Smart Solutions When Your Newborn Cries While Swaddled

Smart Solutions When Your Newborn Cries While Swaddled

You’ve just brought your newborn home and you’re ready to try out everything you’ve learned about baby care. Swaddling, one of the age-old practices, is on your list. But what happens when your little bundle of joy starts crying every time you swaddle them?

You’re not alone. Many new parents face the same issue. It’s often confusing and can leave you questioning if you’re doing something wrong. This article aims to shed light on why your newborn might be crying when swaddled and provide you with some practical solutions.

Remember, every baby is unique. What works for one might not work for another. It’s all about understanding your baby’s needs and responding accordingly. So, let’s dive in and figure out how to make swaddling a calming experience for your little one.

Key Takeaways

  • Newborns may cry when swaddled as a response to various discomforts such as tight swaddling, overheating, hunger, dirty diaper needs, the need to burp, and overstimulation.
  • Incorrect swaddling techniques such as swaddling too tightly, too high, or using inappropriate blankets may lead to discomfort or health risks like hip dysplasia and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Babies with sensory sensitivities may perceive swaddling differently. Adjustments to the swaddling material’s texture, firmness, and temperature might be necessary for some infants.
  • Swaddling might trigger a response to the Moro reflex, a sensation of falling, causing discomfort if the baby feels overly restricted. A perfect swaddle should be snug but not overly tight.
  • Understanding a baby’s preferences, using the right swaddling materials, and continuously adapting techniques can help enhance the swaddling experience.
  • Different babies have different needs; some might prefer sleep sacks or not require swaddling at all. It is essential to stay open to changes and consultations with a pediatrician when necessary.

Parents often face challenges when their newborns cry while swaddled, a common issue that can be addressed by understanding proper swaddling techniques. Expert advice on this can be found on Happiest Baby, where Dr. Harvey Karp discusses methods to soothe crying babies effectively. Additional insights into why babies might cry when swaddled and how to ensure their comfort are available on NCBI, which provides research on the calming effects of swaddling.

Reasons why newborns cry when swaddled

Reasons why newborns cry when swaddled

When your precious newborn cries incessantly despite your best swaddling efforts, it could leave you feeling helpless or even incompetent. But there’s no need to worry. Swaddling might be a universal practice but it’s not always the immediate answer to calming a fussy baby. Remember, each baby responds in its own way and what works for one may not always soothe another.

The first common reason why newborns cry when swaddled could be discomfort. If the swaddle is too tight, it might restrict your baby’s movements leading to discomfort or even pain. Another reason could be overheating. Babies can’t regulate their body temperature like adults do. Snugly swaddling can sometimes lead to overheating, causing your baby to cry.

If your baby is still crying when swaddled, it might be due to hunger. Tiny tummies need frequent refilling and your baby might be signaling for a feed. A dirty diaper is another common reason. An uncomfortable, wet, or dirty diaper can be very uncomfortable for your baby. Needing to burp might also cause discomfort and ultimately lead to crying – swaddled or otherwise.

And finally, your baby might just need a break. Overstimulation is a key trigger for many newborns. It’s a lot to take in – new surroundings, sounds, lights, even the sensation of being swaddled.

Here’s a quick rundown of the reasons:

Reasons why newborns cry when swaddled
Dirty Diaper
Needing to burp

So, keep these potential triggers in mind the next time you swaddle. Remember, it’s all a learning process, don’t pressure yourself. Trial and error is a part of parenting and, with time, you’ll find the best method to comfort your little one.

Incorrect swaddling techniques

Incorrect swaddling techniques

Incorrect swaddling can also contribute to why your newborn may cry when swaddled. You might be thinking, “There’s a right and wrong way to swaddle?” Absolutely, and it’s crucial you understand this.

When done correctly, swaddling can help your newborn baby feel protected, mimicking the snug environment of the womb. Improper swaddling, however, can bring discomfort, constrict movement unnecessarily, and potentially lead to serious issues like hip dysplasia.

Too tight swaddling is a common mistake making newborns uncomfortable, and thus, likely to cry. Overly snug swaddles constrict your baby’s movements. Remember, while swaddling aims for secure wrapping, it shouldn’t be too tight that it restricts your baby’s natural movements.

Another common error is swaddling too high. The swaddle shouldn’t go beyond the shoulders. Swaddling up to your baby’s neck or face may lead to suffocation. Your baby’s neck and head should always be free and outside the swaddling blanket.

Moreover, using the wrong type of blanket can cause issues too. Swaddle blankets should be breathable and lightweight. Avoid heavy and thick blankets as they may cause overheating, a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

What if you’ve corrected these common errors and yet your baby fusses when swaddled? It’s important to remember that each baby is unique. Just because swaddling worked for your friend’s child doesn’t guarantee it’ll bring comfort to yours. Keep experimenting with different soothing techniques, and remain patient. It’s all part of the beautiful yet challenging journey of parenthood.

Sensory sensitivities

Continuing the conversation on why newborns cry when swaddled, Sensory sensitivities can play a significant role. Babies are born with an immature sensory system and different babies have different levels of sensitivity. Being aware of these can assist you in understanding what might make your baby uncomfortable.

Each newborn is in a phase called the ‘fourth trimester’. In this phase, environmental changes such as noise or light levels can make them feel uneasy, which is quite common. Imagine transitioning from the comfortable, dark, and muffled environment of the womb to suddenly experiencing an array of lights, sounds, and tactile experiences. This transition also applies to feeling the wrapped cloth against their skin when swaddled.

For babies with heightened sensitivities, even the smallest changes can create a significant response. Factors like:

  • The texture of the swaddling blanket
  • The firmness of swaddle
  • The temperature inside and outside of the swaddle

are potential catalysts which can influence how a baby experiences swaddling.

