What to use to swaddle your baby?
There are few techniques out there and I wanted to show you the one I have used and found to be most useful. However, before that few words about what material to use when swaddling your baby.
Muslin swaddles are the best as they are breathable and easy to use and good for the delicate new born skin. I also love that usually swaddles for example from Bubba Blue come on large size which helps on the swaddling as process.
You can get strechy fabrics too tight and they can cause discomfort, restrict movement and cause overheating hence any stretchy fabric that is sold as swaddle I would recommend to avoid.
I would use swaddle suits after 3-4 months once the moro reflex (spreading and unspreading the arms) starts to disappear. As with the swaddle suits the baby can still move their arms and hands and this can wake them up just when you get them swaddled and to sleep.
The technique to swaddle baby correctly
The technique shown in the pictures below is called the standard or diamond technique. I used this with my boys and recall practising this with a doll in my antenatal classes!
- You make the swaddle muslin on diamond shape and put the bub on the swaddle as shown below.
- You put the swaddle over the one arm and shoulder and secure it under the other side of the bub.
- Repeat in the other side and the secure the bottom part underneath of the baby.
This technique was definitely the best and I did try few of them. You can do the same swaddling without the arms been swaddled and they can move arms freely when baby grows up if you want to continue to swaddling or if the baby prefers to have their arms free.
The correct technique is important to allow enough movement to lower limbs as well. There is a risk of hip dysplasia if swaddling is not done correctly. There are great resources that you can refer to like Healthyhips Australia for further read.
What are the benefits of swaddling babies?
It is proven that swaddling has a calming effect on babies and it helps them to remain in sleep and avoid spontaneous waking caused by moro reflex. The swaddling also keeps babies on their back which promotes safe sleeping.
However, some feel that swaddling restricts the normal movement of the baby and that moro reflex is there to support the baby to wake up hence we should not suppress this reflex by swaddling. There is no evidence that swaddling is harmful by using correct techniques and listening your babies cues on what is comfortable for them.
Will my baby wake up more if I do not swaddle?
Every baby is different, some prefer to be tucked under a blanket in their cot and they sleep soundly without swaddling and some prefer the snug feeling of swaddle blanket around them. There are as many opinions about this as there are mothers out there. Some hospitals have guidelines that generally they recommend swaddling and your midwife shows you how to do this when you give birth at the hospital.
However, every baby is different and not all will enjoy it or want to be swaddled. Listen to your babies cues on what they prefer and remember that there is no right or wrong on how you put your baby to sleep with or without swaddle.
Can I use a baby sleeping bag instead?
There are quite a few baby sleeping bags out there that are designed to be used with new born babies. However, I felt that I wanted to use swaddling at the beginning and once my babies started to be around 3 to 4 months old and their moro reflex was not as prevalent I began to use sleeping bag which allowed them to move their hands when they wanted.
Both of my boys slept well swaddled and with sleeping bag from 4 months onwards and there was no adverse effect on using neither. Whatever you use to our your baby to sleep look for cues what your baby prefers and you cannot go wrong by it.