As a parent to a newborn, there’s something you going to learn how to do very quickly: swaddle your baby. The swaddle is an important technique that helps calm babies and put them to sleep easily. The first few months of your baby’s life with involve a lot of sleeping, so it’s important you make it as restful as possible. Understand these myths and truths about baby swaddling.
MYTH: Babies need their arms free to self-soothe, develop motor skills, and flail their arms if they feel distressed.
TRUTH: Until they are three months old, babies are not coordinated enough to work out their motor skills or self-soothing ability. They may be able to put their hands in their mouth, but their reflexes would just pull them out anyway. The point of swaddling is to soothe during the time when babies can’t do it for themselves. Loose hands can scratch the face, which causes anguish and crying.
MYTH: Swaddling causes overheating.
TRUTH: Overheating isn’t caused by swaddling alone, but the excessive dressing of a baby beneath the swaddle. Wrap your baby in breathable fibers to ensure a stable body temperature, and reduce the amount of clothing underneath he swaddle if your baby feels warm. Signs of overheating include: sweating, damp hair, heat rash, rapid breathing, and restlessness.
MYTH: Swaddling is uncomfortable.
TRUTH: While it may seem that babies initially resist swaddling, newborns miss the feeling of a tight space like the womb. When persistence, your baby will begin to enjoy the sensation of being swaddled, and eventually begin to calm down as soon as you start the process.
MYTH: Swaddling prevents exploration and learning.
TRUTH: This isn’t true at all! In fact, infants are easily overwhelmed by the abundance of stimuli and new sensations they experience. By swaddling, you are allowing the baby to remain calm and focused, and not easily frightened by a new touch or sound. This lets them experience the world deliberately, and improves learning.
MYTH: Swaddling creates dependency.
TRUTH: Have you ever seen a two-year old that wants to be swaddled? It’s usually the child who abandons swaddling before the parent. Children learn to control their muscles and brains, and eventually want the freedom to run, sleep, and eat without being constrained. Your baby won’t grow into an adult who needs to be swaddled to relax.
MYTH: Any blanket will do.
TRUTH: While you can technically use any receiving blanket as a swaddle, there are much better products available. An effectively designed swaddle will ensure a snug, comfortable fit without letting your baby escape in the night. It will also keep your baby on his/her back, which is an important SIDS prevention technique.
MYTH: Swaddling is an ancient practice.
TRUTH: Correct, but it works. Ancient peoples have been swaddling their children for as long as recorded history. It’s an effective tool that continues to work. In fact, evidence shows that swaddled children develop emotionally faster than children who were never swaddled.
Written by Karen Barski, BSN, RN, Mother of five, Certified Infant Care Specialist & Instructor, & Inventor of the Woombie Baby Swaddle
Karen has been an RN for 18 years, and has worked in many different nursing roles. As a Certified Infant Care Specialist, Karen counsels thousands of families yearly on a multitude of issues relating to pregnancy and infancy. Also, as a mother of five, she has invaluable experience and tips to share.
Since 2007, Karen’s company, KB Designs, has invented a line of signature baby swaddle products that have helped parents easily transition their new babies from womb to home. There are multiple designs and sizes so that babies can enjoy the comfort and security of the Woombie up until the time they begin to roll.
Each product has been created and designed by Karen because of a need she identified in her life with her five children. With convenience, safety, and fashion in mind, KB Designs has helped over a half million babies and counting!
For more information, visit www.woombie.com.
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