Your newborn will need time and support to make a smooth transition from being warm and secure inside the womb to feeling comfortable and secure in the outside world. By mimicking the womb environment for a period of time most babies find this transition a lot easier.
Babies born prematurely will often need to go the extra step of sleeping in a sling next to your body for extended periods of time until they reach their original due date.
The womb can be mimicked in the following ways:
- Warm and snug in the womb becomes swaddling and cuddling up close out of the womb
- Rhythmical movements from felt while inside the womb become rocking and swaying outside the womb
- Internal womb noises of the placenta, heartbeat and bowel sounds become humming, ‘white noise’, shhhing, singing, and holding them close to your heart beat outside the womb
- It is important to keep your baby secure and snug as they settle to sleep . Swaddling is an age-old practice of wrapping babies snugly in breathable material, blankets or similar cloth so that movement of the limbs is restricted. A baby is born with a startle reflex which may cause them to wake during their lighter phases of sleep. Swaddling prevents this reflex occurring allowing them to sleep for longer periods.Have you seen my ‘How to Swaddle a Baby’ video clip ?
If you watched this video you will see that I swaddle with baby’s arms resting on their chest rather than straight down by their side. This is a natural position that allows your baby to touch her face with slight movements while keeping the arms secure inside the wrap. You will be shown many ways and alternative suggestions on how to swaddle as well as finding many types of wraps to choose from. What you choose is up to you (and how well a product has been marketed) but the main tips I recommend to help your baby sleep well using a wrap are:
- Keep her tight and secure with arms in even if she at first protests
- Use a natural breathable fabric
- Allow for slight arm movement within the wrap
- Learn more in ‘Mum, Baby & Toddler – together we learn’
This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.