In different places and circumstances, you usually need varying approaches when caring for a baby. And as parents, you should always provide your young ones with security and different ways to nurture their minds and bodies. The needs of babies should always be provided for, especially during the early months. One of the primary needs of a newly born is sleep. And one way to ensure that your baby will have good hours of rest is to swaddle them. But how long do you swaddle a baby?
What is Swaddling
Baby wrapping or swaddling is a method to provide baby comfort and security in their early months. It is often used to imitate the mother’s womb to give the baby a smooth transition. But how long do you swaddle a baby? The concept of using a swaddle is to imitate the feeling of being in the womb. On average, it lasts for four months. But if babies can sleep well with their arms and feet out, then you can stop swaddling.
Advantages of Swaddling
One of the few main considered advantages of swaddling is it reduces the risk of SIDS or the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SIDS takes place when the baby’s reflex is triggered during sleep or when awake. Swaddle helps the reduction of the syndrome since it restricts the baby from acting on the startle effect of the reflex. Another way wherein swaddling helps reduce the risk of SIDS is that it requires the baby to sleep in a supine position, which is the position to sleep neutrally, by lying down on your back and not on your sides or belly.
Swaddling experts says that this method is proven to be very beneficial to infants. This is why a significant number of parents practice swaddling their babies. However, even though this method is highly recommended, it is not perfect and will always have downsides and flaws. You should learn how long do you swaddle a newborn baby. So, you will know when you can stop applying the method.
Disadvantages of Swaddling
This method is not flawless despite the increasing number of recommendations. Risks are always present even if you are doing something which is considered the best for your child. Swaddling requires the baby to be wrapped in a remotely tight manner. The manner the legs are usually swaddled can cause hip problems and different leg injuries when done excessively or in a wrong way.
Another risk that arises when swaddling is suffocation. Since the babies are required to be wrapped tightly, some parents would unknowingly wrap their baby too tight that it leads to suffocation and death. Swaddling should be done with proper training to be able to do it right and not put the baby in any harm.
How Long Should You Swaddle the Baby?
Swaddling is only temporary for babies, that is why you need to know how long do you swaddle a baby. This practice is applicable during the early months of the infancy stage – only 3-4 months or a maximum of five months. These first months, the babies are vulnerable and are still not in control of their reflexes. They are susceptible to doing actions that can cause them physical harm, especially when their reflex is triggered. This is also when the baby should always be monitored by someone even when they are sleeping.
Weaning Your Baby from Swaddling
How long do you swaddle a baby? Babies should gradually be weaned out of swaddling by the start of their 3rd month. There are different ways to wean your child from swaddling. Some parents start the weaning process by putting one arm inside the blanket. Other parents would try to remove the swaddle or reduce the use of swaddle until the baby gets used to not wearing it.
Here are some of the signs that will tell you when you should stop swaddling:
- When the baby starts to roll.
- When the baby starts to wiggle out from the swaddling blanket.
- When the baby fights with the swaddle and wants to get out.
- When the baby looks uneasy with the swaddling blanket.
Ways to Wean your Babies from Swaddling
- When you swaddle your baby, try to take his one arm out. If the baby fusses and hit himself, that means he is still not ready, but you could try this method every week until you see him calm with his arms out.
- Try to let him sleep in your arms without swaddle, then slowly put him to the bed or crib. When he stays asleep for at least 5 minutes, that means he can now sleep without the swaddle.
- If you unswaddle your baby, but he keeps fussing, you can stay by his side and place your hands on his chest. He will eventually calm down. Then reduce the pressure slowly until you can lift your hand off completely.
Babies always deserve the best treatment from their parents. It is paramount that they are given love and protection, but you must remember that everything done in excess can be harmful. As an expectant parent, you must know how long do you swaddle a baby. It will always be helpful to do your research. Your babies are very fragile and in need of constant support and attention. It is just right to supply them the best care with the right intentions and in the best ways possible. Find out more about swaddles.