The swaddle is one of the most effective ways to make your baby feel safe, secure, and calm. Many babies, however, seem to dislike being swaddled. Going by their baby’s reaction, many parents assume that they have that one baby who doesn’t like being wrapped up. Ironically, the number of parents who think they are the only ones whose child doesn’t want the swaddle is large.
Why the Swaddle Should Be Used
Do you think your newborn doesn’t like being swaddled? Well, sorry to say moms and dads, but that is not the case! While they may not like initially being swaddled, or they like to try and break free of the swaddle, all babies feel most secure once swaddled. Here are 4 reasons babies should be swaddled:
1. Helps Reduce SIDS
The 2007 Journal of Pediatrics found a decrease in the incidence of SIDS among children who were swaddled. Although the cause of SIDS and exactly why swaddling helps lower the risk is as yet unknown, the research clearly shows that swaddling does work to reduce the chance of SIDS.
Your child was held tightly in your womb for months. The feel of being swaddled helps stimulate a feeling of security and safety by mimicking that same feeling of restricted movement.
3. Promotes Sleep Continuity
The swaddle method helps reduce waking by reducing the chances of the Moro reflex from startling your baby. This reflex occurs in infants and newborns up to 3 or 4 months of age and is a response to a sudden loss of support, essentially making the baby feel like he or she is falling.
4. Better Motor Skill
Research has shown that immobilizing a baby’s arms through swaddling actually helps them to develop better motor skills and organization.
When the Swaddle Should be Stopped
The average age that babies stop being swaddled is 3-4 months. A key indicator is that your baby is starting to roll. Once that happens, you can start the process of weaning them off the swaddle. At this time you want to increase tummy time so that your baby can master this new skill so that it does not interfere with his sleep. When baby is rolling their arms must be free and not swaddled.
Safety Note: Always place your baby down on his BACK to sleep.
When to Stop Swaddling Your Baby
For babies that are more dependent on the swaddle, it is best to do so gradually. Be sure to set a healthy sleep foundation for your newborn. You can start by leaving one arm out of the swaddle and rotating which arm you swaddle, then both arms, eventually until you are not swaddling him at all.
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