If you’re an expecting parent, a new parent, or a veteran parent, you’ve most likely heard of swaddling. You may have several swaddles in trendy prints and soft fabrics, and may have watched countless videos (hopefully ours!) on how to swaddle, but when, exactly, you should swaddle might still be a grey area.
The answer is that there is no clear answer - but we've got you covered.
When babies are first born, their environment changes in that they go from being warm, snug, and safe in their mommy’s belly to out in an open space, unable to regulate their own temperature effectively, and not snuggled 100% of the time. Babies are undoubtedly slightly perturbed about the change, and swaddling helps a lot with this, as it helps newborns feel safe and warm when they are wrapped up in a swaddle blanket. Swaddling helps recreate their environment in the womb, and can help soothe an infant when they’re feeling unsettled.
Relaxed woman texting her friend about her Baby Sleeps Here swaddle
That being said, in the beginning weeks of your baby’s life, you can swaddle them whenever you see fit, taking them out of the swaddle for tummy time, diaper changes, bathtime, etc. Winter babies may find themselves swaddled up much more than summer babies.
"Where my swaddle at?"
As time goes on and your baby becomes more active and more adjusted to life earthside, you may learn that you don’t need to swaddle as much. Babies may like exploring their fingers and toes and will need to be less restricted so they can wiggle around and figure out how to move. So swaddling right and left like in those first few weeks won’t be as necessary.
Despite the newfound skills your baby will inevitably pick up and want to practice, there are still times when swaddling is appropriate and needed.
As you may know, swaddling is one of the 5 S’s that can help in soothing your baby. We’ve said before and we’ll say it again, swaddling helps soothe your baby. When your infant, newborn, or older baby is crying, unsettled, or just plain fussy, wrapping them in a swaddle blanket will most likely help them calm down.
Babies can be swaddled when sleeping as well. You can add it as a step to your baby’s bedtime routine, which will eventually be a signal to them that bedtime is near. You can take one arm out of the swaddle, or even two, as time goes on and they learn to move around and explore. Once a baby can roll onto their tummy, you may want to take them out of their swaddle for bedtime and naptime.