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Swaddling A Baby Safely

Updated on July 27, 2015
Baby with stuffy nose sleeps soundly in his swaddle.  Grammy still isn't a pro in the swaddling department.
Baby with stuffy nose sleeps soundly in his swaddle. Grammy still isn't a pro in the swaddling department.

Babies have been swaddled in one way or another throughout history. Native American Indians swaddled their babies on cradle boards for the first year of their lives. In many countries, like China and India swaddling is still a tradition.

Pediatric nurses bundle newborns into tight little cocoons with a twist of a receiving blanket. It must be a good thing if they swaddle in hospitals. Still I had some concerns when my grandson was swaddled after he was a couple weeks old.

Swaddling

As a mother, swaddling wasn't new to me. It was swaddling babies until 6 months of age that got me thinking. Swaddling using swaddling blankets and sleep sacks with swaddling attachments intrigued me. The size on the swaddling blanket said 0-6 months. I was concerned for the safety of my grandson as he got older and was still swaddled. His parents are the best parents I know, but I was concerned.

As a reformed world class worrier, I tried to think about the solution not the problem.

C.J. Rapp says "Don't give problems real estate in your mind". The more you think about a problem the bigger it is likely to become. Instead of worry look for a resolution to the problem.

The solution to my concern was to "Research swaddling". I read doctors opinions and watched videos and I talked to my son, daughter-in-law and a mother of twins . Most were enthusiastic. My conclusion is swaddling is safe when done correctly.

Interviews With Swaddling Parents

T.T: "Why do you swaddle H.J."?

Son: "Swaddling him makes him sleep more solidly. He doesn't startle himself awake. When he is swaddled it signals him its time to sleep and he does."

T.T: " You have two types of swaddling blankets. What are they and which do you like the best"?

Son: We have the Miracle Blanket and Swaddle Me Velcro. The Miracle Blanket works best now that he is a little bigger. When H.J. was newborn the Swaddle Me was find,but as he got bigger and stronger the Velcro wouldn't hold.

T.T: When will you stop swaddling H.J.

Son: We have been talking to our friends with babies and think its time to start weaning him out of the swaddle. But he sleeps so well.

T.T: Daughter why do you swaddle H.J.?

Daughter: "When I was in college I babysat for a family who swaddled their baby and he slept really well. It was then I thought ,'If I ever have a baby I will swaddle'. Then I we saw the Swaddle Me Velcro blanket when we registered at Baby's R Us. At our shower a mother of 4 gave us a Miracle blanket. She swore by it."

T.T.: "Which blanket do you like the best"?

Daughter: "The Miracle just works better now that H.J. is bigger".

T.T: "When will you stop swaddling"?

Daughter " At five months its time to start phasing out. You phase out like you would an pacifier".

T.T: Mom of twins did you ever swaddle"?

Mom of Twins: "We didn't when we first came home, but our pediatrician suggested we try. It really work nicely".

T.T "What kind of blanket did you use"?

Mom of Twins: "The Halo Sleep Sack with swaddling attachment. You can use the sack with or without the swaddle attachment. You can use it to swaddle one arm or two or just swaddle around the body. They are wonderful ".

T.T: "How long did you swaddle"?

Mom of Twins: "We swaddled until the boys were a year. They had an adjusted age of 10 months and that's when I have seen recommendations for stopping. You can get the baby used to not being swaddled by only swaddling the body and one arm, then just the body".

Miracle Blanket

Concerns

Like all parenting practices there are concerns to be addressed when swaddling. Most of them are ameliorated by paying attention to your child's needs and correct swaddling. Correct swaddling is vital.

One of my greatest concerns happened when I was trying to be "gentle". I swaddled too loosely. H.J. wiggled out and caused himself to get tangled up in the blanket causing a choking hazard and scaring grandma badly.

This is a case of operator error, not the fault of swaddling. Please watch the video I have provided or read the instructions on proper swaddling that come with swaddling blankets. Miracle Blanket has very clear instructions on their website.

Pediatric Orthopedists believe incorrect swaddling increases dislocation of babies hips. Blankets made from a knit fabric that will stretch as baby moves within a secure swaddle is best.

I have not included swaddling using receiving blankets because the close weave of receiving blankets is more likely to cause problems with hip alignment. Also finding receiving blankets big enough to do the job well is difficult.

