To swaddle a baby is to put the baby in a comforting and familiar position. It is a technique mothers and caregivers ought to learn – and perfect. Apart from giving nursing mothers a few hours to rest – and deservedly so, it is important for babies to have a good sleep.
Sleep allows a baby to develop their mental capabilities and build on what they have learned while awake. This is why it is important for mothers and care givers to pay attention to the sleeping patterns of their newborns.
Over the years, many people have introduced different ways to make babies sleep – with some introducing unprintable techniques which has resulted in a rise in the number of Sudden Infant Deaths (SIDs).
Swaddling has proved to be one of the safest and effective ways to make babies sleep comfortably – and for longer. But this technique is only known – and mastered by a small majority of mothers and caregivers.
In this article, we highlight the essential points about Swaddling to give you an idea about the practice, its advantages, and tips. Let’s begin!
What does it Mean to Swaddle a New Born Baby?
To swaddle a baby simply means to wrap your baby so that movement of the arms and legs is restricted. The wrapping is usually done with a blanket or a similar material to keep the baby wrapped securely.
While this may sound like a dangerous technique to a random person, it is one of the safest positions for a newborn baby.
The technique helps to create an atmosphere which the baby is familiar with (while in the womb) – thus, providing comfort to the newborn.
According to the experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), when done in the right manner – and with the appropriate material, swaddling will calm infants within minutes and make them fall asleep.
At What Age Should I Swaddle My Baby
The best time to swaddle a baby is in the infant stage. During this time, they still have a clear memory of ‘lie’ in the womb – and everything else seems strange.
This is usually between the first 3 – 5 months, a period commonly referred to as the 4th trimester.
At what age should you stop swaddling a baby
Regardless of their age, you should stop swaddling a baby when you notice that they can roll over on their own. It is risky to swaddle a baby that can roll on their tummy because they are often unable to roll over onto their backs, leading to SIDs.
[Also Read; How to Maintain your Baby’s Crib Sheet]
Understanding Your Baby’s Body Temperature
Your baby’s temperature is the easiest clue to determining the current state of their health. This is one reason why I always advise parents and caregivers to have a personal digital thermometer.
Usually, a baby would cry when they are either too hot or cold, but you should not wait for this to happen before you take action.
You should contact your doctor if your baby’s temperature is 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.
Other signs that prove that your baby has had a change in temperature include, but is not limited to:
- Clammy Skin
- Heat Rash
- Damp Hair
Is it Okay to Swaddle a Baby in Summer?
Yes, it is okay to swaddle a baby in summer. However, you should choose a light, breathable fabric to prevent the baby from overheating.
Before you swaddle your baby in summer, try to reduce their clothing or change to a light outfit. If possible, you can swaddle the baby with a diaper on and without clothes.
How to Swaddle your Baby In Summer
Tips to Consider Before You Swaddle a Baby in Summer
It is summer, and temperatures are rising, but you are keen on enjoying the benefits of swaddling –
with the heat in mind.
We have provided a few tips to bear in mind that will enable you to swaddle your baby in summer without risking overheating the newborn in the process.
1. Check your Baby’s Temperature Before you Swaddle
The average temperature for a baby is around 36.4C. You should check your baby’s temperature before you swaddle them to determine if it is safe to do so.
When checking your baby’s temperature, it is best to place the thermometer in their armpits – not their feet or hands, because these areas are usually colder than the other parts of their bodies.
2. Do Not Swaddle too Tightly
When swaddling the baby, have it in mind that you are wrapping a delicate creature. Be careful not to swaddle the baby tightly or above the shoulders.
You should consider seeking help from someone who is experienced in swaddling if you have not mastered the act.
3. Lay Your Baby Back-Down
You should place babies on their back when swaddling a baby and after the swaddling is complete.
If placed in any other position, the baby will have trouble breathing, and this can lead to Sudden Infant Death (SID)
4. Beware of Thick Materials
When swaddling a baby in summer, it is common sense to avoid thick blankets or materials such as fleece. It is best to consider a light material such as muslin when swaddling a baby in summer.
5. Always Keep the Baby in Sight
A swaddled baby should always be in the same room as the mother or caregiver. For no reason should you leave your swaddled baby alone in a room.
Also, the swaddle should be removed immediately after the baby expresses discomfort or you notice that the baby is rolling over.
[Also Read: What to Eat & Avoid When Breastfeeding a Gassy Baby]
Is My Baby Overheating? – Signs you Should Look Out for
We must do all we can to make sure newborns are cool and comfortable at all times. Babies do not heat because it makes them very uncomfortable and causes severe reactions.
Overheating doesn’t just cause heat rashes in babies; it can lead to severe complications and increase the risks of infant deaths.
Sadly, reports have revealed that many infant deaths have resulted from overheating caused when parents try to over pad their children to protect them from cold. Also, lack of proper ventilation during summer is a common factor.
We have highlighted some signs to look out for in determining if a baby is overheating after you have swaddled the baby.
Below, I have carefully highlighted a few signs and symptoms of a swaddled baby overheating:
1. The Baby is Warm to Touch: When you notice that your baby is warm to touch, it is a sign that they are boiling up inside.
A warm baby is not a good sign, so you should consider adjusting or removing the swaddle.
2. Your Baby is Feeling Dizzy: I know mothers and caregivers are always happy to see their baby sleep.
But if your baby feels dizzy in a noisy environment or the eyelids are having an irregular movement, it could be a sign of overheating in the swaddle.
3. Vomiting: Vomiting can be common in children, but it is not a good sign.
Sometimes children vomit after they have been fed to expel excess fluids or food from their system, but if you notice vomiting in your child when it is not related to feeding, it is a sign that the baby is overheating in the swaddle.
4. Feverish Feeling: One major cause of fevers in children is overheating.
So, if your notice your baby has a fever, you should consider checking the tightness of the swaddle or removing it entirely.
5. Redness of Skin: If you notice that the head and neck area – visible in a swaddled baby is growing red, it is a sign that the baby’s temperature is rising.
6. Irregular Heartbeat: When your baby begins to have an irregular heartbeat – too fast or too slow after you have swaddled them, it is a sign that the baby is overeating.
You will need to loosen the swaddle or consider opting for something else.
Cooling Your Baby Down – Ways to Safely Cool your Baby Down
After your baby has been overheating due to a swaddle, you need to take conscious steps to cool them down after removing the swaddle.
It is not automatic, and the baby will not immediately cool down because you have adjusted or removed the swaddle.
These are tested and trusted ways to cool your baby down after overheating due to a swaddle.
1. Adjust or Remove the Swaddle: First things first, right? If you notice that your baby is getting overheated as a result of a swaddle. The first thing you should do is to adjust the swaddle or remove it totally.
2. Turn Down the Heat: You should turn down the heat by moving the child into a colder room or turn on an air conditioner or fan to make the room cooler.
3. Give a Lukewarm Bath: To make the baby cool, you could consider giving the baby a lukewarm bath. This will help to regulate the baby’s overall temperature.
4. Use a Wet Towel: In a situation where bathing the baby is not possible, it is best to use a wet towel to cool down the baby’s forehead and entire body.
5. Dress the baby in Lighter Clothing: If you are taking off the swaddle, it is best to replace it with lighter cloths, allowing a good amount of air to get onto the baby’s body.
6. Offer the Baby Fluids: You can cool down a hot baby by giving them fluids. When a baby takes water, it helps to regulate their temperature from within.