January 22, 2020 by venturestream
From feeding and changing to swaddling and bedtime routines, bringing your baby into this world can be a wonderful but challenging experience. However, as new parents, we can often be left wondering what is the “right” way to do things, and trying to understand what’s best for your baby can be a constant (yet rewarding!) battle.
In this blog, here at Direct4Baby, we address one of these challenges and explore the differences between baby swaddle blankets and baby sleeping bags to help you consider which is the best sleep method to invest in for your little bundle of joy, so everyone can have a peaceful and restful night’s sleep.
What are swaddle wraps?
Swaddle wraps have been around for centuries and swaddling is the practice of wrapping a young baby in a blanket or cloth, using one of three special techniques to ensure they’re both cosy and comfortable.
Swaddling is so popular for many babies as it is said to replicate the feeling of being in the womb, making them feel secure as they adjust to life in the outside world. There are many different kinds of swaddle wraps but “The Simple Swaddle” wrap is the most popular, it is quick and easy to do and will keep your baby tucked in for warmth and to prevent scratching and rolling over.
Keep reading our guide to swaddling at Direct4Baby, for a step-by-step of the ‘simple swaddle’:
The Simple Swaddle
Step 1: Place a large square-shaped muslin flat and fold one corner approximately a hand length downwards.
Step 2: Put your baby gently on top of the cloth with the top of the fold just above their neckline. Then put their left arm down by their side and take the left side of the cloth across their body and tuck underneath them.
Step 3: Repeat the same process on the right-hand side of the baby.
Step 4: Fold the bottom of the cloth upwards and either tuck in the top or tuck each side underneath baby depending on choice.
This type of wrap can be used from birth and once a baby is a little bigger and has begun to develop their motor skills. Many newborn babies experience flailing limbs resulting in them waking themselves up from any sudden leg and arm movements. The simple wrap is designed to ensure baby’s hands are neatly tucked away to reduce any sudden movements, to prevent disturbances during sleep.
How long should you swaddle a baby for?
Typically, swaddling your baby lasts till they’re around the 3-6 months mark, with 4 months being the average age you could stop swaddling your baby.
You can tell if your baby is ready to stop the swaddling process if they begin to wriggle out and try to take their arms out of the wrap. During this period, you should start wrapping your baby with one arm out of the swaddle and if they continue to sleep well like this for a few nights, you can work towards gradually phasing out the swaddling technique completely.
However, it’s important to know that this time frame does differ and no two babies sleeping habits are the same, it’s recommended practice to simply use your maternal instincts as no one knows your baby more than yourself.
Can a swaddle be too tight?
It’s important to make sure you haven’t swaddled your baby too tight, if the baby is swaddled too tight around the chest area this may lead to them not having enough room to breathe freely. The key is to secure the swaddle so that the baby still has some range of movement within the swaddle, but tight enough so that they couldn’t remove their arms by themselves.
To tell if your baby is swaddled too tightly, you can simply place two fingers between the baby’s chest and the swaddle fabric. If your fingers fit comfortably with just enough room between their chest and the swaddle, it indicates the baby is swaddled correctly.
What is a baby sleeping bag?
Some parents can find swaddling tough to get the hang of with a tiny baby and so sleeping bags were designed as a simple solution to swaddling. Swaddle bags replicate the same tight comfort that a swaddle wrap provides. In a baby sleeping bag, your baby will feel snugly in the softest materials with again, their arms tucked away.
A baby sleeping bag has a zip too, so you simply pop your little one inside the sleeping bag and then zip it up. This type of sleeping bag allows you to keep their arms inside or out, depending on what your little one prefers and what stage they are at.
Baby sleeping bags are available in various sizes and can be used from newborn right up to 3 years. You can start your newborn in a sleeping bag right away, or if you’d prefer to use the traditional swaddling technique, transfer them to a sleeping bag appropriate for their age once they’re past the stage of swaddling. Baby sleeping bags are designed to mimic swaddling and so can withstand reflexes and outburst movements to keep your baby cosy and safe.
Are sleeping bags suitable for newborns?
Sleeping bags are suitable for newborns and you can get specially designed “newborn” sleeping bags. While baby sleeping bags can be used across a wide age range, it is very important to ensure that you have the right-sized sleeping bag for your baby’s size and age as this ensures that your baby is safe from potential hazards such as suffocation. A baby sleeping bag keeps your baby tight and cosy, but with enough room for them to move about within the bag.
There’s one thing that the majority of parents can agree on and that is anything that can help their child sleep peacefully, cosily and safely is definitely worth a try.
Today, the debate between baby sleeping bags and swaddle wraps can make the decision of choosing which is best for your child complicated. Both are perfectly suitable ways to help your little one get their well-needed rest and so the key is in trial and error to gain an understanding of which method is best for your baby to get a good night’s sleep.