Should I swaddle my baby?

September 14, 2016

Swaddling (or snugly wrapping up) a baby in a blanket or a thin piece of cloth is a common practice in many cultures.

Being tightly contained within the swaddling blanket is said to mimic the compact space of the womb, helping a newborn to feel secure and safe in their new surroundings.

Swaddling also prevents a little one from waking up if they're suprised by their startle reflexes because the tightened fabric holds their arms in against their bodies. Fussy babies often become more relaxed when swaddled and might even feel so comfy that they fall asleep.

Wrapping a little one up securely also ensures that new babies, who are still working on regulating their temperature outside of the womb, stay warm and cosy.

However, you should take lots of care when swaddling your baby to prevent them from becoming too hot. Thin muslin cloths can work well to keep baby snug without causing overheating. You should also make sure you don't wrap up your baby's legs too tightly -- there should always be enough wiggle room available for them to bend their legs and ensure that their hips develop correctly.

When to stop swaddling

There's no fixed time to stop swaddling your baby although lots of parents stop at around the 4-month mark when babies grow out of their startle reflex. It's totally up to you if you choose to continue beyond that point. If your baby feels more settled and happy when swaddled then continue to do so. However, it's advisable to stop swaddling once your bubba can roll over onto their tummy because they could suffocate if they remain on their fronts. Movement is really important for encouraging a baby's motor development so being constricted within a swaddling blanket isn't advisable for the long term.

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