"Swaddling is an age-old technique, used by generations of parents. It can help to make your baby feel secure and less likely to be disturbed by the little jerks he does in his sleep, known as his startle-reflex. Swaddling may also help your baby to calm down if he is over-stimulated."
Thankfully there are some genius companies out there that have mastered what a baby really wants out of a swaddle and how to make it easier on us parents. While there are currently so many variations of the swaddle on the market, the three below are our personal favorites. We have had much success with better sleep for our little ones using these swaddles. And better sleep = a much happier parent so it's a win for both parties.
Not sure why you should swaddle? Read on, there's additional information below about the benefits of swaddling.
The lightly weighted and adjustable Zen Swaddle from Nested Bean allows your baby to feel like they are sleeping in your arms. Your reassuring touch can signal comfort, security and love to your baby, allowing them to calm and sleep peacefully; the weighted Zen Swaddle duplicates that sensation.
Based on the medically proven benefits of touch, the Zen Swaddle includes lightly weighted areas on both the center (where your palm would go) and sides (where your arms would go) to simulate the feeling of being held. Moms who have used the Zen Swaddle Blanket say their babies get up to two additional hours of nighttime sleep within one to three nights.
The Ergobaby Swaddler is a safe, easy and effective way to keep your baby sleeping longer and more peacefully. Thoughtful, easy-to-use design is ergonomic, "escape proof", and comfortable for baby. Recommended by moms and medical experts alike, the Ergobaby Swaddler's innovative features help prevent your baby from startling awake while the ergonomic design allows for natural movement of baby's hips and legs as recommended by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. Now available in our original cotton knit and a new, lighter weight, more airy fabric.
Love To Dream Swaddle
When you place your baby to sleep on their back, their natural position is for their arms to go up. The Love to Dream Swaddle UP Original features a patented design that allows you to swaddle your baby with their arms up in this more natural position. The Swaddle UP is safer than swaddling your baby with traditional blankets. With the Swaddle UP, there are no difficult wrapping techniques required and no risk of dangerous loose blankets in your baby’s crib. The Swaddle UP’s dual zippered design allows you to do diaper changes while keeping baby swaddled and has no pesky snaps, noisy Velcro or tricky wrapping, ensuring that your baby stays comfortably swaddled all night
In 2007 the Journal of Pediatrics did a meta-study of research on swaddling. One of the many positive results was that swaddling reduces the rate of SIDS. The current assumption is that swaddling makes it hard for newborn babies to inadvertently cover their heads or face with bedding and decreases their ability to flip over onto their stomachs, both of which have been linked to higher rates of SIDS in newborn babies.
Safety Note: Never put baby to sleep on their stomach. Never EVER put a swaddled baby to sleep on their stomach. If your baby is able to flip from their back to their stomach WHILE swaddled, then your swaddling days are over. Swaddling is only to be used for babies on their backs. Being swaddled while sleeping on their stomach creates a greater risk of SIDS than sleeping on their stomach alone.
BASIS FOR SOOTHING
Swaddling your baby may not immediately soothe your crying baby or lull them instantly to sleep. In fact the process of being swaddled may make them frustrated and thus (briefly) cry more loudly, convincing some parents that their babies “hate” the swaddle. But swaddling creates the foundationfor which other soothing techniques (white noise, motion, etc.) build upon. Start with the swaddle and then layer on additional soothing techniques (pacifier, loud white noise, movement) to calm a crying baby and encourage sleep.
IMPROVED NEUROMUSCULAR DEVELOPMENT
Many people feel that a newborn needs to have their hands free so that they can practice using their arms, figure out how to get their hands into their mouths so they can self-soothe by sucking on fingers, etc. However most of the movement of your newborn baby’s limbs is actually unintentional and random. Immobilizing their arms actually helps them to develop better motor skill organization. Swaddling is especially helpful for premature babies.
Babies cry regardless of what level of mastery in baby soothing you have achieved or how easily soothed your baby is. However, in addition to helping other soothing techniques to work more effectively (See #4) – swaddling alone seems to result in a 28% reduction in crying.
Your newborn baby will sleep better and sleep longer if you put them to sleep while swaddled. Swaddling prevents newborn babies from startling themselves awake with random arm movements. And swaddling “stimulates sleep continuity.” This is a quote from the Pediatrics study that is a fancy doctor way of saying that it helps them to sleep longer. While newborns are renowned for their ability to take itty bitty naps all day long, certainly our goal is to help them settle into longer continuous windows of sleep. And swaddling will help them to do that quite effectively!