There are very little and quite frustrating habits and behaviors that your newborn can execute and leave you wondering just when did the ‘bundle of joy’ turn into a ‘bundle of frustration’. Does your newborn show noticeable signs of constant crying, sleeplessness (or irregular, short sleeping patterns), face scratching, finger sucking, irritability, flipping while a sleep, and restlessness? While this is common and natural in newborns, it can sometimes raise unnecessary anxiety and concern, especially in new moms. If you share these sentiments, then you may want to try swaddling.
Swaddling is the practice of tightly wrapping a blanket around your baby’s body. It provides a cocoon effect that resembles the mother’s womb and helps in soothing your baby to sleep, among other benefits.
It may surprise to you that swaddling isn’t a new phenomenon. As a matter of fact, the technique has been in existence for now over 4000 years. In the biblical times, our ancestral mothers used cloths secured tight by bandage-like strips to swaddle babies.
Benefits of using a swaddle on your newborn
Research has shown that baby swaddling not only keep your baby comfortable and warm, but also promotes a better long sleep. This is supported by the fact that swaddling prevents your baby from startling themselves awake. Here is a quick summary of benefits of buying a newborn swaddle.
- Reduce SIDS: Saddling makes it difficult for newborns to inadvertently cover their face or head with bedding, and minimizes the chances of flipping over their stomachs, both of which have been closely linked to increased rates of SIDS in newborn. It should be noted however that you should never put a swaddled baby to sleep on their stomach. Swaddling is only to be used for babies lying on their backs.
- Basis for soothing: The process of swaddling may make your baby a little frustrated at first, in fact they might cry briefly, but once they get used to it; swaddling forms the basis upon which other soothing techniques are build. Start with swaddling then combine with an additional soothing technique like movement, white noise or pacifier to calm them down and encourage sleep.
- Improved neuromuscular development: Most people feel that newborns need to have their little hands free in order to practice using their arms, or figure out how to sooth themselves by putting their fingers in their mouth and sucking them, and so on. However, what you don’t know is that most of your newborn’s limb movements are actually random and unintentional. Immobilizing their arms using a swaddle actually helps them develop better, more organized motor skills.
- Cry Less: Babies naturally cry regardless of how much soothing you have provided to them. However, apart from enhancing the effectiveness of other soothing techniques, swaddling alone can reduce crying by over 28%.
- Sleep Better: A newborn swaddle will help your baby sleep better and longer. As earlier mentioned, swaddling will prevent your baby from startling themselves from sleep by random arm movements. While newborns are known for their teeny-weeny naps all day long, using a swaddle will make sure that your baby settles down into a long continuous and comfortable window of sleep.
- Using a swaddle makes it easier to hold your newborn. They are formed into a ‘bundle’ in which case they are more contained, neater, and fit comfortably into your arms.
- Swaddling also makes it a lot easier to transfer the newborn from one person to another, and can also help keep the newborns’ body in alignment with their neck, keeping in mind that they do not have any neck control at this point.
- Swaddling additionally makes it easier to breastfeed since it stops the little hands from coming between their mouth and the mother’s breasts.