As a long-time Fort Collins doula, I have never once met a baby who doesn’t like or need to be swaddled. Sure there are babies who don’t like the way they are swaddled or the kind of swaddle you’re using, but all babies just simply do better when they’re swaddled.
If you have a newborn that you think hates swaddling, but is also very discontented, it might be time to take another look at swaddles. Can’t hurt right? Swaddles are designed to replicate the feeling of being in the womb – it gives babies a sense of security and they help babies sleep. And as your Fort Collins doula, swaddles are one of my best tricks.
In this blog, I’m going to get into everything you need to know about swaddles. And I bet by the end, I’ll have you convinced that you should be swaddling your babe.
What is swaddling?
If you’re new to this parenting gig, let me be the first to welcome you. Like anything parenting-related, swaddles are great but they can be mighty overwhelming if you don’t have any experience. So let’s start at the top.
Swaddles are an ancient method of calming newborns by wrapping them tightly in some kind of cloth. While swaddles have changed and improved over the years, the benefits of swaddling are the same.
There are many different products on the market to help you swaddle your babe and many different swaddling methods, the trick is to find what your baby prefers.
Why should I swaddle my baby?
Aside from the fact that there’s nothing cuter than a burrito baby, swaddling is actually very beneficial for your baby. Swaddling is great because it:
- Helps make your baby calmer and more peaceful because they feel safe and secure as he or she adjusts to life on the outside.
- Reduces the chance that a baby is woken by their natural Moro reflex – or in simpler terms, keeps the babies from waking themselves up with their flailing arms that they don’t yet have control of.
- Helps keep your baby warm until they can learn to regulate their own internal body temperatures better.
And as a Fort Collins doula, I assure you, you’ll also appreciate the fact that your newborn baby is calmer and sleeps better when swaddled.
Types of swaddles
As I mentioned, if your newborn doesn’t like swaddling, it might just be because you haven’t found the right method yet. Here are the most common methods of swaddling that you might not have ever heard of:
- Feeding Cues Swaddle – If your baby needs to gain weight, has low blood sugar, or is jaundiced, this swaddle method might be right for your family.
- Hands Up Swaddle – If your baby hates the swaddle and prefers to sleep with his or her hands up, this is the method for you.
- Bat Wings Swaddle – Is your baby able to break free of his or her swaddle too often? Try this!
- Houdini Swaddle – This method is great for babies who can get out of anything but just sleep better when swaddled.
- Arms Only Swaddle – If you live in a hot place, this might be the method that’s best for your babe.
- Burrito Wrap Swaddle – Have big rectangular blankets that you want to swaddle with? Try this method.
- Preemie Swaddle – Is your babe adjusting to life outside the NICU? Try this!
This video by the swaddling pros (Kimberly Bepler, my doula girl crush) at 7Swaddles.com is a great resource to help you determine which kind of swaddling will be best for your babe and how to do it. Watch it here:
How long should I swaddle my baby?
Once you figure out a swaddle method that works for your baby, it’s tempting to swaddle them forevermore. But it’s really important that you are no longer swaddling your baby once they can roll over. Most babies can do that at around 4 months, so you want to make sure your baby has fully transitioned out of a swaddle by then.
Best swaddle products
There are a whole bunch of swaddles on the market. My favorite ones are the kind that works for your baby. In my opinion, the best swaddles to try include:
- Halo – Can be used in several different ways, depending on your baby’s preference. They wash well, hold up well, and are easy to use.
- Zip-a-dee Zip – Keeps your baby’s hands and feet warm, and reduces their ability to startle themselves awake, while also being safe for rolling babies!
- Ollie – It’s great for fussy babies and it’s an easier transition out of the swaddle.
- Magic Merlin – This product is designed as a sleep sack alternative that allows babies to transition out of the traditional swaddle.
- SwaddleMe – Designed in stages, the SwaddleMe swaddle is well-liked for babies as they grow and change.
Safe sleep guidelines
Obviously, whatever you choose, please just be sure you’re creating a safe sleeping environment for your baby. Swaddles should be tight and no loose cloth should be able to fall over the baby’s face. If your baby is swaddled, it’s best that they sleep on their back. And finally, if the baby is able to roll, it’s imperative that you stop swaddling. Read more about safe sleep here.
As your Fort Collins doula, I want to give you the tools and information you need to not only have a successful delivery but also a successful introduction to parenthood. If you have further questions or need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here for you!