Swaddled Babies Sleep Better

When my girls were young, I had the hardest time swaddling them.  My first loved to be swaddled, the second not so much.  One liked to have her hands in the swaddle, the other outside of the swaddle.  And, I was always jealous that my husband could swaddle so much better than I could … truthfully, I think I just put way too much thought into the ‘correct’ way to swaddle.

Anyway, I had an opportunity to receive a free kit from Swaddle Designs and am glad that I did.  I don’t even have an itty bitty anymore, but I have fallen in love with their products.  In this kit (valued at $39.50), I received about 50 brochures to hand out to my clients, a Premium Openweave Lightweight Cotton Marquisette Swaddling Blanket (this would have been really nice in hot and humid Florida and would be really nice for hot Arizona), and a Premium Certified Organic Cotton Flannel Preshrunk The Ultimate Receiving Blanket.  The Marquisette Swaddling Blanket is a 46-inch Square Multiuse Blanket and The Ultimate Receiving Blanket is a 42-inch Square Multiuse Blanket … and, get this … they both have Swaddling Instructions sewn on the blanket (on a little tag)!  How neat is that?!

Swaddling is important because it helps babies transition from womb to world, reduces incidence of SIDS, helps babies sleep better and longer, and decreases awakenings due to the startle reflex.  Medical studies have shown there are many benefits to swaddling.

Swaddling Decreases Risk of SIDS
– Swaddled back sleeping infants have a lower incidence of SIDS than unswaddled back sleeping infants
– When babies sleep better on their back, parents are less likely to use the unsafe tummy position for sleep
– Swaddling helps sleeping infants remain on their backs

Swaddled Babies Sleep Better
– Swaddling decreases occurrence of the startle reflex which frequently wakes unswaddled babies
– Infants sleep with fewer awakenings when swaddled and have twice as much REM sleep
– REM sleep is believed to be important for brain development
– When babies sleep better and longer, parents get more sleep, too

Reduces Colic and Fussiness
– Snug swaddling soothes babies by reminding baby of the snugness of the womb
– Swaddling helps prevent overstimulation
– Babies are inefficient at regulating their temperature – swaddling helps keep baby warm

Helpful When Breastfeeding
– Tucking baby’s hands into the swaddle will keep baby’s hands from impairing latch-on (I would have loved to have had the chance to try this out.)
– Baby’s extra movements are nicely contained when swaddled which can help baby focus and latch on

Natural Position – Experts recommend swaddling baby in a natural position with elbows, knees and hips flexed for proper joint development, and with baby’s hands within reach of mouth so baby can suck on his or her fingers to self-console.

Wrap Snugly – A loose swaddle is ineffective, so swaddle very snug, but not overly tight.

Custom Fit – SwaddleDesigns’ large, square blankets allow for a custom fit swaddle whether your baby is small, medium or large.

Safe Sleep Environment
Medical experts recommend a sleep environment of 65-70 degrees.  It is an important responsibility of the caregiver to dress baby appropriately for sleep based on the temperature of their environment.  Parents should not overdress or underdress baby for sleep.  As a general guide, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends dressing baby in no more than one layer more than an adult would use to be comfortable in the same environment.  Cool hands and feet are considered okay due to baby’s immature circulatory system, but tummy and chest should be warm and dry.  A sweaty neck and back is a sign of overheating and a layer of baby’s clothing should be removed.  Babies are not good at regulating their own temperatures.  No blanket can naturally regulate baby’s temperature for them, so parents need to touch and feel their baby to ensure baby is not too warm or too cold.

Always Place Baby on Back to Sleep
The back seeping position reduces risk of SIDS.  Baby should sleep on a firm sleep surface, in a bassinet, cradle or crib near the mother’s bed, without any soft toys, pillows or loose bedding.

Allow Baby to Suck on Fingers or a Pacifier
Infant researchers state it’s in baby’s best interest to have baby’s hands within reach of mouth, so baby may self-soothe by sucking on his or her fingers.  Sucking is the most organizing behavior of the newborn – it helps baby with sleep/wake control.  Sucking is an early form of communication – by vigorously sucking, a baby communicates that he or she is hungry.  As your baby grows stronger or if you have a very active baby, you may tuck one or both hands down into the swaddle with their elbows flexed and offer baby a pacifier.  Babies who suck on pacifiers have reduced incidence of SIDS.  As you learn more about your baby, you will find which hand position works best for your baby.

Smoke-Free Environment
Always keep baby’s environment smoke-free by not smoking when pregnant, near your baby, or in an area where your baby spends time or sleeps.

The inspiration for SwaddleDesigns was sparked when Lynette Damir, RN (CEO and Founder) visited families with new babies in their homes and she noticed they were struggling with swaddling for two reasons.  First, the blankets they were using were too small, and second, they could not remember how to make a good, secure swaddle.  The parents consistently asked her to share the secret of the hospital nurses – how to swaddle.  Learn more at SwaddleDesigns.com.

~ by cmb0414 on July 20, 2010.

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