Swaddling is one of the most gentle, effective and beneficial practices for parents and their children. It is said to be familiar to babies, as it recreates the secure and cozy feeling of the womb.
‘Swaddling, when done correctly, can be an effective technique to help calm infants, promote sleep, and encourage the use of the supine position [laying on back, face up],’1 says the Academy of American Pediatrics. Some touch therapists also say that swaddling can even help develop an infant’s tactile system so they become comfortable with being touched, which is key to healthy development.2
Today, there are physiological studies that support the idea that swaddling decreases startling and spontaneous awakenings while encouraging longer periods of sleep, but parents and caregivers around the world have known about the benefits of swaddling for centuries. The oldest archaeological evidence of mothers swaddling their babies begins in 4000 B.C. with the migrating peoples of ancient central Asia. The ancient Greeks and Romans also swaddled. There are even biblical references to the practice.2
The beauty of swaddling is in its simplicity. If you have muslin and two loving hands, you can’t go wrong. Why muslin? First and foremost, it’s super soft and breathable. The open weave and lightweight fabric of muslin allows for airflow, reducing the risk of overheating. This quality helps keep baby comfortable and safe, resulting in parents’ peace of mind. Muslin is also durable. Weaving a product in the natural fibre of muslin makes it a workhorse fabric, giving it the ability to stay soft—wash after wash. The delicate yet durable weave of muslin also evokes a stretchiness with a ‘natural give’, allowing a muslin swaddle to be tucked snugly around baby without being overly restrictive.
Mastering swaddling is all about finding a technique and establishing a routine that both the parent and baby is comfortable with. The basic swaddle is just one way to do it and can be accomplished in these four steps:
STEP 1: Fold the swaddle into a triangle, and place baby in the center with the shoulders just below the fold.
STEP 2: Place baby’s right arm alongside the body, slightly bent. Take the same side of the swaddle and pull it securely across baby’s chest, keeping the right arm under the fabric. Tuck the edge of the swaddle under the body, leaving the left arm free.
STEP 3: Fold the bottom of the swaddle up and over baby’s feet, tucking the fabric into the top of the swaddle.
STEP 4: Place baby’s left arm alongside the body, slightly bent. Take the remaining swaddle and wrap it over baby’s arm and chest, tucking the fabric under baby to secure the swaddle. Be sure that the swaddle is not wrapped too tightly around baby.
It is important to remember that swaddled infants should always be placed on their backs and that when they begin to show signs of trying to roll over, they no longer should be swaddled. When it is time to stop swaddling baby, a sleeping bag can help make the transition easier. Sleeping bags are designed to be safely worn by babies and are impossible for little legs to kick off, allowing baby to continue to feel comfy and secure while eliminating the need for loose blankets in the cot for a safer sleep.
To experience the calming and soothing benefits of breathable muslin swaddles and sleeping bags, explore the full aden + anais collection of beautiful baby essentials at www.adenandanais.co.uk.
1 Rachel Y. Moon, TASK FORCE ON SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME, SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Evidence Base for 2016 Updated Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment
2 Raegan Moya-Jones, swaddle love (New York: Damarae, Inc, 2009)