That is today’s topic is about the swaddle. Click the video below to watch:View Transcript
Dana Obleman: Hi. I’m Dana. Welcome to this week’s video. Today I want to talk about something called the “Swaddle.” Most of you know what that is. You were probably taught in the hospital. It’s where you tightly wrap up your newborn baby so that they feel safe and secure.
I’m a fan of the swaddle. I think it can be an awesome tool in calming and soothing a newborn baby. When you think about what a baby’s experience has been in the womb, you can imagine that it’s a pretty tight space. That baby is used to feeling tightly packed into something safe and warm.
That’s what a swaddle does for a newborn. I’ve had clients tell me that their newborn baby hated the swaddle. The baby cried and fussed every time they tried to put it on, but a lot of newborns enjoy it. They are comforted by it. I think, absolutely.
If your newborn baby is content in a swaddle, I have no issue with it whatsoever. It does help with the reflex, when little babies throw their arms out and startle themselves awake. That can help minimize that, because the arms will be tightly beside the baby’s body. Be careful about overheating.
There are some concerns about the swaddle. As a safety precaution, you need to be sure that you’re not wearing really thick jammies, and then swaddling with a thick blanket, because that makes it hard for a newborn baby to regulate their body temperature.
If you’re doing it safely, and keeping an eye on baby and monitoring things, absolutely go for it. One word of caution around the swaddle, though. It can become a sleep prop. I’ve had clients, in fact one of our consultants was just telling the group that she had a client who…they were still swaddling their 18 month old. [laughs]
A swaddle can become a prop. What happens is a baby gets used to sleeping like this, very tightly wrapped, and as they grow and develop, and learn to move, they will inevitably kick free of the swaddle, because that’s their job. They have to explore, learn how to move, roll, crawl, and all that good stuff.
They can’t do that if they’re wrapped tightly. It almost becomes a bit of a love hate relationship. They want to be swaddled, and they sleep better this way, but then they’re going to kick free because that’s their job. Parents find themselves going back into the room time after time to re swaddle this baby because he’s kicked free.
Babies are strong. Even if you’re wrapped it tightly and you think there’s no way he’s going to escape, he will, and you’ll have to go in there. My rule of thumb around a swaddle is by about the tenth week you want to start moving away from it.
You can do it gently at this point, because it hasn’t become a prop yet, by leaving an arm out for a few days, leaving both arms out for a few days, just going waist down for a few days, and then moving right away from it. I do find that a sleep sack is a nice transition, moving into that when you say goodbye to the swaddle.
If you’ve got a baby who you suspect is now prop dependent on the swaddle, or you’re going to start The Sleep Sense Program, and you’ve got a four or five month old baby that you’re still swaddling, then my advice is to abandon the swaddle. Get rid of it cold turkey.
Because it has become a bit of a prop situation, there’s going to be no easy way to wean out of it. Anything less than being tightly wrapped will most likely cause your baby some anxiety or discomfort. It won’t make matters any better to try to wean out of it in any way, so if that’s the case, just throw them away, and move into the sleep sack.
That will help with some of the transition that baby’s going through. I hope that gives you some good pointers for using the swaddle. Like everything, pacifiers, swaddles, Rock ‘n Plays, swings, all of these things have been designed to make the parenting experience a little bit easier here and there.
They’re tools to help with the development of your baby, and buy you some time here and there, so you can get things done. When they become a have to, or an all the time, then they become problematic, and they become a bit of a prop situation, so keep that in mind.
Everything is fine, as long as it’s not becoming a prop. Thanks for watching today. Sleep well!
Transcription by CastingWords
Also, if you’re looking for a complete, step-by-step guide that will help you get your child sleeping 11+ hours a night you can check out The Sleep Sense Program by clicking below.
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