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Does your Baby Want Hands Out of Swaddle? Here's What to Do

If your baby is like most infants, they love being snugly wrapped up in a soft blanket. Swaddling can help calm and soothe your little one, and it can also help them sleep better. But sometimes, even the best swaddler will find their baby wants their hands out of the swaddle. So what do you do then? Keep reading for tips on how to handle a wiggly baby!

Why Infants Break Free From The Swaddle

Swaddling is the act of wrapping an infant snugly in a blanket so that only the head is showing. It is often used to calm babies and help them sleep. However, many parents find that their babies quickly break out of the swaddle. There are a few reasons for this. First, babies are very flexible and can wiggle their arms and legs until they break free.

Additionally, as they grow, they become stronger and more able to lift their arms and legs. Finally, some babies simply prefer not to be confined in a swaddle. They may feel uncomfortable or restless and prefer to move around freely. Regardless, it is not uncommon for babies to break out of the swaddle.

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Baby swaddled with toe out

 

The Importance of a Tight Swaddle

The key to a good swaddle is to keep the baby's arms close while leaving the blanket free around the knees and hips so that the infant may bend and open easily. The swaddle is sufficiently tight if you can fit two fingers between the wrap and your baby's shoulders. This is crucial for Baby's warm and secure slumber since a loose swaddle blanket might conceal Baby's face and raise the danger of asphyxia if it becomes unwrapped.

Swaddling With Straight Arms 

During the final month or two of pregnancy, a baby's arms are always bent. Because of this, some specialists suggest that newborns should be swaddled with their hands elevated, allowing them to suck their fingers. However, swaddling a baby with bent arms is often disastrous! (Additionally, within two weeks after birth, an infant's arms relax and become straighter during quiet moments during sleep.) 

Swaddling with bent arms enables their tiny hands to squirm out, which causes newborns to scream more, but it also makes it simple for the whole wrap to unravel. And an unraveling swaddle makes it easier for your baby to resist the wrap, keeps them awake, and is quite hazardous

Related Link: Teaching Self-Soothing: The Cry It Out Method

Swaddling with a V-Shape

When a swaddling blanket brushes the face of a hungry infant, beware! The baby will mistake the feeling for the breast or the bottle. This may trigger their rooting reflex, causing them to scream in frustration when they cannot locate the nipple. (The rooting response occurs when a baby reacts to anything touching their cheek by turning their head and opening their mouth. This assists your infant in locating the breast or bottle to feed.) To prevent this, the wrap should resemble a V-neck sweater.

 

swaddled baby being held

 

Swaddling with The Right Size Blanket

There's nothing like snuggling up with a cozy blanket; babies love them just as much as we do! However, it's essential to ensure you're using the right size blanket for your infant's swaddle. If the blanket is too small, it won't provide enough coverage and may be uncomfortable for your baby. On the other hand, if the blanket is too large, it could become wrapped too tightly around your infant, which could pose a safety hazard. That's why it's essential to choose a blanket approximately 40" x 40" to 48" x 48", which is the perfect size for most infant swaddles. With this in mind, you can rest assured that your baby will be cozy and safe when snuggled up in their favorite blanket.

Precautions of Swaddling

Increased SIDS risk. According to researchers, swaddling newborns reduces their arousal, making it more difficult for them to wake up. That may seem like a positive outcome. However, evidence indicates that low arousal may be one of the causes of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the sudden and inexplicable death of infants younger than one year of age.  

Related Link: Tucked In: How to Dress Baby for Sleep

Your Baby Might Be Too Warm

As the swaddle is an additional layer, you must ensure that your infant does not overheat. Touch their chest or the back of their neck to see whether they are perspiring or hot. To help prevent your baby from overheating, keep your infant's room between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove a layer of clothes or switch to a swaddling material lighter and more breathable, like baby muslin or cotton.

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Don't Stop Trying

It really might seem like some newborns despise swaddling! If at first you don't succeed when swaddling your infant, keep trying! Getting the perfect tight wrap that will soothe and calm your baby may take a little practice, but it'll be worth it. 

So, what do you do when your baby wants hands out of a swaddle? Our number one piece of advice is to stay calm. It can be frustrating when your little one won't stop wiggling, but keeping a cool head is essential. Second, try the other techniques mentioned above. Your infant will let you know when you've finally got it right - by cooing contentedly or falling asleep. So keep at it, and enjoy those sweet snuggles with your little one. 

Related Link: What To Do When Your Baby Fights Naps