Parenting Made Easier: Swaddling

This post, written by Greg, originally appeared on MommyDaddyBlog.com.

Parenting Made Easier: Swaddling Sophistishe.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.

(Sources: Baby Center, Wikipedia, and About)

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Parenting Made Easier: Swaddling Sophistishe.com

Sheena Tatum

is the founder of Sophistishe. She's a free spirit, wife, boy mom, rental rebel, curator of pretty things, lover of vintage pyrex, and the tropics. Sheena can be found in NW Indiana with her husband and two scrumptious boys, clutching kraft paper, chalkboard paint, sriracha and chipotle pepper. In the midst of motherhood, wifedom, and managing a growing collection of digital projects, she somehow manages to find zen in being a quirky, introverted, lil’ lady.
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12 Responses to “Parenting Made Easier: Swaddling”

  1. We swaddled Claire, and she responded very well to it. But, we had to put her left arm up for her to be happy. (Whatever works, I say!)

    I loved the Velcro Swaddling things, but I made the mistake of trying to use one for the first time at 3am while she was screaming…without the instructions. In the light of day after a couple hours of sleep, and with the instructions, it was a piece of cake. After that, we didn’t need the instructions, but my advice is to not throw them away until you’re comfortable with the process.

    Swaddling was a LIFESAVER for us!

    Good luck!!

    The Casual Perfectionist’s last blog post..At least she didn’t say it was pink

  2. Laura says:

    Hi Daddy,

    Those instructions are right on, and so easy. Just make sure that you wrap *tight* think of wrapping up a burrito. The baby should be comfortable if he ends up with his arms crossed in the swaddle and legs straight.
    Those velcro wraps are SO confusing!! I was given a couple of them when Deeder was born and just couldn’t figure them out so ended up just sending them over to the second hand store.
    Instead of going that route I’d recommend just buying a pack of receiving blankets. Even though they look like nothing more than a little sheet they’re quite versatile–handy dandy.
    Drop by my blog sometime and pick up an award!

  3. Yolanda says:

    My husband was also a world class swaddler. Our little baby burrito was always so happy to have a super tight swaddle (I never could get it tight enough).

    Yolanda’s last blog post..Yes We Can

  4. Jared says:

    We swaddled our little guy for the first few months. However, he did not like his arms to be in the swaddle. As long as we kept his arms out he was happy.

    BTW…we always called it the “Baby Burrito”. :D

    Jared’s last blog post..10% Off For Valentines Day!

  5. Good luck with the swaddling. Glad I could help

    SuburbanDaddy’s last blog post..Preschoolers Communicate In Subtle Ways

  6. Lin says:

    Swaddling was something I did with all of my kids when they were babies, and even when they were toddlers since they enjoyed how it felt. A couple of my children occasionally would ask me to “snuggie” them into bed, even when they were around eleven or twelve years old!

    I’ll be getting some of the swaddling blankets for my grandson soon to be born, and I bet his mommie will love them. And, what a great little trick in getting the little fella used to his grandma. :)

    Lin’s last blog post..Thank You For Commenting Emails and Blog Comment Policies

  7. Jenny says:

    My husband never learned how to do this. I don’t think he even bothered. But my mom taught me how and I think the baby liked it a lot. ;)

    Jenny’s last blog post..You and Your Handbag

  8. It is true, Daddy’s make the best swaddlers. I think because it takes a lot of muscle to really do it well.

    The best advice I ever read was in The Happiest Baby on the Block when he said you cannot swaddle them too tight. If you duct taped him, it would be ok. After that, I swaddled as hard and tight as I could but I could never compare to the Champ, aka Daddy. Only nurses can do it better.

    When you are in the hospital, have the nurses give you lessons and don’t leave till you are a pro. Then swaddle him and pop him in the swing turned on high and try and catch a little sleep. Also, steal (who said that?) the hospital blankets – none you can buy will work as well.

  9. tanyetta says:

    this is great advice! swaddling was a lifesaver. i called it the babyrito! ;)

    tanyetta’s last blog post..Voting polls and a 3 year old that missed his nap.

  10. The NON-Superwoman says:

    My hubby was the swaddling pro with our first son–who loved to be swaddled. I think we swaddled him for two months. Our new baby however, was through with swaddling after the third week. He would bust out of the swaddle and if he couldn’t he’d cry like crazy until we loosed him. If your baby wants to be swaddled…that is definitely a good thing and makes sleeping more soundly possible for you and baby! Wishing you the best.
    PS- there are swaddling blankets with velcro..etc…….but we preferred the old fashioned way–with a receiving blanket.

    The NON-Superwoman’s last blog post..Today’s Blessings: The One Thousand Gift List

  11. Kellie says:

    I can’t begin to tell you how my husband perfected his technique on the swaddle of both of our children (and soon #3 too!). I will say that having baby all wrapped tight and snug in the swaddle helps for getting an hour or two of extra sleep in. I always found that if the swaddle was loose (like the ones i’m famous for lol), baby’s hand comes out too easy and that means waking up is just around the corner!!

    Less than 100 days to go on your pregnancy! WOOT! That’s awesome!

    Kellie’s last blog post..Above the Fold, an Entrecard meme!

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