Swaddling is wrapping your baby snugly in a blanket for security and also for warmth. It keeps the baby safe and also does not disturb by his or her own reflexes that may startle. Swaddling is important for keeping the baby warm for the first few weeks of life until the internal body temperature stabilises. Swaddling is also helpful in keeping your baby calm.
Parents give various reasons about why they do not want to swaddle their babies. They may range from the baby fighting against the swaddle to why bother when the baby pops out of the swaddle anyway. Some parents avoid swaddling because they do not want their baby to get addicted to that while others feel that the baby will not get enough of exercise because the arms are not allowed to be free. These are all excuses for not swaddling and there can be strong arguments on why swaddling is necessary for your baby.
Here are five strong reasons in favour of swaddling your baby
1. First and foremost swaddling reduces Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – Many infants die of SIDS in their cribs and the reasons cannot be explained. It could be that they may turn in a way that is dangerous for their heart and tender bodies. Flipping over on their stomachs may be dangerous for them.
2. Swaddling soothes the babies – It will soothe babies that cry and it will lull them to sleep faster than anything you can think of. The process of getting swaddled frustrates them and they may react by crying loudly, at first but keeping their bodies tight and secure drives them to sleep faster.
3. It improves neuromuscular development – Some parents feel that it is better to keep the arms of their babies free so that they can figure out how to get their hands into their mouths and self-soothe. However, such movement is at random and it may be unintentional. Swaddling helps in immobilizing the babies’ arms and also develops better organisation of motor skills. It is particularly useful for all premature babies.
4. Babies may cry for a short while but they will cry less – You may achieve any level of mastery in soothing your babies, but you will find that they will cry anyway; it has been studies that swaddling helps reduce the crying level of babies by almost 25%.
5. Babies will sleep better when swaddled – They will sleep longer and better while they are swaddled because it will prevent them from startling themselves with their reflexes and their random movements of their arms. Swaddling has helped stimulate continuity in their sleeping patterns.
All mothers should not leave a hospital without learning a little bit about the technique of swaddling. The first time around, swaddling has to be done when the baby is not hungry or tired. It helps in settling your baby down as it allows similar feeling of security and tightness that is experienced in a mother’s womb. Swaddling has to be done correctly as tight wrapping, particularly of the legs may damage the cartilage of the soft hip sockets, leading to dysplasia.