Why swaddling is the key to a better sleep for baby!
It’s an age-old practice that seems to weave it’s way through every generation, so just what is it that makes the baby swaddle a must-have for the modern mama?
Ok, but hang on a sec…what on earth is a baby swaddle?
Swaddling is the practice of wrapping baby tightly to simulate the tight feeling of the womb. Think about it like this…you’ve spent 9 months in a VERY snug position, and suddenly you’re Earth side and feeling like you’re free falling (that’s why babies just love those cuddles!).
Traditional baby swaddles are muslin wraps or cotton blankets that are folded around baby to keep their arms secure and sleeping on their back while they sleep. Feeling secure at the perfect temperature equals a longer, deeper nap!
Why should I use a baby swaddle?
- Swaddling keeps baby’s arms snug to stop a jerking up motion caused by their Moro reflex, which can often startle baby awake.
Ever seen a sleeping baby suddenly ‘jerk’ their arms up in the air and wake up crying? The Moro reflex is an innate reflex that baby uses to wake themselves up when they sense a change in environment. This can include a sudden noise, a change in temperature or lighting or a change in their sleeping position.
The Moro Reflex usually subsides by the age of 4 months.
- It will lead to a longer, deeper nap
Feel safe, secure, cool and snug – that sounds like a dream for the perfect sleep, right? And a baby swaddle ticks all those boxes!
- It keeps babe in a safe sleeping position on their back
We all know safe sleep = baby being on their back (until they can change sleep positions on their own). Swaddling can help keep baby in this safe positon. Just remember to un-swaddle when baby starts to learn to roll outside of the cot.
Also make sure that you let babies legs froggy out (see below) in your swaddle so that their hips remain in the optimum position. A muslin wrap baby swaddle is perfect for this as you can tie the top snugly and keep the bottom loose.
So what should you look for in a baby swaddle?
100% cotton is the best option for a long and lovely sleep from your baby swaddle. Look out for hidden elastane – you’ll find it in most “cotton” products. It’s usually what makes your swaddle feel stretchy, but it is a synthetic fibre that can make baby sweat. Sweating = overheating, which means it won’t just wake baby up because they’re uncomfortable, it can be a SIDS risk.
We love 100% organic cotton muslin because it’s an easy way to wrap on the go. And once you have a hang of it (check out our little guide below), you’ll love how simple and natural it feels!
Lots of people will gift you muslin wraps as presents for your new baby. Our range of story-print muslin wraps are designed to prevent ‘baby swaddle’ fatigue, with a large print that’s made for toddler naps and styling in your babe’s room long after the wrapping days are over.
How long is it safe to swaddle for?
Most experts agree that once baby is rolling (usually between 4-6 months of age, though all babies are different), you should drop the baby swaddle. It can be a whole new deal getting used to having those arms free, so it’s a great time to introduce a baby comforter.
Don’t be worried if there’s a transition period when you stop swaddling and baby suddenly starts waking up through the night. Some gentle sleep techniques can help your baby learn to self-settle again, without any tears (or a baby swaddle).
It’s also a great time to transition to a baby sleeping bag so that babe doesn’t kick off or get tangled in those baby blankets.
Keen to get your own baby swaddle? You can shop our range of 100% organic cotton muslin wraps here. There are ten Kippiny characters to choose from, and each matches a scene from our sleepy-time story, The KippinTales.