For many new parents, learning to swaddle their newborn properly is a lifesaver in their efforts to quickly put their baby down to sleep. However, there are a wide variety of safety considerations that should be kept in mind when swaddling your child through the stages of their development. Read on to learn more about safe swaddling and how to evolve your swaddle as your baby grows.
Swaddling is an age-old practice of wrapping a baby tightly for warmth and security using a blanket or cloth. Swaddles are useful in helping most babies to sleep longer because it prevents their startle reflex from waking them up prematurely. As a bonus, babies like being swaddled because it reminds them of the tight confines of the womb. While there are lots of different types and ways to wrap a baby, safe swaddling practices apply to all of them. Since there are so many options, it is also important to experiment so you can find the swaddle that works best for you and your baby.
On Their Back
For all newborns, it is critical to make sure they are put down to sleep on their back because it is proven to be the safest position for preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Until their startle reflex goes away, it is advisable to keep your infant tightly swaddled with their arms in close to their body. As they grow stronger, tight swaddling helps to keep their arms from getting loose and waking them up. As part of safe swaddling techniques, it is important to make sure the swaddle stays slightly below the shoulders, so there is a minimal chance of fabric covering the mouth or nose. This recommendation is consistent with the necessity to make sure there are no objects in the crib such as bumpers, blankets, and stuffed animals which could cause suffocation during sleep.
Once They Begin to Roll
Safe swaddling changes once your child starts to roll over from back to front. As you can imagine, when a baby first starts rolling over they need their arms to support their body and keep their head off the ground so leaving an infant swaddled arms in once they can roll presents a dangerous situation. Even if they are not rolling consistently it is advisable to switch to a transition swaddle such as the Swaddle Up until they can roll consistently from back to front as well as front to back. Since it is desirable to keep your child sleeping on their back as long as possible, it is advisable to turn your baby back onto their back when they roll over while sleeping.