If you’ve never had a newborn, the thought of wrapping your baby up so tightly that they can’t move their arms might sound like a crazy idea. But many parents will tell you that many newborns are comforted by swaddles—they tend to cry less and sleep more when they’re snuggly wrapped.
What is Swaddling?
If you’re new to the notion of swaddling, the concept is quite simple. It’s a way of wrapping a blanket around your baby tight enough so they can’t wriggle out. Swaddling is great for a few reasons:
- It prevents the newborn startle reflex from waking them by keeping baby’s arms tight to their sides.
- Newborns feel comforted and calm in the tight, womb-like wrap.
- It keeps your baby warm while they sleep without any loose blankets, which can be a suffocation hazard.
Should All Babies Be Swaddled?
Generally, swaddling is safe for all newborns. But if your baby has hip dysplasia or other hip issues, swaddling may aggravate that. Be sure to check with your pediatrician if that’s the case for you.
Also, because all babies are different, some just don’t like being swaddled. Or, they may be fine with having their torso swaddled, but want their arms free.
What are the Types of Swaddles?
It’s a good idea to register for a couple of different types of swaddles to see which one your baby prefers. Swaddles typically fall into two camps:
Traditional swaddling blankets: These are large, thin blankets that you wrap baby up in like a little burrito. They can be used for other things post swaddling, like blankets and burp cloths, but there’s definitely a “how do you do this?” learning curve!
Swaddling sacks and pouches: Easier to navigate for new parents, these tend to come with things like Velcro, snaps and zippers to help you get that snug swaddle.
How Long Do You Swaddle?
Newborns are usually swaddled until about 3 or 4 months or as soon as they are able to roll over. When your baby starts rolling over around, swaddling can be dangerous since babies shouldn’t lie on their stomachs without being able to use their arms. But then many babies have difficulty falling or staying asleep without the cocoon-like feel of a swaddle.
A transition blanket is a good solution for that time in between swaddling and your child being old enough to use a loose blanket. It’s a wearable blanket that’s designed to let your baby’s arms be free, but still provides the coziness of a swaddle.