The Hows and Whys of Swaddling a Baby

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Why swaddle a baby?

Swaddling is a an age old tradition of protection a newborn and provide comfort and warmth in the first few weeks of a baby's life. It is also a great technique to help baby sleep. It is a way of transitioning baby from the security of the womb to the real world. Don't swaddle a baby just because everyone else does. Swaddle because  you believe it  will help your little one sleep. Swaddling can avoid the "mama drama" of a fussy infant. If baby gets enough sleep; everyone in the family is happy. There are certain situations in which swaddling is not the answer. Make sure your baby qualifies before you attempt the technique. Always check with your pediatrician to make sure that your  your newborn doess not have a medical condition; this technique may not be right for him because swaddling prevents motion.

When to Swaddle a Baby?

The best time to become swaddling a baby is when it is first born. Newborns aren't very mobile and they like the feel of a soft blanket wrapped around theme. It mimics the feeling of security that they felt in the womb. Once a baby can flip over; it is time to give up swaddling.

What Kind of Blanket to Use?

The best kind of baby blanket is made of muslin.Muslin is the softest fabric on the planet and it gets softer with each washing. It is breathable and 100% cotton so that it is comfortable and safe for infants. It is a thin natural fabric and has been used for centuries. The right size for the blanket is a 4 foot square; so any blanket between 42 and 50 inches will work. Anything smaller will not give you enough material to securely wrap around your little one and anything larger is too cumbersome and will over whelm a young child with it s weight.

How to Swaddle a Baby?

Once you have decided that you would like to swaddle your baby; you have to learn the technique. Never swaddle a baby too tightly; it can cause overheating and breathing problems. On the other hand, the swaddle has to be tight enough so that he can't wiggle out of it. Always swaddle a baby on its back. A swaddled baby on his stomach is dangerous and could lead to SIDS. Once a baby can turn over , stop swaddling. A good way to practice is to try swaddling a stuffed animal or a watermelon. It will take several attempts to achieve the right balance between too tight and too loose.

Here are the steps:

1.Spread the blanket on a flat, sturdy surface. Make sure the surface is large enough with ample room for the baby and blanket and  it is not too high. One of safest places is a carpeted floor.. You can also use your lap or a couch, changing table or bed if you are extra careful and ready not to leave the baby at any time. Place the blanket  on an angle so that it is a diamond with the bottom point facing you.Fold the top corner down .

2.Place baby on the blanket with the head above the fold.The fold should be resting directly below the infant's neck. It's important to make sure the blanket won't cover the baby's mouth and nose.

3.Quickly and carefully pull one side of the blanket across the baby.  Tuck the corner underneath his or her body, underneath the arm. This will secure one arm but leave the arm from the side you just secured the blanket under free to move about.

4. Pull the bottom corner of the blanket up and over the baby's feet. Check to see if the baby's feet have room to move.  If you have excess blanket that would crowd or cover the baby's face, tuck the corner down so the fold lands at the baby's chest.  You can also move the fabric to cover the baby's shoulder on the unwrapped side.

5.Next take the remaining fabric and pull it.  Wrap it over the baby and tuck the corner underneath. This final step is where you determine who tight the swaddle is. You can adjust the tension to make the swaddle  is comfortable. A baby will let you know if he is happy. Make sure put the baby in the crib on his back with his head facing upwards. Never put a swaddled baby on his stomach.