The Snug Factor
Want your newborn to sleep longer, whether it's nighttime or naptime? Wrap her up like a baby burrito in a swaddling blanket. Swaddling keeps babies from startling themselves awake with their jerky, involuntary movements. Experts speculate it also helps babies relax by providing a cozy feeling, reassuringly reminiscent of the womb. There are a number of custom-made swaddles on the market, many outfitted with Velcro strips and other easy fastening devices, but any light blanket or cloth will do the trick.
- Lay the cloth down -- tilted to form a diamond -- then fold down the top corner where her head will go.
- Put her on the cloth, hold one arm against her side, and wrap that corner of the cloth over her, tucking it tightly under the opposite side of her torso.
- Then repeat on the other side, tucking the corner in behind her neck.
Scrap the swaddle when your baby is around 3 months old. By that point, she'll be more active and in control of her limbs, and being wrapped up tightly is more likely to annoy her.
Originally published in the August 2007 issue of Parents magazine.