Benefits of Swaddling with 7 Swaddle safety tips
Benefits of Swaddling Your Baby
When your baby is swaddled, he or she is taken back to the days in the womb, when everything was comfortable, safe and snug.
Swaddling has a number of key benefits for both parents and babies – when done correctly and safely:
Babies who are swaddled sleep longer and more soundly.
Swaddled babies experience less anxiety.
Swaddling prevents unnecessary wake-ups due to the startle reflex.
Using a swaddle eliminates the need for comfort items in baby’s crib – no pillows, bumpers, blankets, stuffed animals, etc. (using these items in crib have been linked to SIDS)
A swaddled baby can’t scratch their face.
Swaddling mimics touch, which is important for baby especially when they wake up at night.
Wearing a swaddle helps maintain baby’s back-sleeping position and also reminds tired parents to place baby on back to sleep.
Swaddling soothes babies with colic (again, when swaddled, they feel secure and safe just like they felt in the womb).
Using a swaddle with baby in the hands-over-heart position is the preferred sleeping position for babies; in this position, they learn to self-soothe and can get back to sleep on their own.
Swaddling benefits parents too — when baby sleeps more, mom and dad sleep more!
Safe Swaddling Tips
Over the last 20 years, we’ve learned how to swaddle safely. It’s safe to say we have come far from the tightly wrapped, mummy-style swaddle bands and swaddle boards! Learning to correctly swaddle baby is key to ensuring safety and effectiveness. Here are seven tips:
Do not over-swaddle - Over-swaddling or using double swaddle blankets can lead to overheating. This factor has been linked to SIDS. Signs of an overheated baby include damp hair and sweating. Today parents can use swaddles that are specifically designed to allow excess heat to escape which provides ventilation for baby.
Make sure the swaddle won’t unravel - A loose blanket can end up covering your baby’s airway.
Position baby “hands-over-heart” - In the past, it was traditional to swaddle baby’s arms at his/her sides, but this can cause joint problems and limits mobility. Place baby’s hands over the chest before wrapping, or with a swaddle sack that requires no wrapping, put baby in, place baby’s hands over chest, and zip!
Don’t swaddle too tightly - Rather than a blanket, use a specially made baby swaddle that hugs baby comfortably but allows for natural movement of the legs/hips to prevent hip issues like hip dysplasia.
Place baby on his/her back to sleep - When baby sleeps on his/her tummy he is more likely to rebreathe his own exhaled air and start to overheat, both of which can lead to SIDS. Remember: “back is best.”
Stop swaddling when baby begins to roll - When baby begins to roll, this is a good time to consult with your paediatrician or a baby sleep consultant on whether or not swaddling should be continued. Usually, you want to transition baby to arms-free sleep once baby begins to roll, but some paediatricians are now saying that swaddling is safe even after baby begins to roll as long as the crib is free from all suffocation hazards such as bumpers pillows toys, and blankets. When it’s time to transition, an arms-free sleep sack is a wonderful tool so baby can feel snug but with their arms free.
Don’t swaddle all day - Babies need freedom to move around and learn their bodies. Even if your little one loves being wrapped up all day, give him/her time to develop and leave the swaddling for sleep time.
Most people use swaddling during the newborn stage and begin to phase it out before six months. Some babies like being swaddled up to nine months, and that’s perfectly fine so long as you are using an arms-free sleep sack once baby begins to roll. At some point though your baby will prefer the freedom outside the swaddle and struggle to break out.
Note: Each baby is different; some babies resist swaddling from the very beginning, although this is rare. All newborns put up a little bit of a fight, but they quickly accept the feelings of security and peace the swaddle affords them.