Safely Swaddle Your Fussy Baby to Sleep

Swaddling is the ancient art of wrapping a baby in a blanket so that their arms are positioned snuggly at their sides. Today, the swaddling method for better baby sleep is practiced in many different countries and cultures. For many years, North American Indian mothers have used the swaddling method and a cradle board as a means for conveniently carrying their babies. Passed down from generation to generation, the swaddling baby sleep aid method soothes fussing babies, eases excessive crying and improves overall baby sleep patterns. Learning more about swaddling will help you safely swaddle your baby to sleep.

A Soothing Swaddle

Swaddling is very soothing to a newborn since it re-creates the warm, snuggly feeling that they had in the womb. A soft blanket wrapped properly and gently around the baby’s body can be soothing and give a fussing baby a sensation of womb familiarity. Swaddling also creates pressure points around the baby’s body giving the baby a sensation of being gently held.

Swaddling is used by many parents to combat general fussiness and promote healthy baby sleep patterns. In a remarkable study titled “Swaddling: A Systematic Review” published by The Official Journal of the American Pediatrics, Vol. 120, No. 4, October 2007, pp.e1097-e1106, experts found that “In a study in which swaddling was compared with a free condition, swaddling resulted in less arousal, less alert activity and more drowsiness and more sleep.” Confirming that swaddled babies will nap longer and that the swaddle prevents the startle reflex (uncontrolled movements from their arms and legs) from waking them up.

Swaddling as a Baby Sleep Aid

As a baby sleep aid, swaddling is most commonly used between the ages of two to four months. Parents should realize that a little swaddling can go a long way. Your baby should never be swaddled for excessive hours and certainly not for an entire day. Babies also need movement and play time to develop muscle tone and encourage coordination skills. Watch your baby’s disposition to determine appropriate times when they would enjoy a swaddle as well as times when they would enjoy the sensation of movement and play.

Swaddling with the arms tucked in is highly discouraged after four months, so that your baby can further develop necessary motor and coordination skills. Older babies, from five to nine months, who still enjoy being swaddled, can be swaddled loosely from the waist down so that the arms are free and the legs have a bit more movement.

Swaddling Your Baby Safely

Swaddling is most commonly used during cuddling and sleeping times as well as during fussy times when feeding, burping and changing have all failed to promote calm and comfort. Wrapping style, tightness and temperature are very important as too much constriction and heat can cause a baby to develop hyperthermia, a dangerous condition where the body is overwhelmed by heat.

If the climate is warm or hot, swaddle your baby just wearing an undershirt or diaper. Usually this is enough to keep them swaddled and comfortably cool. During naptime, check on your baby periodically. Should you find your baby warm or sweaty, unwrap them from the swaddle immediately!

If your baby seems overly hot, seek emergency medical attention immediately. Careful wrapping and monitoring of your baby’s temperature will help you give your baby soothing swaddle.

Do It Yourself!

Swaddling works best with a quality blanket. If your budget conscious with basic sewing skills, you can make your own. The standard department store receiving blanket is 30 inches wide and 30 inches long. For ideal swaddling, Jackie Hatch of Hancock Fabrics recommends making a bigger swaddling blanket at 42 X 42.

Jackie recommends using a quality material of flannel, grand-flannel or cotton. Grand flannel is a high quality material with flame retardant properties. Parents should be aware that regular cotton and flannel materials do not have flame retardant properties. Hypoallergenic baby materials are also available, but they are expensive and often require a special order.

If buying cotton or sewing one side cotton and one side flannel, be sure to buy the cotton a little bigger and prewash it so that any shrinking will occur before the two sides are sewn together. Jackie recommends buying a quality fabric about 42 inches wide and 45 inches long. You can then “square it up” by hemming around the material until it forms a square or triangular shape, customizing the blanket to fit the baby’s unique shape and size.

Buy a Quality Blanket

For moms who need to save both time and money, there are special, ready-made swaddling blankets available for purchase online. B.B. (Burrito Baby) Sleep Solutions offers a “premium quality 100% cotton flannel, multifunctional swaddle blanket” designed to give your baby ultimate comfort in swaddling care. The “extra large 40 inch blanket” is well designed, and creates a swaddle without using any “snaps, ties, velcro or unnatural fasteners.”

Jamie Kent, owner and founder, started B.B. Sleep Solutions when she found a lack of quality blankets available in the retail market. She also developed a DVD training curriculum that goes with the blanket to help parents learn how to get their babies to sleep. “We talk about the importance of sleep and we go through several studies and just teach parents how to sleep their babies. I think a lot of people are unaware of how much sleep newborns actually require.”

One mother and customer, agrees that the B.B. Sleep Solutions blanket with training program is a quality product that really works! “The thing that is great about Jami’s Sleep Solution Program is that she basically shows you how to do it. Everything she said worked! Every bit of advice she offered, 100% of the time it worked!”

Jami also offers “Sleep Parties” to help parents learn more about the helpful B.B. Sleep Solutions products. One customer emphasizes how important it is to learn about the baby sleep program and start early! “We started the program when my second baby was five days old and she slept 100% better than my first baby.”

Jami’s unique blanket is made of a high quality material that breathes to help keep the baby from becoming overheated. When asked about the quality of the B.B. Sleep Solutions blanket, Jami’s customer gives the product high praise: “There is something different about the B.B. Sleep Solutions Blanket. I don’t know why it works better, but it does and we just laugh and say that the blanket is made with love.” To learn more about quality B.B. Sleep Solutions Products, check out their link below!

Swaddling and SIDS

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS occurs when a baby under the age of one year suddenly and unexplainably dies. Most SIDS related deaths occur when the baby is between two and four months. In 1990, there were 5, 417 recorded infant deaths caused by SIDS according to the National Sudden Infant Death Resource Center or NSIDRC.

In 1994, based on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or NICHD instituted a “Back to Sleep” campaign to educate parents about putting babies to sleep on their backs which is the supine position. Suppor
tive evidence as to the relation of swaddling and back sleeping is mentioned in the Journal of Pediatrics article cited. Researchers “indicated that firm tucking, wrapping or swaddling contributes to a reduced risk of SIDS.” They go on to explain that babies who are swaddled and put to sleep on their backs actually have a much lower risk of dying from SIDS.

The NICHD statistics show that from 1992 to 2000 the mortality rate from SIDS has decreased by 50% indicating that babies who are put to sleep on their backs have a much lower risk of dying from SIDS. Mothers, who have used swaddling and the back sleeping position, agree that safe swaddling and back sleeping go hand in hand to prevent SIDS.

The cause of SIDS is yet unknown. Theories range from poor health at birth to difficulty breathing due to excess blankets and bedding. Swaddling prevents SIDS, and helps a parent feel more secure about their baby’s naptime. One mother agrees, “There was never a time when I was concerned about the safety of my baby when she was swaddled. I really think that swaddling is the best thing for a baby and it’s absolutely the best thing because the baby is going to sleep better and you are going to sleep better.”

Learn more about swaddling and the B.B. Sleep Solutions products, with the links below!

The history of swaddling.

B.B. Sleep Solutions DVD training video and their unique swaddling blanket .

Step by step process on how to swaddle your baby .

Safe baby sleeping tips and baby sleep positions to protect your baby from SIDS.

More parenting help for naptime