Swaddling has been around for a long time and it’s actually somewhat of an art form. Swaddling is the wrapping of your baby in a blanket to provide warmth and security for your baby. Many doctors recommend swaddling during the first weeks of life to help your baby stay warm until his or her internal thermostat kicks in. Luckily, swaddling isn’t hard to do, and once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to do it without thinking about it.
The first thing you’ll want to do is lay a receiving blanket on a flat surface such as a bed or the floor. Then, fold down one corner of the blanket about six inches. Now you’ll place your baby on his or her back with the head right on the folded corner. Some babies like to have their hands straight down by their sides; others like them on their chest or belly area, just do whatever seems natural for your baby. Now, you’ll take the left corner of the blanket and fold it snuggly over the body and tuck the end under the right side of the body. Then, you’ll take the corner of the blanket at the feet and fold it up over the body. Finally, you’ll fold the right corner of the blanket over your baby and tuck it under his or her body. You’re done! You’ve swaddled your baby!
How tightly you actually swaddle your baby will take some practice, as some babies like to be swaddled very tightly and others like it a bit looser. Also, as your baby gets old you might notice that your baby doesn’t want his or her arms wrapped in the blanket, so you can swaddle without the hands being wrapped up. You’ll really just have to play around with what works and what does not for your baby.
You might find that if you swaddle your baby he or she will sleep better at night. Babies have a startle reflex that you’ve surely noticed, and it will wake a baby up even if they are in a deep sleep. Swaddling often keeps the baby from jumping or jerking so much that it awakens them. This is better for you and your baby as you’ll both get more rest at night. Swaddling often helps babies that are suffering from painful colic or gas as well, so it’s just a good habit to get into.
You’ll probably not leave the hospital without a swaddling lesson or two. Nurses are very good at it, so you should take note of the special things that they may do. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t as good at it as they are, you will be by the time your baby is a month old and starts to grow out of the swaddling age!