Let’s consider swaddling material as an example. If the swaddle mixture isn’t quite right, it could cause discomfort. Balancing between a breathable fabric to prevent overheating and a comforting texture to mimic the womb environment might be more challenging than you think. An easy rule to follow is to opt for breathable fabrics of medium thickness like cotton or muslin blend. Additionally, always make sure the swaddle isn’t too tight across the baby’s chest or hips.

Nevertheless, by being mindful of your baby’s sensory sensitivities, it may help to soothe their discomfort and make swaddling a more pleasant experience for both of you. Identifying the signs of discomfort early on and making necessary adjustments not only makes your baby happier but also creates a more serene environment in your home.

It’s important to remember that patience and continuous adaptations to your baby’s needs are key elements to successful parenthood. A baby takes time to adjust to their new environment and as a parent, it’s your responsibility to aid in that adjustment towards comfort and safety.

Feeling too restricted

Newborn babies have an innate reflex known as the Moro reflex. It’s essentially an automatic reaction to the sensation of falling. When swaddled too tightly, this reflex can make your baby feel overly restricted and can trigger bouts of crying.

Try to remember that for nine months, your baby was nestled in a comforting, cozy environment. They could move freely within their personal space. When swaddled, the tightness can mimic the confines of the womb, yet the change can still be somewhat overwhelming to your little one.

The good news is, there’s a delicate balance you can achieve. A perfect swaddle should be snug enough to make your baby feel secure, but not so tight that it restricts their movement completely.

Let’s break down a table for clarity:

Snug SwaddleToo tight swaddle
Emulates the wombTriggers Moro Reflex
Provides securityCan feel overwhelming
Allows for slight movementRestricts movement completely

The swaddle should be loose around the baby’s hips, allowing them to bend their legs up and out at the hips. This position allows for proper hip development and reduces the risk of hip dysplasia, a condition that can affect newborns.

Moreover, try to observe your baby’s reactions when you swaddle them — not every baby is the same. Some might enjoy the secure feeling a swaddle provides, while others may prefer a looser wrapping. Your baby’s comfort is the crucial component, and it’s important to be aware of their sensitivities and adapt your techniques accordingly.

Also, remember that swaddling isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. As your child grows, you’ll need to adjust the way you bundle them up. Be flexible and ready to make changes when you notice your baby isn’t comfortable anymore. These modifications in your baby’s swaddling method are part of their growth and development narrative, which continually evolve with each milestone.

Solutions to consider

Solutions to consider

It’s essential to recognize that when your newborn cries while swaddled, it may not necessarily signify discomfort, but rather the initial reaction to a new sensation. However, if your baby repeatedly wails or appears stressed, it’s time to reevaluate your swaddling technique.

Analyze Swaddling Proficiency

Firstly, assess your swaddling method. Are you wrapping your little one too tightly or too loosely? Could the material be chafing their delicate skin? Your newborn should feel snug and safe, not restricted. Examine the swaddle’s tightness when your little one is at rest and observe their movements.

Remember, while it’s important to secure the arms to prevent startling, the swaddle should be loose around the hips. This freedom allows for natural leg movement, crucial for healthy hip development.

Understand Their Preferences

Each baby is unique. What comforts one might create discomfort for another. Try different swaddling methods; your baby might prefer an arm or both out of the swaddle. Connect and communicate with your newborn. Take time to understand their preferences and adjust your approach accordingly.

Quality of Swaddling Materials

The fabric you choose can have a profound impact. Aim for breathable, lightweight materials like cotton or muslin over heavy blankets. These natural fabrics are gentle on baby’s skin and help regulate temperature to prevent overheating.

Trial and Adapt

There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ in parenting. If after all these adjustments your baby still dislikes swaddling, perhaps it’s time to try something different. Some babies simply prefer a sleep sack or may not need any form of swaddling at all!

Parenting is an ever-changing journey. Be patient with yourself and your baby, and remember, every challenge you overcome together creates a stronger bond and enriches your shared experience. Should you need professional advice, don’t hesitate to consult your pediatrician. They can provide personalized recommendations that suite your baby’s needs.

Remember that this journey is not one-size-fits-all. Remain open to adapting your baby care practices as your little one grows.


So, you’ve learned that it’s normal for a newborn to cry when swaddled. But remember, it’s all about reading your baby’s cues and adjusting your swaddling techniques accordingly. Your baby’s comfort and safety should always be your top priorities. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different swaddling materials and methods until you find what works best for your little one. And if you’re ever in doubt, reach out to a healthcare professional for guidance. After all, every baby is unique, and the journey of parenting is all about adapting and growing with your child. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll soon master the art of swaddling, turning those cries into contented coos.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the article emphasize about swaddling newborns?

The article mainly emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between a newborn’s initial reactions and signs of discomfort when swaddled and suggests possible solutions.

What solutions are suggested when babies cry while swaddled?

Solutions suggested include assessing swaddling techniques, considering the baby’s preferences, choosing appropriate swaddling materials, and adjusting the swaddling methods as the baby grows.

How can a parent adapt swaddling techniques as the baby grows?

Parents can adapt swaddling techniques by observing the baby’s reactions. They should maintain a balance between security and movement, and be open to making necessary adjustments based on the individual needs and development stages.

Why is observing the baby’s reactions crucial?

Observing the baby’s reactions is crucial because it gives valuable insights into the baby’s comfort level and preference which can be used to adapt the swadling methods and materials used.

When should parents seek professional advice?

Parents should seek professional advice if they feel uncertain or worried about their baby’s reaction to swaddling, to ensure they are using appropriate techniques and materials that cater to their baby’s needs.