To Swaddle Or Not To Swaddle — That Is The Question

Focus on the Journey and PrepareParents have been swaddling their babies for centuries. Wrapping your baby snugly in a blanket can make the baby feel soothed, as if he were back in the womb. Besides, there’s just something appealing about a swaddled baby. They look so warm and secure. Swaddling has become increasingly popular over the past decade. But let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this age-old practice.

Why Swaddle?

  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, if done correctly, swaddling can calm infants and encourage your baby to sleep longer and more soundly.
  • Swaddling also may help soothe a crying or fussy baby.
  • There is some debate on the connection between swaddling and the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Some experts believe that a swaddled baby does not need comfort items which have been linked to SIDS, such as pillows, bumpers, or stuffed animals. Although research has been done on swaddling in general, the relationship of swaddling and sudden infant death syndrome is still unclear.

Why Not Swaddle?

  • Swaddling babies incorrectly or too tightly may lead to hip problems such as hip dislocation or hip dysplasia. If swaddling your baby, pediatricians recommend “hip-healthy swaddling,” allowing the baby’s legs to bend up and out.
  • Swaddling may also affect a baby’s body heat. Using too many wraps, or excessively warm fabric can cause the baby to overheat.
  • Swaddling may interfere with breast-feeding. Studies indicate that swaddled babies tend to breastfeed less frequently. Infrequent nursing also affects your milk supply.

How To Swaddle

  • Start with a diamond shape. Spread the blanket out, with one corner folded down.
  • Place the baby on the blanket, on her back, with her head above the folded corner.
  • Pull one side of the blanket across the baby’s chest and tuck under her opposite arm.
  • Fold the bottom of the blanket over the baby’s feet and tuck behind the baby’s shoulder.
  • Pull the remaining side of the blanket across the baby’s chest and tuck it under.
  • Always check to make sure the baby’s hips can move and that the blanket is not too tight.

When To Stop Swaddling 

Many babies begin to roll at approximately 4 months and doctors want swaddling to end before the baby starts to roll. Therefore, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that parents stop swaddling babies at 2 months of age.

Every baby is unique. If the swaddling is done properly, there may be many benefits. If you have questions, be sure to check out our doctor approved online parenting courses.

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