Swaddling Your Baby: Better Sleep for the Baby and Other Benefits
To swaddle or not to swaddle? This is the question that will cross your mind as a new mother. Swaddling babies has been done for thousands of years, and it is a strong element of caring for infants sleep in most cultures. The benefits of swaddling are increasingly becoming more well known to western mothers.
The interesting thing is that the naysayers who say swaddling is bad, ignore scientific evidence that swaddling is good for a baby. An experiment by scientists Earle L. Lipton, Alfred Steinschneider and Julius B. Richmond in the 1960s opined that swaddled infants have a more stable heartbeat, slept quieter and longer than infants who were not swaddled.
Infants have the startle reflex in the first 3-4 months of life, which wakes them automatically. By swaddling an infant tightly and with a Burrito Baby Swaddle, this reflex is made less violent, which keeps the baby asleep for longer. This is more so in the light sleep phase of an infant where babies are more susceptible to waking up due to noise or movement.
Mimicking a mother’s touch
The touch of a mother is essential for an infant’s instinctive need for protection. A mother’s touch has been shown to lower a baby’s blood pressure and decrease levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone. An infant will lull herself back to sleep most of the time if she feels a mother’s presence. A swaddle mimics that presence.
An infant will also sleep faster when swaddled. It has been shown that a swaddled infant cuts down on the sleep routine by 20-40 minutes.
Makes your soothing easier
Swaddling forms the basis for other soothing techniques. An infant will gradually recognise soothing techniques like movement, white noise, and sensations like the pacifier. A swaddle wrapped tightly makes the infant more receptive to these soothing techniques. You can calm her faster and put her to sleep sooner.
No face scratching
Older babies will develop a habit of scratching their face which can be unhealthy. Restricting the baby’s arms will keep them away from the face, and also reduce thumb sucking.
No need for comfort items
A swaddled baby will sleep well without the need for comfort items like stuffed animals toys and pillows in the crib. This is also crucial in lowering the risks of Sudden Death Infant Syndrome (SIDS) which incidences are associated with these comfort items.
Remember that a calmer baby who can sleep better means better sleep for you as a mom, making it win-win!