What is swaddling
Swaddling is the practice followed by new-moms to provide a comfortable sleep to their new-born baby. After it is ensured that the baby is not hungry or wet and it needs to sleep, the baby is wrapped in a tiny blanker or sheet tightly to mimic the comfort of the womb. The tightness of the blanket gives a secure feel to the baby which helps it sleep peacefully. The practice of newborn baby swaddle dates back to ancient times when mothers used too snugly wrap the babies to help them feel secure. Since then, this practice is followed by the mothers to help the baby sleep calmly. Newborn babies have a very delicate sleep and a slight discomfort can wake them up. Swaddling helps them have a deep peaceful sleep. This practice also helps calm crying babies.
Due to these reasons, swaddling is a popular practice in nearly all parts of the world. However, recent studies have suggested some risks related to the developing bones and joints of the child. This has become a major concern of many children who often found them in the dilemma of whether to swaddle the child for a peaceful sleep or not. This article is intended to solve your queries regarding the risks of swaddling and the recommended method to follow this practice.
Benefits of swaddling
As mentioned before, the practice of newborn baby swaddle dates back to old times when mothers used to wrap their newborn babies in a piece of cloth for a peaceful sleep. Despite the growing concerns related to the child’s joints and bones, this practice is still popularly used today and there are a number of reasons for that. Swaddling your baby through the right way can be really benefitting for the baby without exposing it to any risk. Some of the prime benefits are;
- Swaddling provides the child with the comfort and security as that of womb so the child sleeps longer and more peacefully.
- Due to a calm and peaceful sleep, the baby experiences less anxiety, even when the baby grows up. This is because anxiety is directly related to the peaceful sleep. If you have restless nights, you are more likely to experience anxiety.
- With swaddling, you no longer need toys and stuffed animals to make the child feel secure. This not only lowers your expenses, but also helps in making the child less dependent on toys. The child is also exposed to different diseases due to germs on toys. With swaddling, you eliminate those risks of diseases.
- Babies often have the habit of sucking thumb or scratching their face. Swaddling helps them escape from this habit. With their arms tightly wrapped in the blanket, they cannot scratch their face or suck their thumb.
- A newborn babies needs to be carried all the time. This can be often exhausting for the parents. Swaddling mimics the human touch so the baby sleeps peacefully even when you’re not carrying it.
The possible risks
The practice of swaddling has been followed for centuries, but the recent studies do suggest some possible risks. Many children showed signs of affected mobility and underdeveloped hips. Some children also suffered from knee-knocking, which is considered to be the result of swaddling. However, on the brighter side, these risks are only existent if you do not swaddle your child the right way. The detailed things to avoid during swaddling will be discussed in the next section, but as for the general instructions, avoid swaddling your child too tightly. This means leaving some room for her baby’s leg movement. Also, keep some room for the baby to bend her legs.
What to avoid when swaddling
In order to minimise the risks attached to swaddling, take note of the following points.
- Don’t swaddle too tightly. Leave some room for the baby to be able to move its legs.
- Don’t cover the face or neck of the baby with the blanket.
- Avoid using blanket that is too thick for the weather. Use a thin sheet or blanket.
- Don’t practice swaddling when the risks of SIDS are at peak.
- Don’t let someone else swaddle your baby if they aren’t trained for it.