Swaddling, a history and a future
Thursday, 8 August 2013 | Mummy and Little Me
"Mother Goose rhymed about it. Hippocrates taught it to his students. It helped a tiny tot in a Bethlehem manger get his first night of sleep."
You've probably heard of "swaddling" - but what actually is it? And why should you be doing this with your baby? It's an ancient & traditional method of wrapping baby up for sleep that has gone through somewhat of a revival of late. Reason is - it's proven to help baby get to sleep, stay asleep (hurrah!) and, importantly, be safer when they are sleeping.
Yes - exactly - why would you not want to swaddle?!
The theory behind it is that when swaddled, baby feels safe & secure as they were in the womb. Often it's what your midwife will do straight after baby is born, and if you carry on, baby gets used to this snug feeling & immediately feels calmer. The time you spend swaddling also becomes a lovely bonding time between you & baby, and the routine of swaddling before sleep helps baby settle quickly.
But fear not - the act of swaddling is not as complicated as you might think. It's just a series of tucks & folds around baby, traditionally using a large square of material.
Aden & Anais who we have been stocking for over 3 years, in fact we were their first Indpendent stockist are passionate about the benefits of swaddling - they've created a whole range of products with fun, funky prints, from sleeping bags to bibs & comfort blankets, and of course, swaddles.
Aden & Anais swaddles are extra large which makes it much easier to swaddle and are also ideal for the growing baby. The properties of the cotton muslin fabric means it has a natural stretch, allowing you to create a nice secure swaddle without being overly restrictive.
Cotton muslin is also naturally breathable, so it will help keep baby cool in the summer & warm in the winter.
We aren't the only ones who are fans of this swaddling brand - it has the Royal Seal of approval from Kate and Wills who chose Aden & Anais to swaddle their newborn, Prince George, in the birdie print from this pack of four swaddles called 'Jungle Jam'.
Kate notoriously doesn't accept gifts from companies trying to get in her favour, so it speaks volumes when she chooses products by their own merit. Aden & Anais founder Moya-Jones reportedly only discovered Kate's choice after seeing the photos in the press like the rest of us!
And with their Aden & Anais muslins, the Royal couple aren't limited to simply swaddling - these products are extremely versatile; use the swaddles as a nursing cover / stroller shade / burp cloth; not to mention durable - they get better with every wash. Which is why their pack of four are ideal - you'll always have one to hand for every use!
However if you want to specifically swaddle baby, take a look at the swaddles available from Merino Kids.
They have simplified swaddling by creating their Cocooi, which is lovely soft Merino material, shaped specifically to pop baby straight in to swaddle. Teamed with Merino being a naturally breathable fabric that won't allow baby to overheat, this makes an ideal choice for first-time swaddlers, along with Groswaddles by the Gro Company.
Whichever type of swaddle you choose to use, your baby will soon associate the fabric on their skin plus the act of swaddling them as a sleep trigger.
A night of uninterrupted sleep might sound heavenly for you, but for infants it's just as important, as much of their early brain development occurs during sleep.
Babies have a startle reflex, which is entirely natural, however does wake them (and you!) up from what could otherwise be a long sleep. A firm swaddle gently inhibits this, as well as reducing other factors that may wake them such as kicking off loose blankets and becoming too cold. Additionally, correct swaddling has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Swaddling is ideal from birth, but as baby develops, they may prefer a different method of swaddle which allows them to self-soothe by bringing their hands to their mouth. In time, they may naturally outgrow swaddling - they will let you know themselves, by an extended struggle and wriggling when trying to swaddle them! At this stage, sleeping bags such as Aden & Anais Cozy Slumber or Merino Kids Go-Go Bags provide a natural progression as they allow more room but are still a safe and secure sleeping environment.
Come to Mummy & Little Me for all your swaddling needs.