“Why should I swaddle my baby?” is an age-old question, and the reasons are many!
This article goes back to basics, focusing on the general practice of swaddling, with our top six reasons why swaddling is good for babies and helps them to develop an effective sleep routine in the long term.
1. Familiar Snug & Secure Feeling for Newborns
Swaddling your newborn baby is a great way to help them feel safe and calm as they adapt to life outside of the womb, which is especially important during the first few months after birth. Swaddling provides a similar feeling to the snug and secure sensation of being in the womb during pregnancy or of being held in your arms.
2. No Loose Blankets Reduces the Risk of SIDS
A research study featured in the Journal of Pediatrics in 2007 identified the positive results associated with swaddling and a reduction in the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This is believed to be due to the inability of a baby to cover their head or face with blankets or bedding when swaddled.
Further to this, a swaddled baby should always be placed on their back to allow full airflow access. Allowing babies to lie on their stomach has been associated with a higher rate of SIDS, so we urge parents to remember to always put your baby to sleep on their back, never their stomach, for this reason. You must also transition your baby to Stage 2: Ready to Roll when your baby shows signs of starting to roll.
3. Soothing for Baby
Swaddling your baby is a great technique for calming and soothing your baby and works well when combined with other calming techniques, including white noise and motion.
When you first swaddle your baby, they may soothe easily, or in some cases they can initially appear frustrated. Whilst an unsettled response may make some parents feel their baby doesn’t like swaddling, we advise parents to not dismiss the option too quickly. Oftentimes, as you implement a sleep routine for several sleep cycles and allow your little one to get used to being swaddled, it will become an invaluable part of not only bedtime and naptime, but also just when your baby needs comforting and calming.
Being dressed in a swaddle can also create a clear 'sleep cue' for babies, and this can help them get into an established routine more easily, as they associate being swaddled with sleep time.
Furthermore, the Love to Dream Swaddle Up™ encourages baby to sleep in their natural Arms Up™ position, with the ability to reach their face and mouth for Self-Soothing™, without scratching.
4. Increases Sleep Time by Reducing the Moro (or Startle) Reflex
Newborns also have a reflex known as the Moro (or startle) reflex, which is when their head tips back and their limbs (particularly arms) extend out in a sudden jerking movement and then curl back towards them. This is a natural and healthy function of baby's developing nervous system and occurs in response to intense external stimulation, such as loud noises, bright light, or significant movement.
However, it often wakes babies from their sleep, which can be disruptive to the sleep routine in place. The startle reflex occurs until roughly three to six months after birth, although you will see it lessen from six weeks onwards.
One of the many purposes for swaddling was to reduce the sleep disruption caused by the startle reflex and to promote longer, continuous periods of sleep.
5. Improved Neuromuscular Development for Preterm Babies
Many parents think that a newborn baby needs to have their hands free in order to practice using their arms and figure out how to move their hands into their mouths for self-soothing. However, most of the movement newborn baby makes is actually unintentional, random, and serves no purpose. Therefore, restricting some movement through swaddling as baby sleeps is not harmful; and in the case of preterm infants, a study has shown it actually helps them to develop better neuromuscular development.
6. More Sleep & Less Crying
We all know that babies cry – some more than others – and over time, you’ll learn the various ways to calm your baby and meet their needs when they cry. However, in addition to other soothing techniques, swaddling has been shown to help reduce crying by 28%.
That's because baby is staying asleep longer, isn't startled awake with their jolty movements, and feels securely snug like they would in the womb or held in mum or dad's arms.
So what sets Love to Dream™ swaddles apart from the rest?
Wrapping your baby in a traditional swaddle (a muslin cloth or blanket) can be difficult to master, and little ones can unravel themselves and end up cold and with loose blankets creating a hazard in their cot.
To make swaddling easier and safer, Love to Dream™ created the Swaddle Up™, which has the following features that set it apart from traditional swaddles:
- Zipped up, not wrapped up: Your baby will be nice and secure when you zip them into their Love to Dream Swaddle Up™, with no possibility of wriggling out of it. That way, they stay warm and they stay safe because there's no loose swaddle material in their cot to cause a breathing hazard.
- Easy on & offs: The two-way zip feature also means our swaddles are super easy to put baby into and get them out of – anyone can do it! Nappy changing is made a breeze, as baby can stay swaddled in their upper half while you unzip the lower half. This is certainly appreciated by parents for those midnight changes!
- Arms Up Self-Soothing™: With an Arms Up™ design, baby’s hands are close to their face (the natural sleep position), which enables true self-soothing. Medical research shows that being able to gently rub their cheeks and suck their fingers gives baby a better night’s sleep. Self-soothing = More sleep!
- Single layer of fabric: With just one layer of material and the assurance of what TOG rating it is, there is far less guess work when it comes to providing a comfortable temperature for your baby. This reduces the risk of overheating and is an important way to keep your baby safe.
- Rest assured: The Swaddle Up is a very safe product all round. Its 'hip-healthy’ design has been certified by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, so baby’s hips can develop properly; the outer seams leave no loose threads or uncomfortable seams around baby; and the material around their hands prevents them from scratching their face as they self-soothe.
- Innovative transitioning: When baby is showing signs of starting to roll and it's time to transition, Love to Dream™ has innovative transition sleepwear to help ease your baby into arms-free sleep. With winged arms that can be zipped off one at a time, your baby can get used to the unswaddled feeling step by step, night by night.
Many parents around the world have loved their results when using Love to Dream™, and we hope you too can discover the many benefits for yourself...