Swaddling your newborn baby can help them to become calm, settle and prevents the ‘startle’ reflex. I think that in the early days after birth it can assist in mirroring the womb environment; when ready to sleep your baby feels snug and secure, as if in a ‘cocoon’, whilst they begin to adapt to having more space around them to stretch and explore.
However, it is important to swaddle safely. There are three main ‘rules’ for this;
- Ensure that your baby doesn’t get too hot when swaddled. Use a large, thin cotton muslin or a specially designed baby ‘sleeping bag’ that is the correct size and tog for your baby
- It must be hip healthy. This means that their legs and hips must have room to lie in a natural flexed position and have room to move freely. Do not wrap your baby too tightly around their hips and legs, since this would cause the legs to lie straight and pressed together – which interferes with the healthy formation and development of the hip joint
- Do not swaddle your baby with their arms tucked inside once they start to show signs of rolling onto their side/tummy. At this point you then need to use baby ‘sleeping bags’ with your baby’s arms out of the sleeping bag
The Gro Company have some short videos on their website and they make some great products for babies of all ages and weights, from birth up to toddler size. You can often obtain great second hand items and other companies produce similar products.
I have used swaddling and baby sleeping bags for my own children and my granddaughter and found it a useful technique for settling a sleepy baby.