Babies feel comfortable in the mother’s womb as they have had a supportive environment. Everything feels new for newborns as soon as they come into this world. The lights and sounds they are surrounded with in the world may not feel as comfortable as the womb initially. Babies are swaddled as you rock them to sleep in the womb.
Snuggling your baby in a sheet is a way of comforting your baby. People have been following the practice of swaddling babies since ancient times. But knowing the purpose, benefits, and risks of swaddling is very important to keep the baby safe.
What is the Purpose of Swaddling?
Some babies cry excessively and may need extra comfort. Swaddling serves the purpose of soothing the baby when he cries or is unable to sleep. However, it is not necessary to swaddle your baby if he is already comfortable sleeping without a wrap.
Babies can make you play a guessing game. They will want your comfort and care all the time. It is up to you and your baby to choose whether swaddling should be an option. Know that swaddling has its own benefits and risks. It can pose your baby to unnecessary side effects which you may never want. Also, there are benefits of swaddling which may be a relief for you and your baby as you both find a way out for baby comfort.
What Makes Baby Uncomfortable Initially?
Newborns feel unsafe as soon as they are out from the womb as they have been protected inside for around 9 months. Having lots of space all of a sudden takes them time to adjust. They are startled by their own reflex in the initial 2 to 3 months. Swaddling is a way to make them feel secure as their movement is limited.
Newborns need comfort and they get it from their mother’s womb. However, being born does not allow them to be in continuous physical contact with their mother. This is what makes them uncomfortable although not all babies feel the same.
What is Moro Reflex?
Moro reflex is a natural phenomenon in babies until they re 3 to 4 months old. All infants have this reflex as they lose the support of the womb all of a sudden. They startle as if they are falling. Babies may spread their arms wide apart or even pull the arms when they’re startled. Moro reflex is more commonly known as startle reflex.
How to Swaddle Your Baby?
Following the right steps will make swaddling safe for your baby. Keeping it safe is always better when it comes to your baby as newborns are delicate.
It is therefore recommended to use a light cloth for swaddling your baby. Also, do not cover the head to avoid choking or overheating. Make the baby lie on her back when swaddled. Do not try to introduce swaddling to your baby if he is already used to sleeping without being wrapped. Use the technique of swaddling every time your baby sleeps so as to make him used to it.
Check your baby’s temperature continuously to avoid overheating in summers. Allow space for the baby’s legs to move freely. Do not leave your baby unattended. All this will make your baby safe as he feels comfortable in the wrapping sheet. You should also keep in mind that you will have to make your baby leave this habit after a few months. Babies are at risk of sudden infant death syndrome when they are 2 to 3 months old. This is not the time to introduce them to swaddling in any case. Try other techniques to make them comfortable.
Benefits of Swaddling
Newborns struggle with sleeping as they get disturbed by startle reflex. Babies can jerk during sleep which wakes them up many times. This may make them cry often. Soothing them with swaddling is a technique that helps many parents. Babies are able to sleep better when wrapped but this does not work for all babies. Overstimulated babies get soothed when wrapped up in a cozy manner. Longer periods of sleep can calm your newborn baby as they find comfort this way.
What are the Risks of Swaddling?
Swaddling can be beneficial for comfort purpose only if done in the right way. Wrapping the baby too tight can be dangerous. Babies grow stronger when they move their arms and legs. Restricting their movements by tightly wrapping them up will pose risk with the hips. Legs should not be pressed together so as to prevent hip dysplasia. Babies need space to move their hands and feet all they can to gain strength.
Moreover, swaddling all day long makes a baby lazy and lies down straight without any movement. Babies also rollover which makes swaddling even more dangerous. It is highly recommended that you have an eye on the baby when he is wrapped up so he remains on his back. Also, it is better to stop the practice of swaddling when there is a risk of rolling.
Other Tips to Make your Baby Sleep
Some babies cry excessively at times and it gets harder to soothe them. You should learn different techniques in order to make them comfortable. Newborns can have bloating and gas which makes them cry more often. Colic is another reason why babies may cry continuously. Various techniques to hold your baby can often make them relieve pain.
Skin to skin contact is a way to give the baby a warm feeling. This also gives them a feeling of your smell and touch. Having close contact with your baby makes him calm mostly. Try to feed the baby when he demands is a good way to soothe him. You should try to understand the signs your baby gives you while crying. The reasons can become familiar to you after you spend some time with your baby.
Fourth Trimester – How is it Tough?
The fourth trimester can be tough as your newborn gives you a tough time. The trimester lasts for three months and babies take this time to have better control over their behavior. Try to fulfill the demands of your baby as soon as you can as this will make him calm. Do not think of it as a spoiler in the initial stage. Learn how to soothe your baby in the initial months and you will have better control over his cry.
The art of swaddling can be a relief to first-time parents. However, care should be taken to avoid risks. You should not try it if you are not sure of wrapping the baby the right way. Snuggle your baby the way you want and try to keep close contact to calm and soothe him as much as possible.