Swaddle, how much do we love thee? Let me count the ways! As postpartum doulas, we love swaddling! Swaddling is a wonderful way to soothe your newborn; it reminds them of being in your womb. We use swaddling often with our postpartum babies, along with other soothing techniques. There is a reason swaddling is one of the famous “5 S’s”, made famous by Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby On The Block.
I asked our team this week to give me quotes on why they love swaddling, and here is what they had to say:
Margo Shelton, Birth and postpartum doula: I would personally love to be swaddled. I sleep with a weighted blanket and eye mask and I cocoon myself. I think I love the security that swaddling offers. I’d imagine it feels very comforting for a baby to be swaddled.
Angie Rosier, Birth and postpartum doula: Newborns are used to being held snug and secure in a warm space. Swaddling mimics part of what life in utero was like, creating a sense of familiarity and security.
Jocelyn Grayson, Birth and postpartum doula: I love swaddling because it helps baby feel cozy and calm and gives them that security!
Rhonda Smith, RN, Newborn care specialist: Swaddling helps baby feel secure and helps reduce waking due to the startle reflex! Less waking and better sleep is a win for everyone!
Brooke Ingram, RN, postpartum doula: Yes to everything said above!!!
While you can use one of the many swaddling blankets you probably received as gifts at your baby shower, we prefer swaddle sacks. If you are using a swaddling blanket, make sure you are swaddling tight enough that your baby is not working it’s way out of the swaddle blanket. You never want loose blankets in the crib or bassinet with Baby.
Why we love swaddle sacks: swaddle sacks make it much easier to wrap your baby! You don’t have to play swaddle origami, or deal with folding a much too long blanket in thirds, while holding a fussy baby. Before your baby is born, practice using the swaddle sack with a doll or stuffed animal. Keep in mind, however, that a fussy baby will be more difficult to wrap than your favorite stuffed teddy bear. Keep practicing so it will be easier when wrapping your wriggling newborn.
Our favorite swaddle sacks:
Inexpensive, easy to wash, SO easy to swaddle baby, even a full on angry thrashing baby. You can swaddle Baby hands across heart style, instead of only arms down.
This is great for babies who can REALLY squirm their way out of a swaddle. This wrap takes a bit more practice and patience to learn, and is a bit more expensive than the SwaddleMe brand, but is a great swaddle to have on hand. Practice using it when your baby is calm.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that for your infant’s safety, swaddling should stop when Baby learns to roll. Some in the AAP suggest swaddling should stop at 8 weeks of age, even if Baby hasn’t learned to roll yet. Be sure to speak to your baby’s pediatrician about any of your swaddling questions.