Swaddling a baby is such a popular practice in the newborn days. The use of swaddles is so accepted and respected in countries like the United States, there is an entire swaddle industry, selling various fabrics and patterns promising to keep your baby comfy and appease your aesthetic vibe.
Swaddling your newborn helps them feel snug and secure, just like they were in the womb. It also keeps them on their backs, which is an essential safe sleep practice to protect against SIDS.
But, did you know in some parts of the world, swaddling is unheard of?
I am from Argentina, but both of my children were born in New York. As soon as they were born and after being on my chest for a little bit, they were swaddled – and they stayed swaddled most of the time they were in the hospital bassinet.
I was surprised to learn none of my friends in Argentina knew about swaddling babies at all. Swaddling is a practice that just wasn’t popular in my country yet.
The Story Of A Baby Swaddle Blanket
Even though it seems like a modern trend, swaddling babies is a practice that has been around for centuries.
Dr. Harvey Karp – the same one who invented the Snoo Smart Sleeper – praised swaddling in his book “The Happiest Baby on the Block”, where he talks about 5 soothing techniques to calm a crying newborn baby.
His famous “5 S’s technique” includes:
- Side stomach position
Like most parenting topics, there is a debate around swaddling. If not done correctly, wrapping your baby too tight can cause hip problems – and if the fabric comes loose, suffocation is a risk. But, if you learn how to swaddle your newborn correctly and safely, the comfort is unbeatable, especially for babies with neurological issues, colic or reflux.
The Art Of Swaddling A Baby The Right Way
When I had my first daughter I was surprised and overwhelmed by how easy it was for the hospital nurses to swaddle my baby! It just took a few seconds. They would do it with a small hospital blanket, make it pretty tight and the baby would never break out of it.
At home the story was different. I would struggle getting the blanket in the right position. It was never tight enough, and my baby would always break out of it ending with the blanket on her face.
I ended up getting a swaddle with Velcro but also, with time and thanks to Youtube, I became an expert at swaddling the old fashioned way… and so can you. Here’s one of my favorite swaddling tutorial videos.
Modern Swaddle Options
These days, there are so many different types of swaddles on the market. And honestly: it can get pretty confusing. But from the simple square of fabric to weighted options with zippers, there is a style that works for every parent – and I hope this post helps decide which is right for you.
Classic Muslin Swaddle Blanket
- These are thin, square blankets made from cotton muslin. Muslin is a very soft fabric, perfect for brand new baby skin. A muslin swaddle can provide a lot more uses than just swaddling. It can serve as a burp cloth, a blanket to put your baby on the floor for play time, a diaper changing surface, a nursing cover, and more!
- Velcro swaddles give the illusion and comfort of a traditional swaddle without having to master the technique
- The Velcro can be a little noisy when you unswaddle your baby for an overnight diaper change, but I still find these one of the most easy to use options.
- These swaddles are made of stretchy fabric that zips your baby into a snug position for sleep.
- They often allow your baby’s arms to be up or down.
- I would have another baby just to be able to use these 🙂
Merlin Magic Suit
- This astronaut-looking suit is designed to help your baby snuggled and secure at sleep time and transition out of the swaddle.
- While many parents love this option, one of the issues with this design is that babies can not roll in it. I support baby’s free movement, trusting that baby will find a comfortable position for sleep.
- Always put your baby to sleep on their back.
- Stop swaddling your baby as soon as they show attempts at rolling. Once your baby can roll, a swaddle becomes a suffocation risk.
- Keep the legs loose. Babies should be able to bend their legs and move them up and down. Restricting natural leg movements can cause hip dysplasia.
- Follow Safe Sleep recommendations to reduce the risk of SIDS and prevent other accidents during sleep. Check out our Safe Sleep Guide for more information.
Find more swaddle options at our SHOP Guide Section.
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