Safe swaddling 101: What you should know about swaddling

Is there anything more lovable than a baby who’s wrapped up as snug as a bug in a rug? Swaddling is the ancient practice of wrapping your newborn up in fabric to recreate the comfortable, loved sensation of being in the womb. But should you turn your own newborn into a bundled-up burrito just because it’s tradition? Both modern scientists and midwives from centuries ago say yes! According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, babies who sleep on their tummies or sides are at a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Swaddling may help prevent this, as a newborn who is swaddled correctly and placed on their back is less likely to wriggle around and roll onto their sides or tummy. In addition, swaddling lessens the chance of infants waking up from the startle reflex. That means a swaddled baby is more likely to sleep sweetly until dawn. Imagine not having to deal with a crying baby every night! safeswaddling 1 But even though swaddling can be hugely beneficial, it can have life-threatening consequences if you don’t do it right. Here are some tips on how to swaddle your baby safely and effectively. #1: Keep your baby cool. Overheating is one cause of sudden infant death syndrome, so make sure that you don’t use more than one layer of fabric for your baby, and that you don’t cover their head or face. A light cotton blanket is a decent choice. Make sure to keep extra blankets, clothes, and any loose items out of the crib so your baby doesn’t get smothered by them. #2: Wrap your baby up just right. Loose blankets can end up suffocating your child if they come undone, but you shouldn’t wrap your baby up too tight either. Swaddling too tightly can cause discomfort, poor circulation, and over-extension of your baby’s hips and knees. (If your baby suffers from developmental dysplasia of the hip, avoid swaddling at all costs.) If you’re worried about getting it right, you can consider getting a baby swaddle that’s designed to be cosy without being too tight. #3: Position your baby correctly. safeswaddling 2 Fold your child’s hands over their chest before you swaddle them. Wrapping their arms too tight against their sides may cause joint issues. Make sure to place your swaddled baby on their back. This ensures that they don’t fidget and roll over. #4: Don’t overdo it. Save the swaddling for night time so your baby has a chance to move around and explore their own body during the day. When your baby starts rolling over on their own, or keeps trying to turn over onto their tummy, it’s a sign that you should probably stop swaddling them. Consult your paediatrician on what’s the best time to stop swaddling. Whenever you do, consider using a swaddle like the Swaddle-Up, that allows your baby to transition from being being swaddled, to having one arm free, and finally having both arms free. How do you do this? Simply unzip one ‘wing’ of the Swaddle-up, and wait a few nights for your baby to adjust to the sensation of sleeping with one arm released. Once your child is suitably comfortable with this, remove the second ‘wing’, and before you know it, your child will be sleeping independently without a single peep!