The pros and cons of swaddling a baby – especially the cons, are some of the major reasons why many mothers and caregivers do not engage in the technique despite its advantages. We want the best for our babies and a night of good sleep is one of the surest ways of achieving the utmost wellness and happiness for our babies.
In recent times, however, you would notice – as I have, that swaddling has become more popular, and parents have become opted for the technique due to its benefits. But what remains disturbing is the fact that mothers and caregivers do not take out time to research the pros and cons of swaddling baby.
In this article, we have highlighted all you need to know about swaddling a baby, its safety – and possible risks, importance to the baby, and of cause the pros and cons of swaddling baby. At the end of this article, you would be better informed on everything that needs to be known about swaddling babies.
If you are ready as I am, then we do not need to waste any more time. Let us get to it already.
What Does It Mean to Swaddle a Baby?
Before we go into the pros and cons of swaddling baby, let us highlight correctly what it means to swaddle a baby – and not assume we are all on the same page.
To swaddle a baby means to gently wrap a baby – leaving only their neck and head, in a light breathable blanket so as to make them feel calm and fall asleep faster. This is a traditional practice that makes the baby feel loved, warmth and security, by wrapping them to give them the womb feeling.
Yes, when done right, a swaddled baby assumes that he or she is in the mother’s womb – how lovely! Now that we are on the same page on what swaddling a baby is, and how it can be done righty, let us go ahead to discuss the pros and cons of swaddling baby.
[Also Read: Best Way to Swaddle a Baby And What to Consider]
Is swaddling safe for Babies?
If you have read any of my articles on parenting, motherhood, baby care and more, you would have noticed that I love to give direct answers to direct questions – before going into explanations, of course.
In answering this question, I would not be any different! The answer is ‘YES’, swaddling is generally safe for babies – if you know what you are doing. That said, you should also be aware that swaddling a baby can lead to severe consequences such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) if you do not carry out the technique right – or at the wrong time.
As I have clearly mentioned at the start of my article, this is the reason many mothers and caregivers do not consider engaging in the technique despite the numerous benefits. But, you should put your mind to rest because the technique and points needed to consider when swaddling a baby are pretty few – and easy to master.
From this article alone, you would not only understand the pros and cons of swaddling baby, but also master the art of swaddling a baby without putting your infant at any risk whatsoever.
However, one important point of note is, one that concerns the age range when you should consider swaddling your baby. As a general rule for safety, you should only engage in swaddling your baby when the baby is between the ages of 0 – 2 months of age. Taking note of this, is very important, because you should swaddle a baby when they are yet to develop the strength and skills to pull up or roll over on their own.
According to experts, mothers and caregivers should not swaddle a baby that has learnt to roll over as this can not only put the baby in great danger but also increase the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Why Babies Like Swaddling?
The real question should be ‘why would a baby not like swaddling?’ The closest thing to that special feeling a baby enjoys when they are in the womb is swaddling – and trust me when I say babies like swaddling more than you can barely imagine.
When you wrap your baby in a blanket with their hands and legs tucked closely with their bodies, they feel a supreme sense of warmth and comfort that promotes utmost calm and sleep. Like I mentioned earlier it brings back the memory of the months they were in their mother’s womb.
Experts claim that on many occasions, the baby even thinks he or she is back into the womb! Between 0 – 2 months of age, the baby is still more familiar with the womb experience than the outside world, so connecting to the womb experience is not a difficult task.
Babies like security and comfort – and swaddling provides both in one of the best ways possible. From experience, even babies that have trouble sleeping, are able to sleep for long hours when they are swaddled. Also, apart from making the babies sleep, swaddling can help calm babies by relaxing their muscles and putting them in the right frame of mind.
[Also Read: What it Means to Dream Feed a Baby And How to Dream Feed a Baby]
Benefits of Swaddling a Baby
We have already highlighted that babies like swaddling because of the comfort they feel, but could there be any benefits of swaddling a baby? Why should you take out time to learn – and master the art of swaddling a baby?
Below, we have highlighted some of the benefits of swaddling a baby, check them out here:
5 Benefits of Swaddling a Baby
1. Better Sleep for Babies
This has got to be the number one benefit of swaddling a baby. Every mother and caregiver knows the importance of good sleep to babies. A baby’s development occurs during sleep and so the importance of good sleep cannot be overemphasized. Swaddling helps to promote a better sleep routine for babies.
