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Swaddling your baby – Arms in or out?

As a new mum, when it comes to swaddling and settling your little one down for the night, it’s not always a straight forward task. The only common denominator is that we all want to feel confident we are doing the best thing for our bub.

But there are so many variables to consider like should their arms be in or out? Should they be wrapped up tightly or do I give them room to wiggle?

With Facebook, Instagram and online groups taking hold as our ‘go-to’ for advice and a guaranteed quick response in the middle of the night, it can easily become overwhelming. With so many conflicting opinions and experiences it can sometimes feel hard to know what the best thing to do is.

Jennifer Hamilton, experienced mothercraft nurse and routine expert, shares her top tips.

From Birth to 3 – 4 months

Babies settle and sleep better with their arms swaddled inside and across their chest. The reason for this is that often their newborn startle reflex can hinder their ability to sleep well, so it’s best to control their arm movements and swaddle nice and snug. This is the ‘burrito’ style that you might see posted in pics and it’s important also in helping to aid longer periods of sleep which is great for bub and parent.

Gro Swaddle

From about three to four months, baby does not need to be swaddled as tightly and this is when they can begin to learn how to sleep well with their arms out.

For this stage, I typically recommend products that are hip healthy. Products that let you swaddle your baby from birth and as they get bigger provide room for their arms to move while still feeling the security from the swaddling. This swaddle is also great because as soon as your baby starts to roll they can stay within the familiarity of their swaddle but are able to have their arms out for safety.

From around 6 months

From around 6 month or as soon as your baby starts rolling in the cot, this is the time to transition to a baby sleep bag. At this stage, your baby now has the developmental ability to learn to settle with arms out whether or not they are rolling. In the cooler months you can put your baby in a long sleeve onsie to keep their arms warm.

 

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