What Is A Swaddle?

When it comes to that baby burrito look, it can be called many things, the first of which is adorable! Some people call it a swaddle, others a swaddle wrap, and to many, it’s simply known as swaddling. But what is swaddling and why do we do it? Keep on reading to find out why swaddling is an important tool in that time of life known as the fourth trimester.

What is a swaddle & what is swaddling a baby?

A swaddle is meant to soothe your newborn infant by wrapping them up in a thin blanket – often referred to as a swaddle blanket. Swaddling means wrapping the baby up in the swaddle - to resemble the feeling of being in the womb where baby was nice and snuggly in the earliest stages of development. This tight feeling helps calm a crying baby and is also helpful in getting baby to sleep.

When do you swaddle a newborn?

Swaddling often times begins in the hospital with your newborn baby. This helps soothe her and reminds her of what it was like inside the womb. The first few months of life are often referred to as the fourth trimester, which is the time it takes for baby to adjust to life outside of the womb.

The purpose of swaddling a baby is to give them a sense of safety and comfort. While swaddling has lots of benefits, many experts suggest that by the time your baby reaches around 1 month, it’s a good idea to limit swaddling to naps and nighttime sleep only. That’s because you don’t want to limit baby’s mobility during waking hours. Using her hands and feet to experience the world is an important part of her development.

How many hours should a newborn be swaddled?

Newborns can be swaddled anywhere from 12-20 hours a day but when she reaches one month, it’s a good idea to only use the swaddle for sleep. That’s because it’s important for her to stretch and move her little arms and legs to and use her hands and feet for fun things like kicking and reaching!

Do you have to swaddle a newborn?

Some parents find that swaddling their baby is the only thing that works when it comes to soothing their newborn. That’s because swaddling offers that snug feeling that baby is used to from life inside the womb. Some parents even find that their baby sleeps better when swaddled, and for longer stretches, too. Swaddling also helps to prevent flailing arms and legs (known as the Moro reflex) that can cause baby to startle, sometimes waking them from a deep sleep.

If however, your baby just doesn’t take to swaddling, and/or seems even fussier and distressed when swaddled, then it might be worth considering the Dreamland Baby weighted swaddle or sleep sack. Designed in collaboration with pediatricians, NICU nurses and Certified Sleep consultants, the gentle weight naturally reduces stress and increases relaxation through deep-pressure stimulation to give your baby feelings of security and comfort. It also has a two-way zipper for easy diaper changes which comes in handy for those frequent, middle of the night changes.

What is a receiving blanket vs swaddle blanket?

Back in the day, receiving blankets were a thing. These days, there’s isn’t a big difference between receiving blankets and swaddle blankets. Swaddle blankets are usually made of a thin material like 100% cotton, linen or muslin, whereas more traditional blankets may be heavier and made of a thicker material like flannel.

While swaddles are good for wrapping up your baby for a variety of benefits, it’s important to note that anything other than baby in a swaddle or sleep sack can pose a safety risk when it comes to baby sleep. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that “bare is best.”  This means that soft bedding such as blankets, pillows and soft toys should be kept out of the baby's sleep space to avoid accidental suffocation, the leading cause of SIDS.  Further, baby should only ever be put to sleep on his back until she’s at least 1 year and/or can roll over on her own.

What is the difference between a swaddle and a sleep sack?

A swaddle is a large blanket, typically made of light material, that is used to wrap up - or swaddle - your baby nice and tight. That tight feeling of swaddling is meant to mimic life inside the womb. It’s believed that swaddling helps baby feel comfortable, safe and secure and is typically used from birth to three months.

A sleep sack is a wearable blanket that keeps your infant safe, warm, and comfortable.  Sleep sacks are good for newborns through toddlerhood. Using sleep sacks are the safest way for baby to sleep, keeping in mind that loose blankets can pose a risk of suffocation until baby is at least one year old and/or can push aside anything that may be blocking her nose or mouth.

Why are swaddles important?

Swaddling is important as it helps baby transition to life outside of the womb. 

Swaddling also helps to calm a colicky baby and can help a baby learn to self-soothe as it mimics the feeling of being held. Swaddling helps with sleep, especially for newborns, and if your baby is sleeping better, chances are you will be, too.

What are Swaddles used for?

Swaddles come in a variety of styles and many brands are sold with several in a package. This is great to have extras on hand and also to use for things like a nursing cover and to block the sun from baby when in the stroller or a carrier. When it comes to using as a swaddle, ease of use can’t be underestimated! We have found that when things are stressful for parents, they are stressful for everyone – including your newborn. While some parents get the hang of swaddling their baby burrito in no time, for others it’s more challenging.

The Dreamland Baby Weighted Sleep Swaddle is easy to use and can be worn as a weighted baby swaddle or sleep sack. It has a two-way zipper for easy diaper changes. Like traditional swaddle blankets, the Dreamland Baby Weighted Sleep Swaddle helps to ease the transition to life outside of the womb.

Dream Weighted Sleep Swaddle, 0-6 months