All pros and cons of swaddling a newborn – types of swaddling, rules

The question “to swaddle or not to swaddle?” gets up in front of every modern mom in the very first hours after giving birth. It was in Soviet times that no one asked mothers about this, and newborn toddlers were brought to the ward on a long gurney with tightly swaddled “worms”? and with open mouths. And today mothers “leave” from the maternity ward directly with the babies (in most cases) and, having barely jumped off the gurney, independently begin the process of swaddling or pulling on sliders.

See also: Harm and benefits of a pacifier – does a newborn need a pacifier?

Is it worth swaddling – that is the question! Understanding …

Free baby swaddling

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Types of swaddling – how can you swaddle your baby

There are 4 known methods for swaddling a newborn baby:

  • Tight. The baby is swaddled “hand and foot”, stretching his legs and arms along the body to limit movement as much as possible. Specialists (their bulk) do not welcome the method.
  • Free. In this case, only the legs are swaddled (not tight), the handles are left free. Or they “pack” the baby in a spacious envelope. A gentle option for the comfort of the child and prevention of the appearance of hip dysplasia.
  • Wide. The method is used for problems of an orthopedic nature in a child or for violations of muscle tone. The pose is natural for the child – bent legs. Between them – a diaper or special panties. Further – either tight or loose swaddling.
  • Natural. That is, no diapers – just sliders and undershirts for complete freedom of the little gnome.


Pros and cons of swaddling a newborn tightly – should a baby swaddle tightly?

The dangers of swaddling are now being talked about more and more often. Despite the Russian traditions of swaddling a baby to “mitigate the stress of labor”, modern mothers doubt the correctness of the method


And there is reason for doubt.

Disadvantages and consequences of tight swaddling, according to scientific medicine:

  • Inhibition of the development of the motor functions of the baby.
  • The risk of developing hip dysplasia.
  • Violation of blood circulation and compression of the lungs.
  • Overheating and decreased immunity.
  • Deterioration of the baby’s sleep and well-being due to a violation of his usual physiological posture (embryo posture).
  • Psychological consequences: passivity and weakness in the future. Tight swaddling is a kind of “plug” for the instinct of freedom.
  • Difficulties in the further development of speech functions.
  • Lack of tactile sensations (one of the most important sensory channels responsible for the psychological sensitivity of the child in the future).
  • Weakening of muscles, joints and ligaments due to poor functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, slow development of the lungs and heart, slowing metabolism and poor circulation.
  • Higher risk of developing pneumonia or sudden death syndrome.
  • Overloaded nervous system. During sleep, with limited movement, the brain has difficulty processing all the information that was received during the day.
  • The same position throughout the night does not benefit the health of the baby. It’s good if the mother turns the baby over every hour and a half – then on one barrel, then on the other. And if not? Try spending the entire night wrapped tightly in a sheet on one side. What can we say about the situation when the baby sleeps on its back all night, unable to move: after spitting up milk, it can simply choke.

4 Myths about tight swaddling of a newborn:

  • “The method will help straighten the legs.” Unfortunately no. Will not help. And the curvature of the legs, by the way, is caused by vitamin D deficiencies and rickets.
  • “The baby is warm in the diaper, and the risk of getting sick is lower.” Vice versa. With tight swaddling, adaptation to temperature changes is difficult, and in winter, overheating occurs. As a result, instead of hardening – anti-hardening.


  • “It’s more comfortable for a baby in a diaper.” This is what mom thinks when the tightly swaddled baby finally falls asleep. In fact, the baby falls asleep, “surrendering” – unable to resist her mother’s insistence. And the natural posture for him is the posture of the embryo. That is, free movement of arms and legs.
  • “The tighter you swaddle, the better you will sleep.” The issue is controversial and individual. Most children are just trying to escape from the captivity of the diaper in order to suck a finger or at least move. See also: Why does the baby sleep badly at night?
  • “The kid wakes himself up at night with his hands, if he is not swaddled.” A tightly swaddled baby wakes up during the night even more often than with a loose swaddle. Because it gets tired of one pose.
  • “The child is scratching himself.” If you cut your nails correctly, you don’t have to worry about this problem. As a last resort, you can always buy “scratches”.


And what does the other part of experts say in favor of tight swaddling?

  • Thanks to tight swaddling, the deep sleep phase increases.
  • In a diaper cocoon, the child calms down faster (this plus, rather, for the mother).
  • Diapers are cheaper than rompers and undershirts.
  • Swaddling saves when teeth are teething.
  • It is easier to transfer a tightly swaddled baby to the crib from mom’s sofa without waking him up.

With the exception of the first point, all the “pluses” of tight swaddling boil down to the mother’s peace of mind and saving money, effort and time.

Benefits of free swaddling for a newborn baby

Of all kinds of swaddling it is free that is recommended by pediatricians today… For the possibility of free movement of arms and legs with a warm “shell” of the diaper, providing “intrauterine” conditions.

See also: Types of diapers – which diapers for newborns are best?


What is the use of such swaddling?

  • Comfort for the child and the ability to take a natural posture while sleeping. The space is clearly limited, but without the “straitjacket” effect of tight swaddling – the baby is calm internally and physically comfortable.
  • Tactile sensations. The child can feel the tissues of the diaper with both arms and legs. Which contributes to the development of touch.
  • The baby can sleep on its side and even on the tummy.
  • The child develops correctly (fine motor skills, tactile sensations, etc.).
  • The kid starts to walk earlier.
  • There is less inflammation and irritation on the baby’s skin, thanks to free air circulation and maintaining a normal temperature inside the diaper, without overheating and greenhouse effect.
  • The lungs are working at full capacity, blood circulation is not disturbed, the blood is fully saturated with oxygen.
  • Free swaddling is the first stage of hardening and, accordingly, strengthening the immune system.


Technique of free swaddling of a newborn, video – when and how to swaddle a baby?

You can swaddle your baby using a free method in any situation that allows this possibility: at night, in the summer for a walk, in the winter – in an envelope, when feeding, etc.

From 2-3 months the baby can already be swaddled only during a night’s sleep.

Free baby swaddling

The technique of free swaddling crumbs is simple:

  • Put on a baby’s undershirt in accordance with room temperature + a diaper.
  • Lay the baby on top of the diaper (the upper edge of the diaper is at the level of the waist) so that the handles remain “free” when changing.
  • Wrap the baby, first tucking the left, then the right edge of the diaper under the baby.
  • Gently straighten the bottom edge of the diaper so that there are no folds, and wrap the crumbs over the legs. Tuck the lateral ends of the diaper on the sides or behind the baby’s back.

What you need to remember about the rules of free swaddling – note for mothers:

  • If the room is warm, then a thin undershirt is enough. You can also take a thin diaper.
  • The most comfortable diapers are knitted. They create a comfortable microclimate for the baby, allow air to pass through, leave space for movement and are most conveniently fixed.
  • Instead of a diaper, you can use a thin fabric envelope – “sleeping bag” for the baby.

Video: free swaddling of a newborn baby.

How do you feel about changing newborns? Share your experience in the comments below!

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