This post, written by Greg, originally appeared on MommyDaddyBlog.com.
Question: What has made parenting easier for you?
SuburbanDaddy says “Learn how to swaddle! It’s a real art form. The nurses at the hospital are experts, and babies calm down as soon as they are snug. I could never get the swaddle to hold for more than 5 minutes, so we used the ones at babies r us that wrap around with velcro.”
To be honest, I did not know what the heck swaddling was up until a couple of weeks ago. After I read SuburbanDaddy’s comment, I thought to myself, “What in the world is swaddling?” Before turning to Google to tell me what it was, I tried figuring it out on my own. I began to focus on the word……………swaddling…………swaaaaaadling………sssssswaddling……… And that’s when it hit me! I came to the conclusion that it must have something to do with swimming and paddling! Swimming + Paddling = Swaddling! Right? Then I wondered, “But what the heck does swimming and paddling have to do with babies?” Could it have something to do with a baby “swimming” around in his/her mother’s stomach? But then how would he/she have access to paddles? Becoming frustrated, I just asked Mommy what swaddling was. After she laughed at me (for an hour or two) when I explained to her what I thought it meant, she told me what it was. I felt like an idiot.
So since I’m a complete dummy when it comes to swaddling (Swaddling For Dummies, anyone?), as I just previously proved, I’ll let my research do the talking on the subject.
Running a quick search on Google for “swaddling” will net you loads of information on the practice. It turns out that swaddling has been around for centuries simply because it has many benefits and very few risks. Swaddling is meant to emulate the tightness and security of the womb for a newborn baby. Loosening a swaddle over time can help him/her adjust from the tightness of the womb to the openness of the new world they’ve just entered. This can make the transition for the newborn much easier and much more comfortable. Many more benefits of swaddling include:
-helps the baby sleep through the night with very few awakenings
-keeps the baby warm
-prevents the baby from startling him/herself and even scratching his/her own face
-calms the baby
There are also some risk factors of swaddling. It is recommended that a baby is swaddled only for the first month or two of his/her life. Swaddling for longer could potentially interfere with his/her mobility and development. Excessive swaddling could make it difficult for the baby to become comfortable or fall asleep without a swaddle, as he/she would rely so much upon it. It is recommended that you loosen the swaddle over time so that becoming reliant upon it can be prevented.
In case you are interested to learn how to swaddle a baby, here are some instructions on how to do so:
1. Lay the blanket out on a flat surface in the shape of a diamond.
2. Fold down three or four inches of the top edge of the blanket.
3. Place your baby on the blanket so that his head is overlapping the top edge you turned down.
4. Tuck your baby’s right arm into the flap made by the folded down edge of the blanket and the right corner of the blanket. Pull that corner across his body, tucking it behind the opposite side of his back.
5. Bring the bottom corner of the blanket up and tuck it inside the blanket near his chest.
6. Tuck your baby’s left arm into the flap made by the folded down edge of the blanket and the left corner of the blanket. Pull that corner across his body, tucking it behind the blanket on his back.
Or if that doesn’t work for you, you can always buy a swaddling blanket with Velcro flaps to make it easier for you as SuburbanDaddy suggested. Mommy and I have these types of swaddles on our Babies “R” Us baby registry.
So now I would like to hear your opinions on swaddling. Do you or did you swaddle your baby? If so, how did he/she react to it? Are there any other benefits/risk factors of swaddling that I did not mention here? Are there any swaddling methods you would like to share?
This post is a part of our Parenting Made Easier series. Our goal for this series is to help new and expecting parents learn ways that parenting can be made easier through tips and advice given by “veteran” parents.