One of the most important things a new mom can learn is how to swaddle a baby. You may be wondering why it’s so important to know this skill, and what happens if the baby hates to be swaddled? It’s important because there is magic in that burrito swaddle. There is something soothing and calming to babies about being wrapped tightly and securely with love.
Swaddling has been part of caring for babies for centuries — millennia, really. It makes a baby feel like he’s back inside the womb — or like he is being snuggled close. It has been shown to help many babies sleep better. It can be particularly helpful for babies with neurologic problems or colic, or for babies born addicted to drugs.
It also can really help some parents get their babies to fall and stay asleep on their backs, which is what we recommend to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. Some babies have trouble with sleeping on their backs because they startle themselves awake; when they are swaddled, that’s less likely to happen.
What do you do if your newborn baby hates being swaddled?
Well, the truth is not all babies like to be swaddled, at least not in the traditional way. Often, when a baby resists swaddling, you just need to try a new technique. Generally, newborn babies respond well to the pleasant warmth and comforting feeling of being swaddled.
The first thing you need to do if your baby hates to be swaddled is to make sure you’re doing it correctly. Here are a few swaddling tips.
Choose the right blanket
A swaddling blanket should be square in shape, lightweight and flexible. It’s important that the baby doesn’t get too hot, as this can be a raise the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. There needs to be enough fabric to wrap the baby firmly, but don’t choose an extra-large blanket. The extra fabric represents another SIDS risk since it can slip up and cover the baby’s face.
Practice swaddling a baby when she is awake and content. It may take a few tries to straighten her arms or even to see if the baby enjoys being wrapped. Trying it out for the first time while trying to put her to sleep will only put undue stress on the parent and baby.
Wrap arms tight, keep legs loose
The baby’s arms should be straight down and tight in the swaddle. He also says the legs should be wrapped looser to allow the baby some wiggle room. Swaddling the legs loosely will aid in proper hip development. Wrapping the arms tightly will remind the infant of the womb and will help him settle down and feel calm. An important thing to remember: Once the baby can roll over, you shouldn’t swaddle them.
Signs that it’s time to stop wrapping your newborn baby
The main sign that it is time to stop wrapping is when your child starts trying to roll over. After this point, it is not safe to continue. This can happen as early as 2 months or a little later. It is also time to stop swaddling if you notice signs that your baby may be overheating, including:
- Damp hair
- Flushed cheeks
- Rapid breathing
How long do you wrap your baby for?
You should stop wrapping your baby when he starts trying to roll over. Many babies start working on this movement around 2 months of age. Wrapping as soon as a baby can roll can increase the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and suffocation.
The purpose of covering baby
Being wrapped mimics the feeling your baby had inside the womb, where it was nice and comfortable. Done correctly, wrapping can help soothe your child and may help them sleep. This is because babies can be startled to wake up when, by reflex, they shake their arms and legs while sleeping. When curled up, baby’s arms and legs cannot wake him/her up.