Look For Problems If Baby Is Not Comforted

Swaddling prepares baby for sleep. Swaddling helps baby feel comfortable simulating the closeness of the womb. Swaddling also keeps babies from startling themselves awake. The newborn startle reflex, also called Moro reflex, is outgrown between 5 and 6 months.

If baby usually is comforted by swaddling and isn't on a particular day look for problems.

Is baby:

  • Properly swaddled?
  • Over heated and needs a lighter swaddle?
  • Need a diaper change?
  • Healthy?
  • Hungry?
  • Ready to kick the swaddling habit?

You the parent, know your baby and what he needs best.

Convinced

At the beginning I mentioned concerns about swaddling. Those have been set aside.The gift I gave to a new mommy last week was a swaddling blanket.

Swaddling babies that don't like swaddling is a bad idea. Grandbaby RA does not like swaddling. She has always liked sleeping on her side, so while H.J. was swaddled for a long time. RA has only been swaddled a couple of times. Know your baby.

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    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 4 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

      My babies were swaddled too! It son would NOT sleep unless in one piece pajamas whether winter or summer, he HAD to have one piecers! We finally found them and it made a huge difference! Maybe they made him feel swaddled! Good information!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Very useful hub, swaddling helps provided the baby is wrapped comfortably. Voted up. Baby in picture is so very cute!!

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 4 years ago

      Hi Travel ~ Don't worry, be happy. That swaddle miracle blanket looks neat. Emma was incredibly cooperative and pleasant. Every time mama tucked the blankets underneath her, lifting her up, she started to smile.

      Some babies absolutely adore swaddling, feeling comforted and secure, while other babies must have freedom to move and kick about. They will struggle and try to get out of the bindings. Do what is best for your baby. Blessings, Debby

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      Thanks for stopping Debby. Doing what's best for each baby is indeed most sensible.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      At first i was overly conscious about how tight I swaddled my baby. Instead of a snug fit, it was too loose that my daughter wiggled out. But when I did it properly she slept even better.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      jpcmc, I did the exact same thing with my grandson. The swaddle is safer when done properly and securely.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Very good hub. I always feel claustrophobic when I see babies swaddled, but I've heard it's very comforting for them, although I do know some who don't like it. Guess they're just like grown ups - different strokes for different folks!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      Crystal Tatum- you are so correct. Some babies love it and some don't H.J. would yell while being swaddled and then fall instantly asleep. Thank for the visit.

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 4 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      The point you make about swaddling simulating the closeness of the womb is a good one and perhaps the best reason for swaddling. This article is informative and easy to read.I l found it interesting and useful

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Our doctor told us to swaddled with youngest, he had lots of problems and swaddling seem to help him. We also swaddled our older children. The doctor would say swaddle him put his ear against your heart rock gently it will make him feel like he's in the womb. It did help him. Enjoyed reading your hub.

      I'm the kind of grandma you are I worried over ever little thing my daughter and son did with their children but wouldn't say anything unless they ask.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      moonlake, So nice to meet a kindred spirit. I have no idea how swaddling missed me when my kids were babies.

      Kate so sorry to be tardy in replying. I took a leave from HP the end of the summer because I was healthy and it was too beautiful to be inside.

    • John-Rose profile image

      John-Rose 4 years ago from USA

      After four babys I am a huge fan of swaddling babys. I remember thinking how cruel it was the first time I saw my wife do it, but it helps the babys sleep so much better. ~ John

    • Abluesfornina profile image

      S Marie 4 years ago

      Your baby is so sweet. I get the idea of swaddling it seems one of the best ways to make women as warm and comfortable as possible and like you that would be my biggest concern. They have feelings too. Very enlightening!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      Abluesfornina thank you for visiting. I am definitely a fan of swaddling.

    • QudsiaP1 profile image

      QudsiaP1 4 years ago

      Great tips and things to think about. I often look at swaddling and feel claustrophobic, then again, I am not a mom so I do not know.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      OudsiaP1 I know what you mean. It worked for H.J. It will be interesting to see if his sister likes it when she gets here.

    • RachaelOhalloran profile image

      Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

      Good information. Voted up.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image
      Author

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      RachaelO- Thanks for visiting and the vote.

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