what to do when a baby doesn't want to be swaddled
tried-and-true techniques you can use to help your baby benefit from swaddling
What to do when a baby doesn’t want to be swaddled
Many new parents face a simple, yet exhausting, problem: their baby seems to hate being swaddled.
Often babies might seem like they hate being swaddled, but it’s important to remember that most babies do enjoy the warmth and comfort of a swaddle wrap. Swaddling can be highly pleasant and healthful for your baby even if they resist the act of being swaddled.
So what should you do with a baby who doesn’t want to be swaddled? It begins with recognizing that your baby is unique. When it comes to swaddling, every baby is different. Many babies find swaddling comforting, but some won’t and that’s totally normal.
However, because swaddling has so many benefits, even if your baby resists swaddling, it’s important to try to find a swaddling solution that works for your little one.
Try a different swaddling technique
Before giving up entirely, try some different swaddling techniques. You can start by leaving one or both arms out of the swaddle. Sometimes, if a baby has just a little more freedom of movement while swaddled, they will calm down and come to enjoy the feeling of being swaddled.
If baby is still fussing and moving around when swaddled, you might try a different wrapping method. Swaddles are designed to be versatile items, so many different styles or methods of wrapping are possible: get creative and see what your baby responds to best.
Pamper your baby with music, massage, or a warm bath
Sometimes, the same kinds of pleasant, soothing experiences that would help you calm down after a stressful day will work just as well to help your baby relax and accept swaddling.
Babies’ swaddling angst can be soothed by calming music, or other sounds they might find comforting. You can also give them a warm bath, especially if your baby responds well to bath time. And if you’re looking for an opportunity to connect with your baby through comforting touch, a gentle massage can help ease their frustration and prepare them physically for the embrace of the swaddle.
Is your swaddling timing the problem?
If baby is fighting you while you’re trying to swaddle, consider the possibility that it’s not the actual swaddling, but rather the fact that they’re overtired.
Try preemptively swaddling them when it’s nearing time for a nap, but before they’re extremely tired. This will allow you to gently swaddle your baby at a time when they’re more receptive to it and not feeling too cranky yet.
An alternative to swaddling: sleeping bags
You should only consider swaddling a lost cause if it’s affecting baby’s sleep or they can’t calm down once they’re fully swaddled. If all else fails, invest in a baby sleeping bag for baby’s warmth and safety.
Sleeping bags for babies have one simple advantage: they are easy to use. If a baby is struggling against a swaddle and you just can’t seem to wrap them without making them more upset, a sleeping bag offers a convenient solution.
A baby sleeping bag serves as an alternative to a blanket or a swaddle. As long as you pick out a properly sized sleeping bag for your little one, they can sleep soundly without kicking the bag off or sliding down into it. Be sure to choose a soft, breathable fabric for your sleeping bag though: you don’t want your baby getting hot or itchy in their sleeping bag.