Does swaddling help a baby sleep? The trick that could help new parents reclaim their nights

Swaddling is one new mum's sleep-deprived dream come true

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“I was away during bedtime, but I’m happy to report that it sounds like someone is being murdered from outside the house, too …” This is one of the laugh-out-loud quotes to be found under many thousands of related hashtags on Instagram, from #no­sleepbabylife to #realmomsdontsleep to #tiredmamas.

Every mother has been there. Your baby won't go to sleep. Just. Will. Not. Settle. You haven't slept a full night since the birth (that's six weeks, in my case) and hit a wall. At this stage, your coping brain collapses and instead turns to creative ways in which you might escape this sleep-deprived torture. You wish your bambino (that you love beyond words, might I add) could speak and tell you what they need, just to stop this incessant hysterical wailing. You dream up illogical ways to break free from this relentless struggle, things a responsible, caring, devoted parent would never do in a million years. Which family member could be trusted to take a newborn for a day and not drop him? Which friend could you guilt-trip into saving your life (by looking after your baby)? Then the tears flow and flow harder until you find yourself weeping to the drum of newborn screams. Your toddler peers around the door quizzically, not recognising this broken woman who was once his mother, and your husband looks on with the helplessness of a rabbit caught in a vicious, unforgiving snare. And then, as if by magic, the crying stops. The torture ends. Your baby is asleep. At last.

No, I didn't sprint out of the house, Forrest Gump style, or resort to sorcery, but rather turned to a product with almost supernatural powers that has saved the ragged souls of mothers the world over. With the swift closure of one zip, my baby boy is enclosed by a creation that transports him back to the secure confines of a womb. It's the genius of the Love to Dream range, which has recently been launched across the GCC.

Six-week-old Harvey Kerr in a swaddle from the Love to Dream range. Photo: Yvonne Kerr 

An age-old practice of wrapping an infant tightly in a blanket to restrict their movements, the theory is that swaddling is soothing for babies as it reminds them of being cocooned inside the relative safety and warmth of their mother’s belly. It works wonders to not only put some babies to sleep (I say some because there are babies out there who prefer not to be swaddled), but also allow their delirious mothers to grab some shut-eye.

Traditional swaddling poses issues, though. I lay the fabric out in a triangular shape, as per the many thousands of "how to swaddle" videos on YouTube, place my baby gently in the middle and wrap it securely around the little wriggler, burrito-style, in anticipation of him (and me) falling into a deep, blissful slumber soon after. Rarely does that happen, of course, as inevitably the little critter moves his teeny-tiny arms and legs in a chaotic fashion (he was active inside, too, so it's no surprise) and the swaddle slowly comes undone, freeing him (not in a good way), and the crying cycle kicks off again.

The selling point of the Love to Dream range is that there’s no escape. As ruthless as that may sound, it’s a blessing as the babe has enough space to wriggle his arms and legs, but as the swaddle can only be opened by unzipping – by you, in other words – bubs happily nods off. Every time.

The hero feature of this popular range is the Swaddle Up design that permits babies to self-soothe with their arms up rather than wrapped tightly against their body, as mothers were instructed to do in the past. Love to Dream founder Hana-Lia Krawchuk noticed her child slept more soundly with his arms up, an observation that’s backed up by science, as babies prefer to have access to their hands, as they do in the womb.

The range will also have your little one covered for four years, offering a three-stage sleep system: stage one (up to four months); stage two (four to nine months), which helps to transition a baby with an arms-free option to safely support development as soon as an infant shows signs of rolling; and stage three (six to 48 months), which offers roomy sleeping bags or sleepsuits with built-in legs and feet that won't fall off your wee cherub during the night. There's also a variety of cute colourways.

Speaking from experience, this clever tool should be part of every new mother’s daily arsenal, a peaceful weapon against the onslaught of their nippers’ napless needs.

Love to Dream is now available in all Mothercare stores in the GCC