Is swaddling necessary for a successful naptime?
When it comes to infants and sleep, new parents have lots of questions, and swaddling is often at the top of their list. It's important to understand what swaddling is and when and why it's recommended. Swaddling is wrapping your baby up in a light, breathable blanket (or swaddle band such as the one built-in to our Dream Weighted Swaddle) to help your baby feel snug and secure. A safely swaddled baby has their body wrapped, like a little burrito, but leaving their neck and head exposed. The idea is that swaddling mimics a womb-like environment and helps your little one settle down more quickly and sleep for more extended periods.
One of the main reasons to swaddle is due to what's called the startle reflex, an involuntary motor response that infants develop shortly after birth. When a baby is swaddled, their arms and legs are contained, and it is less likely they'll "startle" themselves awake. So, now that you know the purpose behind swaddling, the question is, when should you swaddle, and how can you do it successfully?
Should newborns be swaddled during naps?
As mentioned, most newborns are calmer if they are swaddled. That's why swaddling your little one for added comfort during naptime makes sense. Swaddling also creates a positive sleep association, meaning when you wrap your baby, they instinctively associate that feeling with going to bed and can drift off to sleep in a secure and safe way. It's also important to remember that swaddled babies should always be placed on their backs to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) safe sleep guidelines recommend a firm mattress and removing any stuffed animals or blankets from your crib before putting your little one to bed – as bare is always best when it comes to SIDS prevention.
Can you swaddle during naps but not at night?
When you decide to swaddle your baby is entirely up to you. But, in order to create a consistent sleep routine and ensure that your baby starts understanding sleep cues, it’s recommended to swaddle at naptime and nighttime. Many experts suggest making swaddling part of a routine that includes bath time, feeding, changing, snuggling, swaddling, and sleeping! Swaddling can also help babies stay asleep during their nighttime feeding and diaper changes. Our Dream Weighted Swaddle is designed with a dual zipper so baby can stay comfortably swaddled during a late-night diaper change.
When should I stop swaddling my baby for naps?
When to stop swaddling your baby is a common question, and the answer comes down to safety. You should stop swaddling your baby for naps and at nighttime before they can begin to roll over. The AAP advises parents and caregivers to stop swaddling their babies when they are around two months or when they show signs of rolling over, whichever comes first. This may sound disheartening to parents who've come to rely on the swaddle to help their baby sleep. But the good news is there are lots of safe alternatives that mimic the feeling of the swaddle. First of all, you can try a multi-use swaddle like The Dreamland Baby Dream Swaddle. This swaddle is designed so baby can use it with both arms in (full swaddle), one arm out, or two arms out. This versatility allows your little one to slowly wean themselves from a full swaddle. Also, once you discontinue swaddling, you can continue to use the Dream Weighted Swaddle as a more traditional sleep sack with both arms out, allowing baby freedom of movement. You can also try the Dream Transition Swaddle (coming June 2022). The Transition Swaddle is specifically designed to bridge the gap between a full swaddle and a sleep sack by allowing babies the freedom to move their arms and legs while still providing a snug, secure, and cozy fit. Remember, the gentle weight of our sleep sacks also helps babies transition from a full swaddle as they still enjoy the comfort from the deep touch stimulation that the sleep sacks provide.
What should a baby wear to daytime naps?
Once again, safety is the number one consideration when it comes to what a baby should wear during daytime naps. Snug-fitting pajamas and sleep sacks are the best choices. These items may help reduce the risk of suffocation or SIDS. You want to stay away from loose clothing that could accidentally move over your baby's face while they are sleeping. Comfort is also an important consideration. You'll want your baby in soft, 100% cotton PJs, such as our Dream Pajamas, that are comfortable against baby's delicate skin and have a dual zipper for fuss-free diaper changes. Finally, room temperature may impact what your baby wears during daytime naps. You'll want to keep in mind that the room temperature should be between 68 to 72 degrees. Babies are more sensitive to temperature, so monitor the room temp to avoid the risk of overheating. Also, pay attention to TOG (Thermal Overall Grade). This rating lets you know how warm a garment is, and sleep sacks typically range from 0.5-to 3.5. The Dream Sleep Sacks have a 1.2 TOG rating, meaning they can be worn year-round. (Coming soon: our Dream Sleep Sack 2.5 TOG – perfect for baby to wear during the colder winter months.)
Is it okay to swaddle a baby during the day?
When it comes to swaddling, you'll want to "save" it for naptime and nighttime. While you might be tempted to swaddle your little one during the day, it's best to wait until you're ready to put them down for a nap or the night. In this way, you are signaling it's sleep time. Also, a baby is rapidly developing motor skills, and a swaddle can restrict mobility. During the day, you'll want them to have free movement for eating and playing. Then once nap time arrives, they'll associate the calming comfort of the swaddle as the cue to relax and fall asleep.
How many naps should newborns take?
Newborns sleep a lot, and to the dismay of many new parents, not always at night! But, remember, infants from 0-3 months need about three to five naps a day or more. Many parents think if they keep their baby awake during the day, they'll sleep through the night, but that's not the case. During the first few months, your newborn needs daytime sleep to support their overall health and development. Once they hit the 4-month mark, naps can go down to 2 to 3 a day.
How many hours should a newborn nap?
Now that your baby is swaddled and ready for their nap, the question is, how many hours should they sleep? Nap times vary a lot from baby to baby, and while some can nap for two to three hours at a time, others sleep as little as 30 minutes. It's important to remember that successful sleep, for most babies, requires developing a routine. It's important to be aware of signs that your baby is getting sleepy, such as rubbing the eyes or crankiness. When you start seeing these signals, putting your baby down for a nap will help them get the sleep they need.
What are the keys to a successful nap time?
The essential tip for nap time to be successful is routine! You'll want the baby to learn the signals that it's time to sleep. This can include swaddling, putting on their weighted sleep sack, and using white noise and black-out shades. This creates the "nap environment" that can help baby feel calm and potentially sleep longer. You'll also want to line up your feeding schedule with naps and if the baby does wake early from a nap, allow them some time to self-soothe.
As with all things, baby, remember that patience is key. You will get comfortable with the do's and don'ts of swaddling and reacting to your baby's sleep cues. Your baby goes through so many changes in the first few months but starting with a regular swaddle/sleep routine will help set them (and you!) up for sleep success.