SWADDLING BABY: BENEFITS & SAFETY TIPS
Moms, caretakers and nurses have followed the custom of swaddling babies for centuries among many cultures. But why? What are the benefits of swaddling?
Here's what you need to know... I've compiled 10 benefits, 7 safety tips & the best swaddling essential you need in your hospital bag from top Doctors, medical studies, the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP), the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI) and yours truly, an experienced mother.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SWADDLING?
1. SWADDLING MAY LEAD TO LONGER, SOUNDER SLEEP.
By mimicking the familiar womb-like position and a parent's soothing embrace, swaddling appears to comfort and soothe baby leading to longer, deeper sleep - meaning more sleep for you!
2. SWADDLING REDUCES THE MORO "STARTLE" REFLEX.
Newborns have limited motor control of their arms and legs. When startled, they reflexively sprawl all four limbs out which can jolt them awake - it's actually adorable but not so much when the cry follows at 3am. Swaddling keeps their limbs securely close to their body and less likely to rouse them from sleep when the reflex kicks in.
3. SWADDLING MAY SOOTHE A CRYING OR COLICKY BABY.
Research has shown that swaddling can decrease crying by 42% in infants 8 weeks old or younger.
4. SWADDLING REDUCES THE CHANCE YOUR BABY WILL ROLL OVER.
Baby is less able to spread their arms and legs wide from the moro reflex which can provide their little bodies with enough momentum to roll over to an unsafe sleeping position.
5. SWADDLING MAY REDUCE THE RISK OF SIDS
By keeping them in a safe, face-up sleeping position on their backs.
6. SWADDLING HELPS BABY EASILY TRANSITION TO CRIB OR BASSINET
By mimicking the comforting womb-like position and a parent's soothing embrace. Mom is also less anxious of the transition due to all the above!
7. SWADDLING ELIMINATES THE NEED FOR COMFORT ITEMS IN CRIB.
There is no need for loose blankets, bumpers or stuffed animals. Placing these items in crib with baby has been linked to SIDS.
8. SWADDLING HELPS REGULATE BODY TEMPERATURE
While their bodies learn to regulate their own temperature.
9. SWADDLING PREVENTS BABY FROM SCRATCHING THEIR PRECIOUS FACE.
10. SWADDLING MEANS YOU CAN START GETTING MORE SLEEP BACK!
SHOULD I SWADDLE?
This is a personal decision that only you can make for your baby. Many babies are comforted when swaddled and many parents are comforted by the benefits mentioned above. But, every babies' needs are unique. Your baby will let you know.
IS SWADDLING SAFE?
Please make sure to follow this checklist to ensure your baby is safe when swaddled:
- DO place baby on their back to sleep while swaddled.
- DO ensure baby's legs are in the safe, womb-like "M" position and not pulled straight down to prevent hip dysplasia.
- DO ensure baby is dressed appropriately under swaddle and not likely to overheat.
- DON'T cover your baby's mouth, nose or face to avoid suffocation.
- DON'T swaddle too tightly to avoid overheating or poor circulation.
- DON'T swaddle all day. Baby needs freedom to stretch and explore. Keep the swaddling routine for sleep.
- DO stop swaddling as soon as baby shows signs of rolling over or when they lose signs of the moro reflex, whichever comes first. This is typically between 4-6 months but will vary per child.
WHY IS SWADDLING SO DIFFICULT?
As a new parent, finding the perfect folding technique to swaddle your baby can be daunting. Trust me, I've been there...in fact, I was just there.
It can feel like an origami puzzle and when you are on little sleep...in the middle of the night...on the fourth feeding...the last thing you want to do is solve another puzzle. Right? You just want to put your baby safely back to sleep so you can also grab a few hours of peaceful sleep yourself. Amen.
Okay, so what do you do? I'll tell you...
You grab this simple 2-step swaddle with built-in pouches.
In just TWO quick steps, your baby will be swaddled and ready for sleep. I'm telling you, it's a game changer! No puzzles. No frustrating snaps or buttons to match up. No noisy velcro to wake baby. No fear of zippers piercing your baby's precious skin. And it's reversible too - 2 in 1!
WHEN SHOULD I STOP SWADDLING?
The AAP recommends parents stop swaddling as soon as baby shows signs of rolling over. Baby will simultaneously show signs of losing the moro reflex around this developmental phase as well. This is typically between 4-6 months but will vary per child.
The "Fourth Trimester" (a.k.a the first three months of baby’s life out of the womb) is a major transition as baby's senses experience the outside world for the first time. It's no surprise that with all this new-ness they are exposed to that babies are more relaxed when held close in a secure position or when swaddled to mimic this embrace - feeling much like their home the past 9 months. Just make sure to swaddle safely and please make it easy on yourself with the fuss-free, two-step Cocoon Swaddle!
- American Academy of Pediatrics, Swaddling: A Systematic Review
- American Academy of Pediatrics, healthychildren.org
- American Academy of Pediatrics, AAP News
- International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI), hipdysplasia.org
- Journal of Pediatrics, PubMed.gov