Future parents often have many questions related to the features of caring for the baby in the first months of his life. How many months to swaddle a newborn? What are the most safe and effective swaddling methods? Why do you need to swaddle a baby? And such questions do not become smaller if we recall that the swaddling procedure itself, whose history goes back more than one millennium, also managed to acquire all kinds of myths.
To understand the features of swaddling and choose the best way for young parents, common sense and a clear understanding of the goals help to achieve which this method of caring for babies helps. So, the main goal of swaddling is considered to be the improvement of sleep in newborns and infants under the age of six months.
How to wrap newborns in a diaper?
There are several ways of swaddling, which can conditionally be divided into 4 categories:
- “Tight with handles” – in this case, the baby is completely wrapped in a diaper, this method leaves no room for the child’s movements;
- “Classic free” involves wrapping only the legs of a child in a diaper, while the baby can move its arms unhindered;
- “Free without legs”, in which only the upper body of the child is tightly wrapped, while the baby still has the opportunity to move his legs;
- “Australian swaddling” with the handles up allows you to fix well parts of the baby’s body, while leaving him the opportunity to suck his fist.
When swaddling a baby, you should follow a few simple rules, thanks to which the baby will always feel comfortable, and the swaddling procedure will not do him even the slightest harm:
- The child should not be wrapped too tight so as not to create a burden on the chest; you should not swaddle a baby with tightly pressed legs, as this can subsequently lead to hip dysplasia;
- The optimum temperature for the baby is considered to be 22 ° C, so you need to constantly ensure that the baby is not too hot in the diaper;
- Since swaddling immobilizes the baby, making him especially helpless, parents need to constantly monitor that there are no foreign objects in the crib that could harm the baby;
- A child wrapped in a diaper should be laid exclusively on his back, children who prefer to sleep on their stomachs should not be swaddled at all.
When choosing diapers, preference should be given to products made of flannel, chintz or cotton. Natural materials allow the baby’s delicate skin to “breathe”, preventing diaper rash, while the baby feels more comfortable in the diaper.
Advocates of this method of caring for a child notice that swaddling allows a newborn whose movements during the previous 9 months were constrained and limited, easier to survive adaptation to new conditions of existence after an intrauterine period of development.
The diaper, enveloping the baby and not allowing him to make sudden movements, serves as a temporary replacement for the mother’s womb, removing the baby’s first anxieties. Also, swaddling, limiting the motor activity of the child, promotes sound sleep, as the baby is no longer disturbed by the sharp spontaneous movements of their own arms and legs, from which babies can often wake up. And, of course, swaddling allows you to create the optimal temperature regime, protecting the baby from drafts.
Opponents of swaddling insist that this procedure does not positively affect the infant’s sleep in all cases. The use of swaddling should be individual in nature, since this method of care is not suitable for children who prefer to sleep on their stomachs, doing more harm than good. It is known that children who were not swaddled in infancy show great physical activity and begin to sit and walk earlier. Therefore, parents refuse to take this procedure, believing that swaddling suppresses the natural activity of babies, artificially slowing their physical development.
Debunking the myths :
- Tight swaddling is a reliable protection against colds. A baby who is constantly in a room with an optimal temperature or in a warm diaper is more susceptible to colds than a seasoned child. Doctors recommend that in infancy, regular hardening and sunbathing is performed, which positively affects the child’s immunity.
- In the diaper, the newborn feels comfortable. This is not entirely true, since tight wrapping the baby in a diaper with straight legs brought together, on the contrary, forces him to take an unusual position for himself. Subsequently, this can lead to violations in the development of the musculoskeletal system. Swaddling, in which the baby’s legs are slightly bent, can be called ideal.
- A child who was swaddled in childhood grows up more disciplined. This statement has no evidence, moreover, many psychologists claim that swaddling can be one of the most traumatic first childhood impressions.
In many cases, swaddling is not enough for those young parents who wish their baby to sleep soundly and feel safe. In general, each parent must decide for himself whether to resort to this procedure, how much it suits his child and whether a positive effect is possible from it.