The benefits of swaddling.
Your baby is a little agitated, he has difficulty falling asleep? And when he is not in your arms you have the impression that he is not very serene that he has small jolts, his eyes a little panicked... Why not try swaddling? Elise, a childcare nurse, explains exactly what it is all about. But also what the benefits are and what to look out for.
What is this all about?
It is the fact of putting your newborn baby in a physiological position, grouped together, to give him a feeling of contentment. A sensation that the baby already knows because in his mother's womb, he was huddled in the uterine walls. Thus the newborn was able to become aware of his body and the space in which he stayed for 9 months.
At birth, the baby will lose all these landmarks and discover new sensations such as attraction, emptiness... So when he is swaddled, he finds familiar and therefore reassuring sensations.
How do I know that my child needs to be swaddled?
You must have already spotted those moments when you feel like your newborn is panicking. When he jumps, his arms and hands move apart all at once. It's a bit like that feeling you get when you sleep and feel like you're falling into a void. We call it the Moro reflex. Do you see this spasm in your arms and hands? In his belly he is one with you, while outside he feels fragmented, he is psychically lost. At that moment, his eyes are anguished, he spreads his arms and hands to have maximum contact with the ground. He's looking for support. Offering swaddling to your baby means giving him back his resources, this known position. He will be reassured, more serene.
What are the best times to swaddle?
In your daily life, swaddling is not very common in Western practices. However, it can be offered to the newborn in many circumstances.
When your baby feels a loss of reference points, if he doesn't like being undressed because of the cold for example or during the bath (we will then talk about a wrapped bath). There is also this often dreaded moment, from nose cleaning to saline solution where swaddling can help! This practice is really effective. If the moment of the change seems to you a complicated moment, that he does not appreciate, be enveloping with him, it can be done thanks to a diaper but also thanks to your words, your gestures, do not touch him, touch him, speak to him. I also recommend it when weighing at the PMI, at the paediatrician's, during the vaccination... if you feel your baby is worried, do not hesitate, in the presence of the professional, to contain your baby.
Finally at the time of falling asleep: It is certain that the swaddling technique can help to put a baby to sleep, it will be soothed and let go.
From what age can you offer swaddling to your child and until when?
We can start from birth. Then, from three months of age, voluntary motor skills will take over from reflex motor skills. Your baby will become aware of his body, he may need to be contained less often.
Some babies may not like it?
It seems that all children enjoy being swaddled, so if your child does not like this technique, you should observe it and look for any other need to satisfy.
Are there any safety rules to follow?
Yes, be careful! It is imperative to be VIGILANT, to offer swaddling to your baby only for naps during the day, always under your supervision. So not at night. If you put your baby to sleep with this technique and you have to leave the room, you can also simply remove the diaper and let him sleep safely.
But if I do that, my baby will wake up, right?
Everything depends on observing her baby. Just look at it carefully, you will notice THE moment when your baby really let go and you will see that it is quite possible. You have to trust yourself, give yourself time to catch the thing and accept to be wrong, that's how you get to know your child better, to decipher his reactions.
The advice of Élise, a childcare nurse:
In the interest of the child, I recommend swaddling with hands-free. The newborn is in an oral phase, his mouth is his reference organ. The possibility of putting his hands to his mouth will allow the baby to refocus, to reassure himself. Already in your belly he was sucking. It is therefore important to give him free access to his mouth.
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