If you’re wondering what the big deal is about swaddling, check out this post over here to learn why you should be using a swaddle to help you newborn sleep for longer stretches.
Even after realizing how helpful swaddling can be, at the end of the day, 9 out of 10 mothers will say “my baby hates being swaddled.” How can this be? How can babies protest something so vociferously if it’s meant to help them?
Here’s the secret.
Most babies resist the process of being swaddled, and swaddling won’t work on its own to calm your baby down. But once it’s combined with other soothing techniques, it will actually help your baby sleep BETTER than he would have without it- and for longer periods of time, too.
After you swaddle your baby, you need to follow up with a few more steps.
- Hold your baby so that her back rests against your belly. Her face shouldn’t be facing you, because your face is a stimulating and emotional sight for her. That won’t induce sleep.
- Add some slight movement- a jiggle, a bounce, a sway. Nothing drastic here – gentle rocking motions that will remind her of the sensations she felt for 9 months in your womb will go a long way in calming her down.
- Add some sound. Either turn on a white noise machine or make loud shushing sounds to match the level of her cry.
- Offer a pacifier or your finger for her to suck on.
These 4 steps, when preceded with a swaddle, are pretty much guaranteed to calm any baby down and help her prepare for sleep.
After a few days, this process of swaddling and soothing will become a sleep cue for your baby and she will start to realize that every time she is swaddled, it’s time to sleep. In order to achieve this, make sure you use the swaddle for all sleeping times- nights and naps.
Even if you think your baby hates the swaddle, don’t give up on it! Combine it with the other soothing techniques and give it a couple of weeks. It will truly go a long way toward helping your baby sleep better.
If you’re struggling with your newborn’s sleep, be sure to check out my Newborn Course to start the journey of teaching your newborn to sleep through the night, without sleep training!