The NCT describe swaddling as "the practice of wrapping babies, from the neck downwards, entirely in a cloth or thin blanket, with the aim of pacifying or calming them."
Swaddling isn't for everyone, but it's very common practice and has been used by many cultures throughout history as it’s thought that the feeling of being 'contained' can help babies feel settled and also help them sleep. It's believed that swaddling 'recreates' the feeling of being in the womb and stops the baby making its startle reflex which can cause them to wake.
Whilst medical and psychological opinion is divided, The American Association of Pediatrics have reviewed studies from across the world and found no conclusive evidence to suggest that swaddling (when done correctly) will increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Health professionals should make you aware of both the benefits of swaddling and arguments posed against it, but there is no official guidance in the UK to say that you should not swaddle your baby for safety reasons.
If you decide to swaddle your baby it is important that you do so correctly - the below video offers guidance on 'how to hip-healthy swaddle'
Managing your baby’s body temperature is extremely important which is why we make our swaddle blankets from bamboo. They are thin and breathable like traditional cotton muslin but also temperature regulating which helps to moderate baby’s body temperature. Cotton muslin will not do this. When baby outgrows swaddling or if you decide not to swaddle at all, they can also be used as extra large muslins, lightweight baby blankets, for lining cots and prams, breastfeeding covers and more. They are incredibly versatile and you will find the way in which you use them changes as baby grows.
Most babies outgrow swaddling between 3-6 months of age. If your baby is starting to take their arms out of their swaddle or get out of their swaddle completely then it is time to stop swaddling. If your baby starts to roll over in their swaddle then you should stop swaddling immediately. New babies should never sleep on their fronts and if they roll over when swaddled they may get stuck in this position.
The best way to stop swaddling a baby is to do it gradually. This means starting by leaving one arm, or one leg, unswaddled at first. From there, you can gradually move to leaving both arms, or both legs, unswaddled. Eventually, you will build up to the point where you are not swaddling at all.
I hope you find this blog post useful. Please do get in touch if you have anything to add or would like to leave your comments.
Very best wishes,
Founder, The Little Art Collection