Babies have been wrapped in swaddling clothes in many cultures, since before recorded history. This method of wrapping babies up has been practiced on literally every corner of the globe. And, like so many practices that seem to be universal, there’s a good reason for it. Namely, babies take comfort from being snuggly wrapped. In addition to giving them warmth, they garner a sense of security from the feeling of being held tight in the surrounding blankets.
Consider this: before your baby was born, she spent her entire existence in a very tight fitting little compartment where her every little need was automatically met. She was fed automatically, she was kept warm automatically. And, she was held snuggly in place by the warm embryonic fluids that surrounded her.
Perhaps the reason none of us can remember being born in that it must be a rather traumatic experience. From the baby’s perspective, everything was warm and secure, completely predictable. And then, all of a sudden, she is thrust into a world where everything is often bright, sometimes loud, constantly changing, and not at all snug, warm, and moist like being inside mom’s tummy.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the whole experience is bad for your baby. Obviously, even young babies enjoy seeing new things, and reveling in the new sights, sounds, and smells around them. But that being said, this new world is very unpredictable, and at times disconcerting, especially when baby is trying to sleep.
Swaddling your infant snugly helps him to feel safe and secure. The feeling of the swaddling blankets bundling him securely replicates the feeling of being held snugly in the womb. And that can help him relax and even fall asleep.
To swaddle your baby, simply lay a receiving blanket down in the shape of a diamond, and fold one corner down. Lay baby down on the blanket so that her head is over the top of the folded corner. You don’t want to cover baby’s head with the swaddling blankets. Next, fold one side of the blanket over, tucking it underneath baby so that it is snug but not overly tight. Then, fold the other end over securely. Voila, you are ready to cuddle your swaddled baby, or lay her down to sleep.