If better sleep for mum, dad and bub isn’t enough incentive to learn how to swaddle, it can also help reduce baby’s risk of developing SUDI (sudden unexpected death in infants). All it takes is one muslin wrap, some frog legs and this two minute video by Epworth HealthCare midwife Deborah Alexander located at Epworth Freemasons!
Swaddling is the art of wrapping baby nice and snug in a wrap or cloth. It has many benefits which include:
- Keeps their face safe from accidentally scratching themselves.
- Helps to soothe crying.
- Longer, sounder sleep.
- May reduce the risk of SUDI (less likely to fiddle and be able to roll onto their tummy).
- (Hopefully) more sleep for you!
Before you get started, it’s important to know that you shouldn’t leave baby unattended. They may not be able to walk just yet, but they can easily wriggle away!
Ready to go? Here are six steps to more sleep:
- Have baby’s shoulders at the top of the muslin wrap, slightly off-centre.
- Pull the shorter side around baby and secure it under their back.
- Bring the other side of the wrap around baby and join it with the shorter side, under their back.
- Allow baby’s legs to be curled up in a frog-like position. Don’t force them to straighten out.
- Bring the bottom of the wrap over baby and tuck it under with the rest of the wrap.
- Make sure baby is laying on their back with their feet down toward the bottom of the cot.
When not to wrap:
- If you’re sleeping with baby.
- If you’re using other sleeping aids like a sleeping bag.
- Once the startle reflex disappears (usually around 3 months).
- From around 4-6 months when baby shows signs of being able to roll.
Being all wrapped up can make baby pretty warm, so feel free to dress them in a singlet and nappy instead of a grow-suit in the warmer months.
How can I bond with my baby while swaddling?
Infant massage is a great way to connect with your baby before or after swaddling. It can also have a range of health benefits on their vital systems.
What is a safe sleeping bag?
It should be constructed in a way that baby cannot slip around inside the bag and become completely covered.
The sleeping bag should be the correct for your baby with fitted-holes for their neck and arms. The bag should include sleeves but it shouldn’t have a hood.
Can my baby spend time on their tummy at all?
Yes, supervised tummy-time while they’re awake and alert can help them develop a stronger neck and upper-body muscles. It’s important that they be free to move around though, so they shouldn’t be swaddled during tummy-time.