The benefits of swaddling lie in the gentle wrapping of a baby in a blanket to restrict their movements. This sensation of confinement reminds them of the comfort of their mother's womb, providing security and soothing to the baby, which tends to reduce their crying.
Swaddling is particularly beneficial for premature or sick babies, as it has a calming and reassuring effect. However, even a healthy baby can enjoy the comfort provided by this sense of being enveloped.
Furthermore, this practice can facilitate the baby's falling asleep and promote longer sleep durations. This is because swaddling prevents frequent awakenings caused by startles that often occur during a baby's sleep.
The opportune moment to swaddle a baby is usually when they need to be soothed during moments of distress, irritability, or restlessness. However, it is essential to first check that these issues are not caused by hunger, a wet diaper, physical discomfort (e.g., diaper rash), or an infection. If these factors are ruled out, swaddling can be used to comfort the baby.
It is possible to swaddle a baby for naps and nighttime sleep, allowing them to remain wrapped during their entire sleep time. There is no strict rule regarding the number of times a baby can be swaddled in a day, as long as they appear comfortable.
However, it is crucial to take certain precautions during swaddling. Never place a swaddled baby on their stomach to avoid the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Additionally, the swaddling should not be too tight, as it can exert excessive pressure on the baby's lungs or lead to hip problems. It is recommended to ensure that the baby does not feel too warm while swaddled, as elevated body temperature is associated with SIDS risks. Using a lightweight fabric, such as a thin blanket, is preferable in this case.
Finally, swaddling should be stopped as soon as the baby is capable of turning over on their own onto their stomach. To calm the baby without using this method, a musical stuffed toy emitting soothing music or the sound of waves can be placed near the baby's bassinet.
Key Points to Remember:
- Swaddling reminds the baby of life in the mother's womb and helps to calm them. It can aid in their falling asleep and reduce crying.
- Do not swaddle your baby too tightly in the blanket.
- Swaddling is no longer recommended once your child is capable of turning over on their own onto their stomach.