A year ago, I just got married to the most amazing person and I thought it couldn’t get any better than that. But alas there was something even better for us. My husband and I didn’t expect that after months and months of waiting we would be blessed with a bundle of joy to call our own. Now we are just weeks and days away from having him in our arms though I may be having mixed emotions.
First off, this will be my firstborn and I wouldn’t exactly know how to become a “mom” yet. I barely scraped passed the phase of becoming “the wife” and now I have to be a wife and a mother. It’s a scary thought but it’s also a joy. I was going through some mommy stuff on the net when I encountered the word “swaddle”. The article mentioned that some newborns would like to be swaddled. Whatever could they mean, I wondered and so I did further research and now I have some simple guides and tips for new mommies like us on how to swaddle a baby.
The word swaddle is a verb that denotes that something is to be wrapped tightly in a blanket or some piece of cloth. In our case, we are going to wrap babies in a swaddling blanket or any cloth that is breathable and comfortable.
History of Swaddling
Some references suggest that swaddling infants go way back to old bible times as found in the books of Ezekiel in the old testament and the book of Luke in the new testament to the era of the Romans and Greeks. It then extends towards the 15th century where a then pediatrician documented how a midwife then should be swaddling an infant with swaddling clothes.
During 1668, a gentleman named Français Mauriceau passed down knowledge that swaddling infants is beneficial, as it gives them a straight figure which is befitting a man as he says. Then swaddling infants suddenly became unpopular during the late 18th century in France and England when a gentleman named William Cadogan, who was a physician, called for change and claimed that swaddling was nothing but detrimental to infants.
Gradually though, it resurrected itself in the 20th century where values and practices in infant care from the past were still cherished by moms and that included swaddling.
Why Swaddle a Baby?
As some reference cited, historically, mothers would swaddle their infant child as a way to keep them straight. Now, this is not a form of punishment but rather a way to restrain them from sudden movements. Sudden movements can wake the baby up during sleep. It is also due to the premise that some SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome were caused by letting babies sleep on their bellies that is why swaddling then became a way to battle SIDS.
Some pediatricians also looked at the fact that swaddling gave infants the same comfort that their old bedrooms had, their mother’s womb was a tight squeeze after all and suddenly too much for the infants. So swaddling them in comfortable swaddling cloths gives them the same effect their mothers’ wombs would have.
However, swaddling is not for all babies. Some experts believe that there are some babies that are just uncomfortable with swaddling. The goal of swaddling is to make the baby feel comfortable so if your baby doesn’t want to then don’t force it.
Three Simple Techniques in Swaddling a baby
In one of the references that I read, the author presented three ways to swaddle a baby. The diamond swaddle, the square swaddle and lastly, the sleepsack swaddle. All three are ways to wrap infants in swaddling cloth.
This perhaps is the most popular and most common swaddling technique that goes even back to days in the past. Here is how you do a diamond swaddle.
- Select a swaddling cloth large enough to cover your baby but not too much that it overwhelms him/her. Lay it flat like a diamond on the bed or any clean available surface with 4-6 inches of the top part of the cloth folded for the baby’s head.
- Lay your baby on the cloth with its neck placed carefully on the folded portion allowing the head of the baby to have room for movement.
- Get the left-hand corner and gently lay it over your baby then tuck it under your baby’s arm. Be mindful not to pull too much. You wouldn’t want your baby to be crushed nor should you force them to straighten up. Though much of the premise of swaddling is to give a straight figure as stated earlier, it is still not advisable to force your baby’s legs straight as it may cause future impairment like hip dysplasia.
- Gather the bottom part of the cloth and pull it over your baby then get the right hand corner and pull it over the entire thing and then tuck it in the pocket you’ve created and voila! You now have a baby in diamond swaddle.
Square swaddling is also known as the quick swaddling or the easiest and fastest way to wrap your baby up in no time especially if mommy is so busy with so many chores or work. This technique will fit perfectly. It will be as easy as pie.
- Start by laying your swaddling cloth on a flat surface in a square-like manner or just as it is.
- Fold 4-6 inches of the top right corner of the square just like in the diamond swaddling and for the same purpose as well.
- Lay your baby diagonally across the top right corner.
- Pull the right side to cover your baby then do the same with the left side and then lastly, pull the bottom part and tuck it in at the back portion of the swaddle.
This last swaddling technique may come as a surprise. Because there is a specific cloth that matches this technique and it’s called a sleep sack. Though much is debatable since the point of swaddling is to wrap and no to put in a premade sack. Anyway, here is how it’s done.
- Gently put your baby inside your sleep sack.
- Zip, Wrap, and Velcro if your sleep sack has one and then your done.