What is a swaddle?
A swaddle is a thin blanket that is used to enswathe or wrap newborns. The main purpose of a swaddle is to prevent the baby from wriggling and interrupting their sleep. A baby sleeps for longer when swaddled because a swaddle imitates the effect of the womb by providing warmth and absorbing shock just like the amniotic fluid so it eases the startle reflex effect. How many swaddles do i need? Find out below.
What are the uses of swaddles?
Swaddles helps your baby to sleep for longer stretches because it makes your baby feel just like it did in the womb (the idea is you feel more comfortable in your comfort zone and for newborns the womb is their comfort zone so putting them in a swaddle make them relax and sleep for longer).
Another benefit of swaddles with regard to sleeping is that it helps your baby to maintain the safe sleeping position i.e. sleeping on their backs. Swaddles also help to soothe babies back to sleep when they wake up at night because it imitates the feel of being cuddled. Swaddles help to soothe your baby’s startle/Moro reflex as well as their colic(if they have).
Another good thing about swaddles it that they make for cute baby photo shoots as well as helping the parents to get some rest at night.
How Many Swaddles Do I Need
The answer to this question is simple, You need at least 3-6 swaddling blankets for a start. This is because you always have to have one or two swaddle to wear, one in the laundry and one to spare for emergency situations. You also have to keep in mind that the more swaddles you get for your baby the easier you life will be.
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At what age should I stop swaddling my baby?
When to stop swaddling your baby differs from baby to baby but generally babies can be swaddled from birth till around the 2-6 months mark. This is because by age 2-4 months some babies start to roll around while some babies don’t until they are 6 months old.
So you have to be observant because your baby might roll unto her belly and be unable to roll back onto her back and this raises the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. So if your baby starts to develop better limb coordination, rolls around or breaks free from the swaddle every night you should stop swaddling them and think about using sleeping bags.
Should I dress my baby for bed underneath the swaddle?
Some parents ask if clothing should be worn under the swaddle, the answer is you can if you want to or if you feel its necessary especially during the cold weather.
For a newborn a swaddle made of soft lightweight cotton is enough but if the weather is cold you can dress them in a one piece sleep suit to stay warm.
For older babies you can dress them for bed in a sleeveless or short- sleeve one piece night wear but if it makes them too hot you can do without it. In colder weather like winter, a sleep suit made of warm materials should be worn before swaddling.
What’s the difference between receiving blankets and swaddles?
For a lot of new parents the difference between a receiving blanket and a swaddling blanket is often confusing this is because they are both thin lightweight blankets used to wrap babies during the early months of their lives. Swaddling can be done with a receiving blanket and a swaddling blanket but you can’t use every type of swaddling blanket as a receiving blanket.
The essential difference between the receiving blankets and swaddling blanket is the level of technology applied to both. A swaddle is made with a lot of features that increases convenience like pockets, zippers, wings, snaps, straps, attachments and the like While a receiving blankets is a plain/ no frill square or rectangular blanket.
Another thing is a receiving blanket is versatile because of the simple nature of it’s construction and can be used as a regular blanket for covering your baby or as a bed covering while a swaddling blanket is made for the specific purpose of swaddling your baby.
Another thing to know is that a swaddling blanket is normally bigger than a receiving blanket. If you still can decide on which will work for you can just buy blankets that are designed for swaddling because you’ll find it easier to use when swaddling.
The number of swaddles you need depend on a few factors like how much support you get and laundry resources because as you know babies are always releasing one body fluid to another like vomit, drools, pee etc.
There a few factors that can help you determine how many swaddles a day, and they include:-
- Laundry facilities available for your use: your should always have a clean swaddle for you baby to put on so if you don’t do the laundry frequently or you always do the laundry one to two times weekly then 3 swaddles won’t be enough for you. If you like to change the swaddle according to the time if the day then you might need up to 12 swaddles.
- Functionality of different types of swaddles: There’s are a variety of swaddles and each of them are more suitable to a time of the day than the others, for example a swaddle with a sack styles is the best choice for the night , this is because it’s a soft but firm wrap that stays on even when your baby awakens and gets foggy. A sack style swaddle is also great for taking your baby out. Traditional swaddles or swaddles made of muslin fabric are good for napping during the day. If this is your preferred swaddling routine then you would need six swaddles three of each.
- Spitting and vomiting: it’s very common for babies to spit up or vomit, this is because of Infant Gastro esophageal Reflux, but this means they mess up their clothes fairly often and this includes their swaddles. Considering this you might need to double the number of swaddles you have so you don’t have to do the laundry all the time especially if you have limited laundry facilities available for your use.
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Types Of Swaddles
Basically, there are two types of swaddling blanket and they are:-
- Traditional swaddles
- Sack style swaddles
- Traditional swaddles(muslin): just like the name, this type of swaddle is made in the traditional simple style that has been used for centuries. It’s just a regular blankets that is made of a big piece of a thin material cut in a rectangle or square shape, it proves to be a multi purpose blankets as it can be used for swaddling or as a regular blanket and burp cloth.
- Sack style swaddle: is a modern version designed for convenience and easy use. It comes with a series of convenience features like wings, snaps, zippers and Velcro to help parents who are still new to swaddling wrap up their baby hassle-free. They are made of soft breathable materials so your baby’s body temperature remains stable and unaffected by outside temperature. Swaddle sacks always come with adjustable closures and hooks that allow for easy wearing and adaptation to the comfort and size of your baby.
Safety tips for swaddling a baby
When swaddling your baby there are a few things you should know in order to ensure the safety of your baby and avoid any suffocation, strangulation and entrapment hazards. Safety tips for swaddling your baby include:-
- Don’t over swaddle your child:- do not swaddle your baby with two swaddles because this can cause over heating rather than coziness. It’s understandable that you might feel the need for extra warmth on cold days and want to swaddle them twice DON’T do it, you should dress your baby in warm clothes before swaddling them. This is because a swaddle should be breathable and snuggly and using 2 swaddles does the opposite.
- Put your baby’s hand over his chest: specialist advice that you put your babies hands over his chest before swaddling him. Do not swaddle him with his hands on his sides because this limits his mobility and may cause joint problems.
- Wash the swaddle before use: it’s ok for you to use a swaddle after taking the packaging off. But it’s better to wash the swaddle before using them because although they are perfectly clean and safe there may be residual stains or stench left on the swaddle from the factory that washing will take care of.
Washing all your babies wears before using them is a safety precaution that all parents should take because babies don’t have a strong immune system yet and as such are vulnerable to germs.
- Stop swaddling your baby when he starts to roll: as discussed previously you should not swaddle your baby when he starts to roll because it increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Things To Note About Swaddling
Is it okay to feed my baby while she is swaddled?
Often times babies doze off while feeding if they are swaddled even when they are still hungry so it’s better to take off the swaddle first before feeding so that your baby feeds properly before sleeping again.
Should I swaddle my baby with her arms inside or outside the swaddle?
It depends on your baby, if your baby likes her arms out then swaddle her with her arms out but if she like them in swaddle her with her arms in but don’t forget to put her hands on her chest.
What to do if I can’t wrap my baby in a traditional swaddle?
If you find it difficult to wrap your baby in a traditional swaddle (muslin) then you can use a sack style swaddled because it’s designed for the convenience of parents.
Does swaddling cause overheating?
As said before swaddles are made of breathable lightweight cotton so no it doesn’t cause overheating. However overdressing your baby for bed may cause overheating , for example if you dress your baby in warm clothes, swaddle her and cover her with a wool blanket it will cause overheating if the weather is not so cold.