When you first fell pregnant, one of the things you probably heard a lot was “Say goodbye to sleep once your baby is born!” but not many people told you that you’d be saying goodbye to uninterrupted sleeps well before your baby arrives!
Swaddling your baby from birth has many benefits, including (most importantly!) more sleep for bub and mum. In my online classes, I teach parents how to prepare for life after birth, with some really simple tips and suggestions based on my 15 years of experience as a registered midwife and nurse.
To help make life simpler for you as you prepare for your parenting journey, here’s a really quick guide on the WHY, WHEN & HOW of swaddling.
WHY should I swaddle my baby?
Studies have shown that swaddled babies sleep better and longer, because swaddling helps to replicate that snug feeling bubs get in utero. They are also able to soothe themselves better, as swaddled babies are less likely to wake up due to their startle (moro) reflex kicking in between sleep cycles.
The act of swaddling creates positive sleep cues and associations. Babies begin to recognise that the act of getting into their swaddle means sleep is imminent – and they begin to doze off. Swaddling also encourages babies to sleep on their back, which is an important factor in the prevention of SIDS.
Now that you know why swaddling is such a beneficial thing for your bub, let’s talk about when you should start.
WHEN should I swaddle my baby?
I recommend swaddling from day one. No matter what type of swaddling method you choose to use, it’s important to start as soon as your bub is born. The reasons are similar to the benefits I’ve outlined above, however what is key is that you establish this from the get-go. It will really help you establish a good sleep routine – for you, and your family’s, sanity.
HOW should I swaddle my baby?
- Ensure your baby is not too hot or too cold: temperature regulation is important as this helps your little one to sleep better and can also help reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Avoid the use of any loose items or blankets in the cot or bassinette, to ensure no fabric can come up above the baby’s face to cover their nose or mouth.
- Ensure your baby is not swaddled too tight; full hip flexion is recommended for healthy hip development.
- Use a product that works well for both you and your baby – there are many out there including light-weight cotton or muslin wraps, zip up swaddles and more.
Having a newborn baby does mean your nights will be interrupted with feeding and changing them, and it’s no secret that many parents struggle with getting their baby to sleep well. But don’t worry, there are solutions out there – and a lot of them are mentioned in the video above, as Hana Krawchuk (founder of Love To Dream™) and I provide more in-depth, helpful answers to the questions above. Watch the video to learn more!