I have found that swaddling is one of the best things you can do to settle a fussy baby up to around 4 months old.
It doesn’t work for everyone, but in my experience most people give up too soon, thinking that their baby “doesn’t like swaddling”. I believe that in most cases, babies that seem to not like swaddling have actually gotten overstimulated and just need a chance to settle down into the swaddle (along with other soothing methods, like the 5 Ss – post on that coming soon!).
Do’s and Don’ts of Swaddling
DO try different swaddles and techniques before giving up. There are so many out there it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but just pick a couple to start with, watch a couple of YouTube videos on the methods, and then practice. A lot of times, daddies are better at swaddling than mommies!
DO put baby to sleep on her back. As long as a baby is in a swaddle, they need to be placed on their back because the swaddle will prevent them from rolling over, even if they can roll over without the swaddle.
DO try again if it doesn’t work the first (or second) time.
DON’T pull baby’s legs straight or force their joints, as this could cause hip dysplasia.
DON’T swaddle babies who can roll over, are at a higher risk of SIDS, or are in a hot environment.
DON’T swaddle while co-sleeping.
DON’T force it. If you’ve tried everything and baby still hates it, it’s ok. It’s rare, but some babies truly can’t stand a swaddle.
There are many, many swaddling products on the market! Some people love to just use a large muslin swaddling blanket. Others prefer something with a simpler technique – one that zips or velcros. If you have a friend or family member that has recently had a baby, perhaps that would let you borrow whatever kind they have so that you can test it out before purchasing. Whichever way you end up going, just remember – try, try again! 🙂