Why swaddle an infant?
How long should I swaddle my baby?
How do I know when my baby is ready to wean from the swaddle?
My baby hates when I put a swaddle on, but can’t sleep without a swaddle…what can I do?
Swaddling is the first step in keeping many newborn infants calm and happy. This can greatly reduce the amount of time your baby will spend crying and this is going to improve your quality of life as a new parent.
Parents are strongly advised to place infants to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of death from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). However, babies in this position are often afflicted with the startle (or Moro) reflex, in which their arms and legs pop up and jerk spasmodically. Naturally, this wakes them up or prevents them from falling asleep. Medical professionals recommend simulating a “fourth trimester” for infants, in which womb-like conditions are re-created, reducing the likelihood of the startle reflex.
Swaddling can be a very effective tool in this regard as it makes the infant feel as if it is still being held tightly in its mother’s body. This reduces crying and improves the quality of babies’ sleep dramatically.
Through the reduction of crying and improvement of sleep, the stress you feel as a parent is dramatically lowered and this will enable you to parent more effectively. Being able to calm your infant child and stop them from crying builds confidence for new parents and Swaddle Strap® baby swaddle provides the easiest and most effective way to achieve this goal.
World renowned pediatrician Harvey Karp coined the term “Fourth Trimester” to refer to a baby’s first 3 months of life outside of the womb. He explains this and how to trigger the natural calming reflex that all babies have in his DVD “The Happiest Baby on the Block.” He has an incredibly effective program to calm babies and swaddling is step #1.
Swaddling is a wonderful tool, but it can be tough to know when to stop swaddling. The average age to wean from swaddling is around 3-6 months, then the Moro, or “startle” reflex, lessens. Many babies do benefit from the comfort of being swaddled longer than that. Once your baby has begun to roll, pediatricians advise to stop swaddling immediately.
The only time you should stop swaddling abruptly is if there is a safety issue (e.g. rolling over from back to tummy). Pediatricians advise to stop swaddling immediately when baby can roll from back to stomach, to avoid the risk of suffocation. If rolling is not yet an issue for your baby, there can be other clues when it is time to begin the swaddle weaning process.
Sometimes you can tell it is time to wean from the swaddle if baby likes to self-soothe by sucking on their fingers or playing with their hair. Sometimes you can tell because being swaddled no longer soothes baby. If neither of these clues are present, and baby still does not roll, you can start to swaddle wean sometime between 4-6 months.
Have no fear! Most babies who need to be swaddled to sleep do fight the process of being swaddled, but benefit from the swaddle. If your baby doesn’t calm right away after being swaddled, we recommend learning the baby calming process developed by Dr. Harvey Karp and available in his DVD and book called: The Happiest Baby on the Block.
Our daughter Eve, the inspiration for Swaddle Strap, absolutely would NOT sleep without being swaddled, in addition to most of the other tricks taught by Dr. Karp. I don’t know what we would have done without his 5-S’s!!! If you don’t already know them, check it out!!!