Swaddling….Is it Necessary for Healthy Infant Sleep?

Swaddling Your Baby Swaddling is an EXTREMELY important component for maximizing your babies sleep. Unfortunately many new moms and dads don’t realize how important it is or how much their babies LOVE to be swaddled! I hear it all the time….”but my baby doesn’t like to be swaddled!” Well, I have to tell you I have never met a baby that doesn’t LOVE the swaddle…..as long as they are being “properly” swaddled.  A properly swaddled baby is swaddled  snug with very minimal ability to move their arms.  Yes I know this sounds like a form of torture to you and me but let me tell you, young babies absolutely love this as it is the easiest way to make them feel safe, sound and secure.  They want to feel like they are in the womb and swaddling is as close as its going to get! (Unless you want to be holding your baby snugly in your arms 24/7!) One of the biggest mistakes new moms and dads make is swaddling their baby so loose that their baby hates it and starts “fighting” against it.  Or they may start out swaddled snug but within a short time they have their arms up and out of the swaddle, (babies wiggle a lot!) and then they are fussy and crying. Mom and dad then come to the conclusion that their baby simply doesn’t like to be swaddled as they seem to always be trying to “break free”!

Swaddling Your Baby 1

 

Well, Im here to tell you nothing could be further from the truth!  Babies need to be swaddled in order to sleep for extended periods of time. A swaddle done properly can lengthen a young baby’s night time sleep by up to 2 hours.  The reason for this is because baby’s are born with a startle reflex and that reflex will keep a baby from staying in a sound sleep as they are constantly waking themselves throughout the night if their arms are free or if they have too much movement within the swaddle.  The other reason baby’s need the swaddle is because they are being put to sleep on their backs to decrease the risk of SIDS.  Back sleeping may be safer but it is a very unnatural position for a baby to sleep in. Baby’s DO NOT love being flat on their backs. It makes them feel VERY insecure……Hence the need for the swaddle.

I have used several different swaddles over the course of my sleep training experience and my absolute favorite swaddle and  the one that I now use exclusively is…….The Miracle Blanket.  I love this blanket as it is a full proof way to keep babies snug and to keep them sleeping!  What new parent doesn’t want that!  The reason the Miracle Blanket works so well is because it holds their arms snug by their sides (no breaking out!) and it has a long piece of fabric that wraps around their chest and arms.  Baby’s love having gentle pressure on their chests. It also allows their legs to move freely which is what you want in order to avoid hip dysplasia.

How to swaddle your baby 3

{photo by Jillian Kirby}

Becoming an expert swaddler (something you will want to strive towards!) does take some practice but it is well worth the effort! However, if your swaddled baby still isn’t sleeping as well as you’d like please contact me for a further evaluation of your childs sleep issues and we can get you started on the path to healthy sleep in no time!

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