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swaddling your newborn baby: how to swaddle your newborn baby safely

2 minutes

04/11/2019

At WaterWipes we want to help you feel as confident as possible with your little one so below we've outlined how to swaddle your newborn and why you should do it.

  • 1. What is swaddling?

  • 2. Why do we swaddle babies?

  • 3. The benefits of swaddling a newborn baby

  • 4. How to swaddle a newborn baby safely

  • 5. When to start swaddling your baby

  • 6. When to stop swaddling your baby

  • 7. Is swaddling safe?

1. What is swaddling?

Wrapping a newborn baby up in a blanket so just their head is peeking out of the top, is called swaddling. A brilliant word to say, yes, but also a very useful concept, as it’s said to help babies sleep.

2. Why do we swaddle babies?

Most adults know the feeling of dropping off to sleep then suddenly jolting awake – well babies have this too (the startle reflex) but at a much more acute level and often wake themselves up with their flailing limbs. Swaddling a newborn is said to help prevent this as it keeps their limbs gently wrapped up.

3. The benefits of swaddling a newborn baby

There’s also the idea that the first three months of a baby’s life is the ‘fourth trimester’, where they’re transitioning from life inside to outside the womb. Swaddling your newborn is thought to help with this transition, as it creates a warm, snug and secure feel.

4. How to swaddle a newborn baby safely

The National Childbirth Trust has created a list of swaddling safety tips below so you'll know how to swaddle your newborn in no time:

1. ‘Use thin, breathable materials such as cotton-receiving blankets, cotton muslin wraps’, or specialised cotton-winged baby swaddles. Don’t over layer them.’

2. ‘Don’t swaddle your baby above their shoulders.’

3. ‘Wrap your baby firmly but gently (not too tightly). Tight swaddling that stops your baby's hips and knees moving freely is not recommended as it could cause hip dysplasia.’

4. ‘Make sure your baby is able to move their hips and knees freely to kick. Your baby’s legs should be able to fall into a natural position (like frog legs).’

5. ‘Always put your baby to sleep on their back. Never on their front or side.’

6. ‘Check your baby’s temperature regularly to make sure they don’t get too hot. Check they’re wearing suitable clothes for the weather.’

5. When to start swaddling your baby

Swaddling should only be introduced when your baby is a newborn.

6. When to stop swaddling your baby

Swaddling should stop as soon as they show signs that they’re learning to roll over.

7. Is swaddling safe?

If swaddling isn’t done correctly it can be dangerous, so it is crucial to learn the proper technique from a healthcare professional.

Now you know how to swaddle a newborn why not check out our other articles on our Parenting Hub to explore newborn topics:

References
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1) NCT, Swaddling a baby: the benefits, risks and seven safety tips, https://www.nct.org.uk, last accessed 7th May 2021.

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