Swaddling is a term used when mothers snugly wrap their newborns with a blanket to provide the feeling of warmth and security. These aids especially if the baby is difficult to put to sleep. Baby swaddling has been very useful for a lot of mothers and archeological findings also records that mothers swaddled their babies throughout history.
Research also showed that swaddling your baby helps reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) since it keeps your baby sleeping comfortably on his back.
How to Swaddle your Baby
Before swaddling your baby, make sure that room temperature is not too warm as this will make your baby uncomfortable. Or you may use a thin, soft piece of cloth for swaddling during warm weather.
Lay a blanket out on any flat surface, a bed or probably a table, in a diamond shape. Then, fold down three to four (3-4) inches on the top corner of the diamond.
Place your baby in the middle of the blanket, her head on top of the folded corner. Then, tuck your baby’s right arm into the flap of the right-hand part of the blanket and pull it to the left.
Next, bring the bottom corner of the blanket to her chest and tuck it inside the blanket. Then tuck your baby’s left arm into the flap of the left-hand part blanket and pull it to the right tucking it behind the blanket on her back. Make sure that the wrap is not too tight.
There are many commercial swaddling blankets available but if you are a resourceful mom, you may be also use a clean beach towel or tablecloth for swaddling.
When to Stop Swaddling your Baby
Some babies tend to be fussy when being swaddled when they reach the age of one to two months. When you see signs that this makes your baby uncomfortable, you may now stop swaddling.
Mothers should also note that they should only swaddle babies during sleep and not during the baby’s playtime. This limits his or her movements and may delay the development of motor skills.
Stop swaddling once the baby learns how to roll over. If the baby is swaddled, and he rolls over with his arms tucked on the sides, he may not be able to roll back up and may suffer suffocation.
Alternatively, you can find ways to keep the baby warm and secure other than swaddling like warm pajamas, fleece sleepers, and blanket sleepers.
Freelance Contributor: Hazel Zanoria
If you’re a parent who experiences stress, exhaustion and less sleep at night because your baby is difficult to put to bed or wakes up at a seemingly unpredictable hour, then baby sleep training is for you.
Sleep training is also known as “sleep scheduling”. This is the application of techniques to establish and manage your baby’s sleep habits. There are many suggested methods of baby sleep training and, through the years, have been subject to continuous debate whether one is better than the other. Each method is usually distinguished based on how involved the parents are in the sleep process.
The two most popular methods of sleep scheduling are the Ferber method (Cry-It-Out Method) and the Sears Method (No-Tears Method). Before deciding any sleep training for your child, there are a number of factors to be examined and considered.
Important Considerations before Deciding on a Sleep Training Method
Your child must be somewhere between three to six months of age. Experts say that babies within this age range have often developed regular sleeping habits and are ready for sleep training. Do not try to impose sleep training on infants below this age since they require regular feeding, usually every few hours, so it is healthy that they should wake at every few hours.
Make sure your child has not developed a conditioned fear of being left-alone to avoid a traumatic experience that would affect his development. Also seek medical affirmation that your baby is free from any health problems that cause sleep interference.
Understand the sleep training approaches and how they are properly applied. Decide on which approach you are most comfortable with and you feel is most fitting to your child’s temperament and personality. Be consistent on your chosen approach until you think the sleep training method does not work for your baby and it’s time to move on to other alternatives.
The Ferber Method or the “Cry-It-Out” Method
The Ferber Method was developed by Dr. Richard Ferber, director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at the Children’s Hospital in Boston.
This method advocates that it is okay to leave your baby to cry for prescribed periods of time so he will learn to soothe himself to sleep. This does not involve leaving your child to cry endlessly. You have to check on him at certain intervals.
How to Effectively Apply the Ferber Method
Decide on a week and the particular early evening hour to start sleep training your baby. Suggested hours are around 7 to 8 in the evening. It is found that the earlier you put your baby to sleep, the longer he or she will sleep during the night. The following steps will guide you in the proper application of the Ferber method of sleep training:
The Sears Method or the “No Tears” Method
This method was developed by Dr. William Sears, the assistant professor of pediatrics at USC. This promotes a gentler approach to sleep training that involves creating a “sleep-inducing” environment that encourages the baby to go to sleep and stay asleep.
To effectively implement the Sears method, you need not only establish a relaxing bedtime routine but also a daytime routine that will consequently help your baby sleep easier when bedtime comes.
Keeping your baby active and busy all day and taking regular daytime naps will help your baby sleep better at night. Though babies are different, the recommended nap times, in general, are mid-morning, mid-afternoon and early evening.
This method recommends sleep training activities that include sleeping in the same room with baby (if sleeping on the same bed, follow all safety measures), carrying and cuddling baby often, putting baby to bed only when he or she is already in a deep sleep (usually when limbs are limp and palms are open), and if baby cries and awakens, comfort, rock and nurse baby.
What Sleep Training Method is Best for my Baby?
No evidence suggests that one is better than the other. Remember that every baby is different and the effectiveness of these methods may depend on your baby’s personality, the general environment of the household and how comfortable and resolved the parents are in implementing sleep training. As always, do what works best for you and your baby.
Freelance Contributor: Hazel Zanoria
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