When to Stop Swaddling Your Baby? Things Mothers Need To Know
Swaddling is the most common method mothers initiate to her newborn child to help the baby sleep soundly and protect him from feeling cold. The warmth, softness and cushiness of the cloth replicate an embrace. This likewise makes babies safe and secure. The fact that infants have been used to the warm environment inside the womb is one reason for this particular activity.
Snuggled in the warmth of a cloak imitates the sensation of being held close in a mother’s arms. A condition that will pacify a baby’ fear of being separated.
How Long Should Swaddling Continue?
Every child has his own way of coping with different scenarios. Some newborns love being held more times than others while some find it restricting. Parents who observe these actions tend to wonder just when stop swaddling their babies. Can a mother depend on her instinct to answer this question?
Instinct normally works when you do not have a concrete idea of what is happening. And since a mother and a child have been bonded for nearly a year, when the baby was still in the womb, mothers could feel what her baby is feeling. That is how instinct works.
However, in this case, there are certain guidelines from publications and medical books to help parents decide whether to continue swaddling or not. So for parents who crave for the knowledge on this particular topic, we have compiled our own version of the do’s and don’ts in swaddling. This will surely be useful for new moms. All they have to do to learn this is by reading on.
5 Signs to Help Decide When to Stop Swaddling
We cannot altogether say as to the exact time when to stop swaddling. In this case, it is best to test from time to time and observe how babies react when they are swaddled. Through this, you will be able to decide on what actions to take stop swaddling
1 - Once the baby reaches the right age
When we say right age, it is in a range from 3 to 4 months old, once babies reaction shows annoyance to their limited movement and cries their hearts out.
2 - Once a baby wiggles out of their confinement
Breaking free from their wrap can happen occasionally but if they do this every time you swaddle them, then you know that’s it’s the time.
3 - Once the baby tosses and turns
Safety is the most important factor when dealing with a child. The right position for swaddled babies should be facing up; the baby’s back should be on the mattress. However, there are kids who know how to toss and turn while they sleep. Once you see the baby sleeping on his stomach, immediately roll him over to prevent the risk of him from SIDs or “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome”.
SIDS has claimed many lives of newborn babies and even a little bit older ones during sleep. It is a frightening situation, however, no known cause has been found. It is just that researchers have revealed that babies who sleep on their tummy tend to be the ones who are victims of SIDS.
4 - Once babies sweat profusely and start to breathe heavily
When a child is swaddled, his whole body is wrapped in fabric hampering the flow of air to reach the baby’s body. This, therefore, will cause sweating and increase body temperature. Avoid swaddling your child during hot summer months or if there’s no air conditioning. This is a risky situation which might lead to stroke.Allowing babies to be free from the confinement will help him adjust to the different environment, and from there, mothers will know when to stop swaddling.
5 - Once the baby shows Moro reflex control
The jerky motion a child exhibit during the age of 3 months is known as Moro reflex. Control of this can best be achieved through swaddling. But there are stages in a baby’s life which manifest control of his Moo reflex. It is the right period to stop swaddling.
Why Is It Important To Stop Swaddling Your Baby?
After we talked about what particular time to stop swaddling, let's jump into the discussion on knowing how important it is to stop swaddling a child. Prolonging the swaddling period poses risks on the child which might be lethal. Below are the reasons of stoppage:
Prevent occurrence of SIDS
There are about 3,500 deaths of infants every year attributed to asphyxiation during sleep. Though this is accidental in nature, still we can belittle the fact that a little swaddling could lead to suffocation when babies over roll around and ending on their tummy.
Pillows and blankets are a treat too
As babies squirm which is quite often and if they haven’t mastered yet controls of their Moro reflexes, the blankets and pillows could turn over their faces. Once these cover their mouth and nose suffocation can easily happen.
Preventing hip dysplasia development
Babies are still in the formation stage. So, if the swaddle is not properly placed and wrapped then hip development are triggered. This condition is aggravated by excessive tightness and the prolong use of swaddle causing hip dysplasia.
On higher risk of heat illnesses
Heat is the cause of dehydration. So wrapping a child in swaddles can promote an increase in his body temperature, thus requiring more fluids to counteract this condition. If mothers fail to notice his need for fluids, then dehydration occurs.
Simple Ways To Stop Swaddling Your Baby
It doesn’t require intricate methods or summoning a physician in order to realize when to stop swaddling your baby. All it needs is by slowly introducing a swaddle free care. Here’s how:
- Gradually take swaddle off your baby part by part. You can do it first in his arms; then you can expose his legs the next time. Soon after, you will be able to break free from the ritual of swaddling and your baby will surely not complain.
- Pacifiers can help divert a child’s attention from the swaddled, so introduce this to him.
- Regulate the temperature of the room while observing how the baby reacts to each degree of coldness or warmness.
- Put your hand on his forehead while you try to free him from the swaddle.
- Regularize the baby’s sleeping habits.
Transitioning Towards a Swaddle-Free Life
Even a child would resist change. So if you are a vent on making this change work, don’t rush into things. Do it gradually and take your time. On the first day, you free his arm from the cocoon. Allow him to accept this change for another day. Then try unwrapping his feet from the confinement days after, so on and so forth until you will be able to free him from the swaddle totally. All this requires perseverance on the part of the parent.
As parents, we have to sacrifice a lot for our babies. That is why even the act of swaddling a child is a manifestation of our love for him. How? We want him to continue with the feeling of being close to a mother’s arms 24/7. So even though at times we have to leave him in his crib to do other things, the warmth is still there.
Now, we are tasked to free him of a swaddle, the process may take some time, but since this is an act of love, surely it will go smoothly and with a lot of ease.