If you need to get your baby to sleep better – wrapping may really help!
Some babies love being wrapped or swaddled before being put in bed – others don’t like it but they soon get their message across!
- Wrapping helps babies feel secure, like being back in the confined space of the womb
- It stops their random arm movements which can wake them up
- Helps to set up a sleep cue – baby will know it is time for bed when they get wrapped up
- Keeps them on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS.
When do I stop wrapping?
It is recommended that you stop wrapping your baby when they show signs of being able to roll onto their tummy (this may be noticed when they are playing on the floor).
As soon as they can roll onto their tummy it is no longer safe to wrap them – as they can’t use their arms to lift their head off the mattress.
This usually happens around 4-5 months of age but each baby will achieve this milestone at their own pace.
What’s the best way to wrap?
If you are wondering what is the best way to wrap your little one, the best answer is ‘the way you find works well for you and your baby.’
All babies are different – some like to be snuggled right up, some like the freedom to suck their thumb, and some like their legs free (presumably so that they can kick all of their blankets off and give you something to do at 2am).
Today we look at three different ways that you can wrap your baby, so find what works for you.
Rectangular cotton cloth / muslin wrap
Follow these steps for a simple method of wrapping:
1. Lay the wrap out width ways, and fold the top down around 20cm to make a strip across the top.
2. Place baby in the centre with their head out the top, ensuring their shoulders are placed on the folded down strip.
3. Tuck one of baby’s arms and hands under the folded strip and then bring this across to the other side of her body, tucking the piece of material under her bottom and legs.
4. Repeat with the other side, tucking the material under her back.
5. Fold the bottom part of material under her feet, ensuring she can stretch her legs fully.
Babies can still suck their thumb if they are wrapped
Some babies prefer to be able to suck their thumb or gnaw on their hands as they find this soothing. If this is the case you can wrap them in the same way but keep the wrap loose enough for them to wriggle their hands up to their mouth.
When they are a little older you can also just wrap their body and legs but leave their arms out completely.
Some babies prefer to have their legs free to kick about – so you can just omit the final step and leave the cloth hanging loose on their legs.
Some babies are little Houdinis and will find a way to bust out of any wrap. For these infants (or for parents that just can’t handle the baby origami of a muslin wrap), it can be useful to use a swaddle bag.
These are a soft fitted suit with a zip that allows the baby to have the feeling of being swaddled, but is easy for an adult to slip them into and zip up.
For instance swaddles like the Love to Dream swaddles allow baby to be fully wrapped but their arms are positioned up (not against their body) which emulates a natural sleeping position.
It also means they can chew their hand if this is comforting for them.
Other swaddles (like the Ergo Cocoon) have the option for baby to have their arms within the swaddle or out.
There are loads of good brands available – if you can, try to borrow some from a friend to test out different brands before you buy some.
It’s a good idea to have a few of these, so that you can wash them as needed.
Some babies like the comfort of being wrapped and warm, but they like their arms to be free and have plenty of room for kicking their legs.
This is where sleeping bags can be really useful, especially once bub is a little bigger (around 4 months).
You can get sleeping bags of different thicknesses, so choose one that is the right size and most suitable for your climate.
And for tips for a baby sleeping expert on how to get your baby to sleep – click here
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