatrician and see if he can give you a quick run down of swaddling. He may have a method that he recommends, as well as some important guidelines about not swaddling too tightly, making sure the knees aren't swaddled straight, and especially when to stop swaddling, like when a baby can turn and flip themselves over. We always want everyone to be safe!
Have you swaddled your baby? Did the technique work for you? What is your favorite swaddling method?
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