Swaddling is the process of wrapping a baby in a sheet or blanket to help them feel warm, secure, and safe. Wrapping the newborn stops them from startling due to body reflexes, helps them sleep longer, and gives that security they felt in the womb. When swaddling your infant, do it safely by:
Placing the Infant on their Back
When placing your baby to sleep, kindly do make them lie on the back. Placing them on their sides or stomach can cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It is even more dangerous to place a swaddled baby on their front or side. An infant sleeping on its tummy can be trapped in a restrictive breathing position. For those on their sides, they can roll accidentally or intentionally.
Ensure Your Swaddled Baby Cannot Roll
Once your infant starts to roll over, it’s best to stop swaddling them. A mobile infant can flip, thereby hurting themselves. Some babies start rolling as early as at the age of two months; however, you can stop swaddling when they begin rolling ability despite their age.
Avoid Swaddling A Baby Tightly
Tightly swaddled infants may have difficulty in breathing. Thus, to prevent suffocation, ensure the swaddle holds the arms tightly, but it still leaves space between the blanket and the chest. Also, the leg area should be loosely fitted to allow the legs to bend out and up. On the contrary, loosely fitting ones can be undone and cover the kid’s face, thereby suffocating them.
Tightly swaddled infants can also develop hip problems. You can ensure your swaddled baby snug and can move their legs. Additionally, the infant’s knees and hips should be straight when swaddling.
Additionally, you can prevent hip problems in your infant by using a hip-friendly infant carrier and avoiding the use of walkers for older babies. These walkers can cause damages to the soft developing baby hip tissues.
Avoid Swaddling with Thick Unbreathable Materials
Thick wraps can overheat, causing SIDS. Hence always use light breathable wrap when swaddling your baby. During the summer, the weather is warm, and you can dress your toddler in diapers only or light clothes before wrapping them.
But you need to be keen and unwrap your infant if you notice signs of rapid breathing, excess sweating, heat rush, or flushed skin. When using large swaddling blankets, ensure your kid cannot pop the hands out and grab the fabric to the face, thereby restricting breathing.
Keep Loose Items from The Toddler’s Crib
Your infant’s crib needs to have loose items in it. It’s best to keep items such as pillows, stuffed animals, and loose blankets out of the sleeping area. These items pose a suffocation risk. You can consult with your pediatrician on when your baby can safely begin using pillows and blankets.
Let Your Toddler Sleep for Enough Time
Never let your swaddled infant sleep for long hours without supervision. When you wrap them, their instinct to stir up diminishes. When you check on them, you can notice in case there is an issue. When your baby excessively sleeps, they may fail to nurse as required, which may diminish breast milk supply. Hence you can wake up your swaddled newborn, breastfeed them, and they go back to sleep.
When swaddling, place the newborn on their back, swaddle babies who cannot roll, avoid doing it tightly, use light breathable materials, ensure they sleep for enough time and avoid placing items on the cribs.