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 is 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.
If you are swaddling your baby it is important that you do so correctly - the below video offers guidance on 'how to hip-healthy swaddle'
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.