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  • Joanna Shtrosberg

Many newborn babies love to be swaddled as it recreates the womb-like environment, giving them that reassuring feeling of safety and security. Of course not all babies will like the sensation. Some will try to break free of any swaddle, like my eldest child when he was a baby. However, I always recommend giving it a try with your newborn to see if it comforts your child and helps them sleep better.

Why swaddle?

As well as giving your baby that important sense of security by recreating the womb’s environment, swaddling has some added advantages including:

  • Making it easier for your baby to settle down to sleep.
  • Preventing your newborn from waking themselves because of their natural startle reflux (when a baby startles themselves with an involuntary arm or leg movement).
  • Encouraging longer stretches of sleep.

Swaddle dos

Swaddling your baby can improve their sleep.

When you swaddle your baby you want to gently wrap their whole body in a light breathable blanket whilst allowing their legs to move into their natural frog-like position so that they can kick freely. Always keep your baby’s neck and face free from the blanket.

Swaddle don’ts

  • Be careful not to swaddle your baby too tightly which can cause hip problems known as hip dysplasia.
  • You don’t want your baby to get too hot, so avoid thick blankets when swaddling. Always use a light breathable fabric (like a large bamboo muslin). Remember to consider the room temperature. For example, on a hot stuffy day, swaddling your baby is probably inappropriate.
  • Ensure that you don’t cover your baby’s face or neck in the swaddle.
  • Do not swaddle your baby after they reach 8 weeks old or sooner if they have learnt how to roll over as this can increase their risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). For more information on safe sleep read my blog here.

Step-by-step to swaddling

  1. Lay your thin breathable blanket out flat in a diamond shape and fold down the top corner.
  2. Place your baby with their face upwards on the blanket, with their head above the folded corner.
  3. Carefully encourage your baby’s right arm down by their side. Then, wrap the right corner over your baby. Tuck the end under your baby’s left side.
  4. The bottom corner of the blanket then needs to be brought over the feet and towards the shoulders (but not too tightly). Be sure to leave your baby’s neck and face uncovered.
  5. To complete the swaddle, you then gently place your baby’s left arm by their side and this time wrap the left corner of the blanket over them. As before, tuck in the corner but this time under their right side.
  6. Check that the blanket does not cover your baby’s head or neck and that the swaddle isn’t too tight or constricting, especially around the hips and legs. Your baby’s legs should be able to kick around and easily move into the natural, frog-like position.

Remember that swaddling is only for younger babies (under 8 weeks, or younger if they have learnt to roll early). However, once your child is 6 months old and if you feel that you need sleep support, Sleep Superstars provides sleep welfare packages. We look at sleep holisitically and our sleep packages are carefully tailored to your child and your preferences. To find out how it works see here or read our testimonials.

Joanna Shtrosberg
Joanna is a certified level 6 holistic sleep consultant and founder of Sleep Superstars. Her vision is to help parents navigate the challenges of parenthood by helping them and their children get the sleep they need. Before setting up Sleep Superstars, Joanna graduated from Cambridge University and the College of Law after which she practised in the legal profession for several years. She is also a mother to two young boys so fully understands the difficulties in balancing a career with family life.