Baby Swaddling: What You Should Know

Swaddling: Is it Safe?

New parents typically discover how to swaddle their baby from the nurses in the healthcare facility. A blanket covered snuggly around your baby’s body can resemble the mom’s womb and aid relieve your newborn. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that when done properly, swaddling can be a reliable strategy to help calm infants and promote sleep.

However if you prepare to swaddle your infant at home, you need to follow a couple of guidelines to make sure you are doing it safely.

Swaddling is the art of comfortably wrapping a baby in a blanket for warmth and security. It can keep your baby from being disturbed by her own startle reflex, and it can assist her stay warm and cozy for the first few days of life up until her internal thermostat begins. It might even help to relax your baby.

Back to Sleep

To minimize the risk of Abrupt Baby Death Syndrome, or SIDS, it is essential to place your baby to sleep on his back, every time you put him to sleep. This may be even more essential if your baby is swaddled. Some studies have actually shown an increased risk of SIDS and unintentional suffocation when babies are swaddled if they are placed on their stomach to sleep, or if they roll onto their stomach, says Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP, chair of the task force that authored the AAP’s safe sleep recomm endations.

When to Stop Swaddling

” I would stop swaddling by age 2 months, prior to the baby deliberately starts to attempt to roll,” Dr. Moon says. “If babies are swaddled, they must be positioned just on their back and monitored so they don’t mistakenly roll over.”

Know the Dangers

Parents ought to know that there are some threats to swaddling, Dr. Moon says. Swaddling may reduce a baby’s arousal, so that it’s harder for the baby to get up. “That is why parents like swaddling– the baby sleeps longer and does not get up as easily,” she stated. “But we understand that decreased stimulation can be an issue and may be one of the main factors that babies pass away of SIDS.”

Baby Swaddling What You Should Know

AAP Safe Sleep Recommendations

The AAP advises parents follow the safe sleep recommendations whenever they put their baby to sleep for naps or at nighttime:

  • Put your baby on her back to sleep, and monitor her to be sure she doesn’t roll over while swaddled.
  • Do not have any loose blankets in your baby’s crib. A loose blanket, consisting of a swaddling blanket that comes unwrapped, might cover your baby’s face and increase the risk of suffocation.
  • Use care when purchasing items that declare to decrease the risk of SIDS. Wedges, positioners, unique mattresses and specialized sleep surface areas have not been revealed to reduce the risk of SIDS, according to the AAP.
  • Your baby is safest in her own baby crib or bassinet, not in your bed.
  • Swaddling can increase the chance your baby will get too hot, so prevent letting your baby get too hot. The baby might be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and rapid breathing.
  • Think about using a pacifier for naps and bedtime.
  • Place the baby crib in an area that is constantly smoke-free.

Keep Hips Loose

Babies who are swaddled too securely might develop an issue with their hips. Studies have actually discovered that correcting the alignment of and firmly covering a baby’s legs can cause hip dislocation or hip dysplasia, an irregular development of the hip joint where the top of the thigh bone is not held securely in the socket of the hip.

The Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of The United States and Canada, with the AAP Section on Orthopaedics, promotes “hip-healthy swaddling” that enables the baby’s legs to flex up and out.

How to Swaddle Correctly

  1. To swaddle, spread out the blanket out flat, with one corner folded down.
  2. Lay the baby face-up on the blanket, with her head above the folded corner.
  3. Align her left arm, and cover the left corner of the blanket over her body and tuck it between her right arm and the right side of her body.
  4. Then tuck the right arm down, and fold the right corner of the blanket over her body and under her left side.
  5. Fold or twist the bottom of the blanket loosely and tuck it under one side of the baby.
  6. Ensure her hips can move and that the blanket is not too tight. “You want to have the ability to get at least two or three fingers between the baby’s chest and the swaddle,” Dr. Moon explains.

Swaddling in Childcare

Some child care centers might have a policy versus swaddling infants in their care. This is because of the increased dangers of SIDS or suffocation if the baby rolls over while swaddled, in addition to the other dangers of overheating and hip dysplasia.

” We recommend babies wait to enter a child care center up until they are about 3 months old, and already swaddling need to have been phased out due to the fact that the babies are more active and rolling,” stated Danette Glassy, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Section on Early Education and Child Care and the AAP agent on a panel that wrote standards for childcare companies.

The guidelines, Caring for Our Children, National Health and Safety Efficiency Standards, which are jointly published by the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education, the AAP and the American Public Health Association, do not ban swaddling in childcare centers, however they state swaddling is not essential or advised. As a result, some childcare centers, and the states where they are located, are implementing more powerful suggestions versus swaddling in child care settings.

” Compared with a personal home, where a couple of individuals are taking care of an infant, a childcare center typically has a variety of caregivers, who might have variations in their swaddling method,” Dr. Glassy states. “This raises an issue due to the fact that studies reveal babies who are not usually swaddled respond differently when swaddled for the first time at this older age.” They might have a harder time getting up, which increases their risk of SIDS.

” The distinction in the guidance for swaddling at home or the healthcare facility nursery, versus in a child care center, really comes down to the age of the child and the setting,” Dr. Glassy says. “A newborn can be swaddled properly and put on his back in his baby crib at home, and it can assist comfort and relieve him to sleep. When the child is older, in a new environment, with a various caretaker, he is learning how to roll, and perhaps he hasn’t been swaddled before, swaddling becomes more tough and risky.”.

Additional Info

  • Hip-Healthy Swaddling (International Hip Dypslasia Institute) – Learn more about the result of tight swaddling on the soft hips of babies and see short videos to discover hip-healthy methods to swaddle your baby.


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