Parents have swaddled their sleeping babies for thousands of years. And while it is true that there is nothing quite as cute as a newborn baby wrapped like a tiny burrito, it is the gift of sleep that makes this ancient practice so popular.
Baby swaddles can be a savior for many parents as they imitate the familiar and snuggly environment of the womb, allowing babies to feel safe and peaceful as they drift off to sleep. In addition, recent research has revealed what parents have long known to be true, showing that swaddling can increase an infant’s sleep duration and reduce sleep state changes.
Although swaddling has many benefits, there are important facts to keep in mind to ensure your baby stays safe and healthy.
Swaddled babies must be placed on their backs
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all babies are placed on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, this is particularly important if you are swaddling your little one. When you wrap those tiny little arms up in the swaddle blanket, it inhibits your baby’s ability to readjust their position in the crib if needed, which could result in a loss of oxygen or suffocation.
Some babies have trouble sleeping on their backs because they startle themselves awake. Swaddling can help reduce this startle reflex, allowing your baby to sleep comfortably on their back in alignment with the safe sleep guidelines.
Baby swaddles can increase the risk of overheating
A normal body temperature for an infant is between 96.8 and 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit. During the first few months of life, your little one is still developing their temperature regulation system making them more susceptible to thermal stress.
Swaddling can increase the chance of your baby overheating, so it is essential to monitor your little one’s temperature and check for signs that they may be too hot such as:
- Flushed cheeks
- Sweating and damp hair
- Rapid breathing
- Heat rash
Not all blankets are suitable for swaddling
The blanket you use to swaddle your baby impacts the safety and effectiveness of the practice. The best swaddle blankets are square-shaped, non-elastic, and a minimum of 45 inches on each side. Most importantly, the fabric should be soft and breathable, like muslin cotton, to help ensure your little one does not overheat.
Incorrect swaddling technique may harm baby’s hips
When you watch a nurse swaddle your newborn baby, they make it look so effortless. But, while trying to replicate this art form on your own, you may question whether you need to take an origami class. Perfecting the swaddling technique can take time and patience, but recent research suggests that getting it right is crucial for the healthy development of your little one’s hips.
Wrapping a baby too tightly can inhibit their ability to move their hips upwards and outwards, hindering the natural development of the hip joint and increasing the risk of hip dysplasia. Instead, ensure the swaddle is loosely folded around the baby’s legs, so they have plenty of room to bend and move their hips.
Pro-tip – Check out some of the fantastic new baby swaddles available on the market that don’t require you to be an origami ninja at 2 am in the morning.
Swaddling is only safe for a limited time
Baby swaddles can be a lifesaver in helping your newborn sleep more soundly, but within a few short months, your little one will be itching to get mobile and start rolling on their stomach. Though every child is different, babies can begin to roll over from as early as two months. Once your little one is mobile, they could potentially kick off the swaddle blanket, making it a possible suffocation or strangulation hazard.
So how do you continue to provide comfort to your little one when the AAP safe sleep guidelines outline that there should be no toys or loose blankets in the crib?
Don’t panic… this is exactly why the Snuggy Buddy was developed.
The Snuggy Buddy Wearable Lovey Blanket features a plush butterfly lovey that is safely attached at chest height so your little one can self-soothe while keeping the crib free of blankets and toys. With extra leg room, adjustable shoulder straps, and even options for your walking toddler, Snuggy Buddy have you covered because quality sleep is essential for your little one’s health…and yours too!