What is Swaddling
As a new or expecting parent you have likely heard several people suggest you swaddle baby to help them sleep better at night, and you may have found yourself asking the question ‘What is swaddling?’ Simply put, swaddling is tightly wrapping baby in a blanket. This can be achieved by using a lightweight cotton or muslin blanket (aden + anais has a great ‘how to swaddle’ video here), or you can buy a swaddle sleep sack that achieves the ‘swaddle’ effect.
The safest way for baby to sleep is on their backs, but when baby is sleeping their arms and legs can move and startle baby awake. By swaddling you keep baby’s arms and legs still and prevent them from startling themselves awake. Another benefit to swaddling is that it can mimic the womb.
When Should You Swaddle
You can swaddle baby anytime you put them down in the crib, whether for a nap or for the night. It may be a good idea to only swaddle baby when you put them down for the night (as opposed to at nap time as well) to encourage them to sleep for longer stretches over night. Many will stop swaddling around 3-4 months of age and most babies will outgrow the startle reflex around 5 or 6 months so you may want to swaddle a little longer.
If you have any questions your pediatrician will be able to help.