By: Chris Gill
Whether you’re asking yourself ‘what are muslin wraps used for?’, ‘how to swaddle a newborn’ or ‘when to stop swaddling baby’, we’ve got you covered.
What are muslin wraps used for?
If you’re totally new to the muslin wraps game, don’t worry. Many of us have been there. And, while you might already know about swaddling a baby, what you might not realize are there are plenty of other ways to use muslin wraps in your little one’s early days.
If you’re feeding while on the go, a muslin wrap is a great cover to stop your baby getting distracted. Tuck the muslin into your bra strap and place the soft fabric across your baby’s cheek to keep them safe and comfy. Note: Always ensure there’s an opening to allow fresh air to flow through.
Aside from swaddling, burping is one of the most popular uses for the muslin wrap. The soft, thick and absorbent fabric will make sure whatever you’re wearing stays clean when you pat your little bambino gently on the back.
Not everyone knows this, but a muslin wrap can even be used as a teether! How does that work, we hear you ask? Simple. Just freeze a small cube of breast milk, or boiled water if your baby is a bit older, wrap it in a muslin, twist the ends to hold in place and let your little teething tot chew away.
Last but not least, muslin wraps are used to swaddle baby to sleep. Muslin wraps tend to be light and flexible, so your baby doesn’t overheat, and firm enough to allow your little one to feel comfy and safe. But how exactly do you swaddle with a muslin wrap? We take a look at how to swaddle with the best swaddling technique.
How to swaddle a baby with a muslin wrap:
Ok, so it’s time to get down to some safe swaddling. First things first, you need to lay the muslin wrap out in a diamond shape. Once you’ve done this, fold the top corner down roughly a quarter. Then, place your baby on the turned corner so that the corners of the muslin spread out from his or hers arms.
Next, hold your little bambino's right arm down at their side. Pull the muslin over that arm, across the body. If the baby is much smaller than the muslin, roll them to the side to smooth the rest of the muslin across the back. The muslin needs to be tight, but baby should still be able to bend their waist. Note: always make sure their hips are free to move.
Hold down your baby’s left arm before pulling the bottom corner up and tucking it under their left shoulder. Move the right corner over your little treasure's body before finally pulling it firm by placing them on their side and wrapping the excess around the back. The results? You’ll know when baby quickly falls asleep.
When to stop swaddling baby
It’s important to note that you can stop swaddling your baby whenever you feel it’s best. While most people use swaddling during the newborn stage, before phasing it out around three or four months, it’s also common for babies to be swaddled when they’re six to nine months old. Most babies will begin to reject swaddling at a certain age, although not all.
That said, the average age to stop swaddling babies is roughly three or four months. Newborns are born with the Moro reflex — a startle reflex — and most babies don’t outgrow it until they’re four or five months old. For this reason, be careful when stopping the swaddle too early. If your baby’s Moro reflex is still strong, they may startle themselves awake at night and during nap time.
If your baby is able to break free of their swaddle, this doesn’t always mean that it’s time to stop swaddling. But if your baby is persistently breaking free of their swaddle each night, it’s either time to stop swaddling or switch to a safer muslin wrap.
Warning: Never allow babies to sleep face down. If your baby is rolling over onto their tummy while they sleep, it’s time to stop swaddling. Safety must always be top of mind when it comes to swaddling your baby!
Although swaddling for sleep is generally all good, it’s important you don’t swaddle your little one all day long. Babies also need to move freely so they can develop their gross motor skills and become stronger.
How to stop swaddling baby
Some babies aren’t dependent on swaddling for comfort, making them much easier to stop the process. Other babies, however, can become very dependent on swaddling to help them sleep — making weaning them away from their cosy muslin wraps much harder. If your baby has become dependent on their swaddle to sleep, it’s probably time to stop!
We recommend gradually easing your little one off their swaddle. Begin by leaving one arm or leg un-swaddled, before moving on to both arms or legs. Before you know it, you’ll have reached a stage where your little one isn’t being swaddled at all.
So, there you have it, newbie parents. It’s time to start swaddling!