Your Guide to Swaddling Your Baby
5 min read
Last Modified 12 June 2023 First Added 5 May 2023
Welcoming a newborn into your life is a joyful experience, but it can also come with its fair share of challenges, especially when it comes to getting your little one to sleep soundly. One technique that has been used for centuries and proven to be effective is swaddling your baby, making them into the perfect bundle, ready for bed or to carry around.
In this guide, we will take you through the ins and outs of swaddling your baby, from understanding what it is to learning the proper techniques and ensuring your baby’s safety.
Swaddling is the practice of snugly wrapping your baby in a blanket to create a cosy and secure feeling, replicating the sensation of being in the womb.
This age-old technique has been passed down through generations and is known to provide comfort and promote better sleep for babies.
Swaddling offers a multitude of benefits for both babies and parents. Firstly, it helps soothe newborns by reducing their startle reflex, which can often wake them up.
Swaddling can also create a sense of security, helping babies feel calm and settled, ultimately leading to more restful sleep. Additionally, swaddling can help regulate body temperature and prevent your little ones from scratching themselves.
While swaddling is generally safe when done correctly, there are a few risks to be aware of. One concern is the potential restriction of leg movement.
Paediatric doctor and assistant professor Claire McCarthy at Harvard says this about the topic:
“For the healthy development of the hips, babies’ legs need to be able to bend up and out at the hips. Swaddling for short periods of time is likely fine, but if your baby is going to spend a significant amount of the day and night swaddled, consider using a swaddling sleep sack that lets the legs move.”
It’s essential to prioritise your baby’s safety when swaddling. Follow these tips to keep them safe and sound:
You can also speak with your local health services about learning good swaddling practices, so feel free to reach out to them.
It’s important to note that swaddling itself is not directly associated with SIDS. What is important, however, is to give your baby time to adjust to being swaddled. According to a study on minimising the risks of sudden infant death syndrome:
“The decreased cortical arousals observed in infants unfamiliar with swaddling may correspond to the increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome for inexperienced prone sleepers.”
While there is no direct evidence linking swaddling to SIDS, it’s important to follow safe sleep practices. These precautions, along with proper swaddling techniques, can help reduce the risk of SIDS.
The duration of swaddling varies for each baby. Some infants enjoy being swaddled until they are around two to three months old, while others may outgrow it sooner. Keep an eye on your baby’s cues and watch for signs that they are ready to transition out of swaddling. These signs may include attempting to roll over or showing a preference for having their arms free.
Every baby is different, so it’s important to pay attention to their individual needs and preferences.
Ready to give swaddling a try? Great! Let’s get started:
It can take time for a baby to get used to swaddling, so be patient! If they end up wriggling out of their wraps, you can try other ways to get them ready to rest. We’ve talked about how to dress your baby for a peaceful night’s sleep, so check it out for ideas, and most importantly, keep an eye on how they handle it.
Want some visual guides? Here’s a few of our favourites:
The Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust gives an overview for new parents, including other good information.
A great instructional video from RegisteredNurseRN, simple and to the point.
Looking for some more fun and unique ways to swaddle a newborn baby? LoeppkysLife has you covered.
Swaddling: will it get babies onto their backs for sleep? – PubMed – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21903621/
Minimizing the risks of sudden infant death syndrome: to swaddle or not to swaddle? – PubMed – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19540517/
Risks and Benefits of Swaddling Healthy Infants: An Integrative Review – PubMed – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28394766/
Swaddling: a systematic review – PubMed – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28394766/
The effect of swaddling on infant sleep and arousal: A systematic review and narrative synthesis – https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fped.2022.1000180/full