2. Calms the Baby
No mother or caregiver likes to see their baby cry – or feeling cranky. Swaddling helps to soothe the baby, and prevents every form of crankiness. It has been tested and proven, and also, medical experts advise that babies should be swaddled to enable them maintain a calm state for general body and mental development.
3. Regulates Reflexes
As you know, infants – especially those between 0 – 2 months do not have fully developed systems to cope with the reflexes they might experience – even while sleeping. Swaddling can help regulate sudden movements in the baby and reflexes the baby may experience.
4. Prevents Scratching
As you may have noticed, babies have razor-sharp nails – and very tender skin. When sleeping, babies are notorious for scratching their bodies and faces especially – causing bodily harm to their tender skin in the process. Swaddling can help to prevent a baby from scratching himself or herself.
5. Safe Sleep Positions
When you swaddle a baby, you can be rest assured that the baby will remain on his or her back throughout the sleep period. As you should know, the best position for a baby to sleep in at that age and stage is on their backs – to enable them breathe well.
Swaddling Risk and Safety tips
You shouldn’t be surprised that swaddling has its own risks – and safety tips that every mother or caregiver must strictly adhere to, in order to enjoy the maximum benefits associated with swaddling a baby.
Below, we have highlighted some swaddling risks and safety tips to guide you.
[Also Read: How to Remove Yellow Poop Stains Out of Baby Clothes]
5 Risks of Swaddling Baby – and Their Safety Tips
1. Body Heat
One of the greatest concerns associated with swaddling a baby is body heat. Many experts advise mothers and caregivers to only swaddle a baby during cold seasons to reduce the risks of overheating in the babies. You will agree that it is somewhat difficult to monitor the changes in a baby’s temperature once they are swaddled.
Safety Tip: Ensure that you use a light breathable blanket to swaddle the baby. You should also make sure that the baby is kept in a cool room in order to reduce every chance of overheating.
2. Mother-Baby Intimacy
One major advantage of swaddling is that it can help promote long sleep hours. However, this can have a little effect which may pose a risk to mother-baby intimacy. Babies need constant intimacy with their mothers – or caregivers; so if you are always putting them in a swaddle whenever they cry, then it could affect the precious moments you would have shared together.
Safety Tip: Do not substitute intimacy time for swaddle. As a mother or caregiver, you should be available to provide the much love, comfort and intimacy your baby requires as much as possible.
3. Risks of Rolling Over in Babies
As a mother or caregiver, you really cannot know when your baby starts to roll over until you experience it first-hand. So, when you swaddle your baby, there is a risk of rolling over which can have severe consequences including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Safety Tip: Swaddled or not, make sure you make it a habit to put your baby’s court close to your bed – at least for the first few months, and monitor them constantly when they sleep.
4. Swaddling Addiction
This is a funny one, but it is so true. Your baby can get addicted to swaddling, in as much that they do not sleep until they have been swaddled. You may wonder how this poses a risk to the infant, well it does. When a baby is addicted to swaddling, the mother or caregiver may be caught unawares and be unaware of when to stop swaddling the baby.
Safety Tip: As a mother and caregiver, do not swaddle your baby all the time and also make sure you stop swaddling the baby after the baby becomes 2 months of age to reduce any chance of the baby rolling over while swaddled.
5. Pains and Discomfort
On some occasions, swaddling can cause pains and discomfort for the baby especially around the joints and ankles if the baby is swaddled for too long. Also, if the swaddle is too tight, the baby can feel pains around certain areas which can lead to internal bleeding, and even worse.
Safety Tip: Seek help before you swaddle a baby to ensure that you are doing the right thing. Use light blankets and loose knots so that the straps do not hurt the baby’s delicate skin. [Also Read: How to Wash Newborn Hair]
Conclusion – Pros and Cons of Swaddling Baby
I cannot emphasize it enough that mothers and caregivers need to constantly carry out independent researches, and engage their medical advisers more. Doing this, not only helps you understand the issues that may arise with your young one, it also helps you handle them adequately. Just like the famous saying goes, information is power!
If there is one thing that babies share in common most, it is their peculiarity – and this should be seen as an advantage rather than a disadvantage.
The pros and cons of swaddling baby is one topic I researched extensively before trying to swaddle my baby for the first time, and I am glad you have taken the time to do so too – whether or not you have swaddled your baby in the past.