Pregnancy and Parenting Features

What is Swaddling?

You have undoubtedly heard of swaddling, but do you know what it is or how to do it? Maybe, maybe not, but you will be interested to learn more about what swaddling really is and how long it has been around. Today swaddling is considered an art form and of all the baby care methods that have not made it through the centuries and survived technology swaddling has. Why is that? Basically it is because swaddling is an art form that has been around for centuries and has many benefits for the new baby as well as the parents. Because of this swaddling is still in style and will likely remain so forever. The biggest benefits to swaddling include keeping your baby warm, secure, comfortable, and to decrease symptoms of colic.

Babies have been swaddled for centuries and the Bible refers to swaddling babies, even Jesus, so it is obvious this art form has been around for some time. There is no actual history that states who the first baby was that was swaddled, but more than likely it began with the world’s first children as an instinct on the mother’s part to protect her child and keep it warm and secure. In olden days babies were swaddled with cloth, clothes, or whatever was available. Today babies are generally swaddled with a receiving blanket.

Swaddling your baby might take some practice, but fortunately you have time to learn how to perfect the art of swaddling. First, you should lie a receiving blanket down on a carpeted floor, your bed, or another flat surface that is safe. Then you will want to fold one corner of the blanket down and inwards about six inches. Once you have done this you will need to lay the baby on the blanket with his head on the folded down edge. Then, take one corner of the blanket and fold it up and over the baby tucking the edge underneath. Do this with the other corners as well and finally tuck the last edge into the blanket and your baby will be swaddled. You might have a baby that prefers to be tightly swaddled or loosely swaddled and will be able to tell as you are swaddling your baby from his reactions. Just keep in mind there is no rule for how tight or loose to swaddle your baby as long as your baby is comfortable, can breathe, and is happy so take these as cues when you are swaddling.

Lots of times parents swaddle babies to confine them from moving in order to sleep better. This is because babies have a startle reflex that can easily wake them from their deepest sleep. Most of the time parents want their sleeping babies to stay that way so they swaddle them to keep them from jerking too much and waking. You can swaddle your baby up to the first month of age to confine movement and help them get sleep, but babies can’t be swaddled for much longer if you want them to begin developing and lots of babies will shrug the swaddle off anyway.

If at one month of age your baby seems to still like being swaddled you can continue to do so, just swaddle at nighttime and keep the baby free during the day in order to explore the world they are just discovering. If you continue swaddling your baby don’t be surprised if they resist or find a way out of the swaddle. This is simply because your baby wants to touch things around him and cannot do so if confined. The best rule of thumb is to swaddle your baby during the day and night for the first month for warmth, security, and comfort, but as your baby grows it is ok to simply swaddle at night and then not at all. You will enjoy this art form and love how your baby benefits from it as well.

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