- find out why mums have been doing it for centuries!
Heard about baby swaddling but unsure how it works or how to get started? Perhaps you’ve seen some contradicting opinions and you’re not convinced it’s safe for your baby? You’re in the right place! We’re here to educate you on the ins and outs of baby swaddling, including its benefits, how to pick the perfect swaddle blanket from a wide range of baby accessories and most importantly how to swaddle your baby safely.
What is baby swaddling?
It’s a traditional practice of comforting your baby by wrapping them in a light, airy blanket. The snug and warm feeling makes babies feel secure and comfortable, just as they did in the womb. It’s known to be most suitable within the first 12 weeks from birth, commonly described as the 4th Trimester, when newborns readjust from the calm, soothing environment of mum’s tummy to life outside of the womb.
Did you know swaddling was originally invented over 4,000 years ago (yes, 4,000!)? However, it spiked in popularity in the early 1990s when the baby accessory market started to grow rapidly. Newborn swaddling continues to be loved by babies (and parents) all around the world to date. If it’s not broken, why fix it, right?
Picking the perfect swaddle blanket
Choosing the right blanket for swaddling is crucial to provide an effective, pleasant and most importantly safe experience for your baby. The material the swaddle is produced from is a key deciding factor. You should only opt in for organic, breathable materials, such as bamboo, muslin, cotton or a blend of those natural, baby safe fabrics. These textiles come with thermoregulatory, antibacterial and antiallergenic properties, help to prevent overheating, keep your baby comfortable and dry, whilst letting their skin breathe when swaddled. Pay attention to the size of the swaddle blanket too, we recommend choosing a generous size (around 80 x 100 cm) for a comfortable, snug and easy to manage wrap.
We’re indeed spoilt for choice when it comes to baby accessories with a plethora of chain and independent baby brands and products available on the market, online and in-store. It can surely get overwhelming and make it difficult to decide which product is the right one for you and your newborn. Sounds familiar, right?
We’ve done the hard work for you and shortlisted some of our ultimate favourites when it comes to swaddle blankets, listed below along with their unique benefits. You’re welcome!
Here’s our top choices of organic baby swaddle blankets, all available at www.spoiltland.co.uk
Ultra soft and pleasant to touch, light baby blanket made with 100% organic bamboo. The breathable fabric is well known for its thermoregulatory, antibacterial and antiallergenic properties. The knitted blanket is not only the perfect choice for swaddling or as a light cover for warmer weather, but it also looks great! Available in a range of gorgeous colours (large size: 80 x 100 cm).
Another bestseller when it comes to bamboo swaddles and light baby blankets (knitted fabric). Made with 100% organic bamboo it comes with all its great health benefits, in an even larger, more generous size: 90 x 90 cm and variety of shades.
Malomi Muslin Swaddle is a great choice if you fancy a bamboo (60%) and cotton (40%) blend swaddle, recognised for being even more absorbent than bamboo swaddles (it’s also thermoregulatory, antibacterial and antiallergenic). It’s one of the largest swaddles on the market (120 x 120 cm) and you can choose from a range of colours and patterns!
All new and improved formula of an organic 100% bamboo swaddle with innovative SILVERPLUS technology incorporating invisible and undetectable silver ions, designed to enhance the antibacterial and antiallergenic properties, absorb odours and protect your baby from UV rays. Choice of colours available in a generous 100 x 100 cm size.
All of our baby swaddle blankets listed above are subject to the strictest test criteria of the Oeko Tex Standard 100 Product Class I, safe and kind to even the most sensitive newborn skin. These swaddles are also super durable and easy to care for (machine washable at 30 degrees, check individual product details).
Tip: once your baby outgrows swaddling, the swaddle also makes for a perfect light blanket, a towel (organic fabrics are super absorbent) or even a changing mat.
Benefits of swaddling
The snug, warm feeling of being wrapped in a blanket comes with multiple benefits by helping babies to feel calm and comforted. Although, academic research on the benefits of swaddling is still limited, these are some of the advantages observed:
It helps babies to settle down quicker and reduce crying as a result
Swaddling makes babies feel snug and safe. You know the feeling you still get when you tuck yourself in to bed at night?
Swaddling can support colic relief by providing a light pressure on the stomach and massage-like feeling
Baby wrapping helps to control the startle reflex (also known as Moro reflex), when babies react to external factors instinctively by waving their arms or legs. These uncoordinated movements often startle newborns as they are unaware of their body or the surrounding space. Swaddling helps to reduce it and prevent unnecessary wake ups - a win-win for babies and parents!
Baby swaddling is also known to ease the transition between life in the womb and in the external world. It can be especially helpful for babies delivered via C Section
By using the swaddles when feeding or for general daily care, the familiar smell of parents or milk lingers on the fabric which babies find super comforting and soothing
A snug wrap will also ensure your baby stays warm, by stopping them from kicking off their duvets or blankets when asleep
Baby swaddling is also known to help newborns develop self awareness of the body and learn how to coordinate their arms and legs. It’s found to be recommended as part of Sensory Development therapies, especially for preemies, to help them achieve the required level of muscle quicker
There are some risks of swaddling as newborns are fragile and require appropriate care and attention to support their development. However, if done correctly, swaddling is super safe and causes no harm to your little one. Here are some professional tips & steps to follow for safe swaddling (as recommended by the NHS):
Material: as suggested earlier, use only swaddles made from organic, light & breathable fabrics (bamboo, cotton or muslin swaddles) and avoid excessive layering up
Baby position: ensure your baby rests only on their back when wrapped, babies must not lay on their front or side when swaddle. Secondly, never swaddle your baby above their shoulder level, their head and neck must always be free. Lastly, you want the swaddle to be snug & firm, whilst gentle and not too tight
Hip safety: when swaddled, your babies legs must be free to fall in a natural position (frog legs) and they need to be able to move their hips and knees (to kick), in order to prevent hip dysplasia (potential risk if swaddled too tight with movement restricted)
Temperature: baby swaddling will keep your little cosy & warm, meaning you should check their temperature regularly to avoid overheating (check the back of their neck). It’s also crucial to select weather appropriate clothing. Swaddling isn’t recommended whilst breastfeeding as naturally babies can get too hot quicker whilst feeding
Age: swaddling is only appropriate for newborns who are not mobile yet, as soon as your babies develops interest in moving about & starts learning how to roll over (some newborns pick this up as soon as around 2-3 months old) you should move away from swaddling to prevent babies from rolling onto their side or front when swaddled
Duration: there’s no strict rules or supporting evidence here, it’s really up to your baby! Some babies will enjoy swaddling for longer and others might get bored easily. As soon as you spot your baby getting uncomfortable or agitated remove them from the swaddle. If it doesn’t feel right, it most probably isn’t. It is not advised to keep your baby in a swaddle for an extended period with concerns around impeding their orthopedic development
To swaddle or not to swaddle?
It’s a yes from us! Controlled, safe baby swaddling can offer much needed comfort to newborns and their parents and will not cause your baby any harm. However, as much as we love swaddling, it’s extremely important to give your baby the freedom to move about, needed to support the development of their hips, limbs & motor skills.
Don’t forget all babies are tiny humans with unique personalities and it’s okay if your baby is not a fan of swaddling! The first rule of swaddling is to understand if your newborn actually enjoys it by observing their reaction when swaddled. Don’t force it!
Let us know how did your baby find swaddling. Was it a hit or a fail? Share your experiences with fellow parents in the comments below.