Navigating the wealth of information and conflicting advice that’s available to new parents regarding swaddling makes it tricky to digest and ultimately decide if it’s right for you and your baby. To help you decide, we’ve pulled together the key pros and cons and summarised the best practice advice from leading parenting experts.
Swaddling is the act of wrapping your baby snugly in a light breathable blanket to make them feel safe and secure and look like an adorable burrito… but it’s important to understand the correct way to swaddle, and whether it’s right for you. Read the Lullaby Trust advice on swaddling before making your decision.
The Benefits of Swaddling
It is suggested that swaddling your baby helps them settle quicker and sleep for longer. As your baby is wrapped gently with their arms and legs covered, swaddling can prevent unnecessary wake-ups caused by the startle reflex.
Some experts believe that swaddling mimics the snug feeling that babies experience in the womb, and that familiar feeling promotes calmness and serenity. It’s also possible for swaddling to prevent your baby turning from their back into a face-down position.
The Risks of Swaddling
If your baby is not swaddled in the correct way, this ancient practice may carry some risks. Swaddling too tightly may affect mobility and development, particularly hip growth.
Once your baby can roll over, swaddling should be avoided as it may prevent your baby being able to lift their head.
The extra material wrapped around your baby may increase your baby’s temperature. This must be monitored regularly.
How to Swaddle Safely
- Use thin materials – Use breathable materials and do not layer the cloth over too many times. Our Muslin Swaddle Cloths are made from breathable cotton and are soft and comfortable against your baby’s skin.
- Do not swaddle above the shoulders – Your baby’s head and neck should be free from the swaddling cloth.
- Do not swaddle too tightly – Although you should wrap your baby snugly, ensure their hips and knees should be able to move freely to avoid hip dysplasia.
- Never lay a swaddled baby on their front – A swaddled baby should always be laid on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Check your baby’s temperature – Regularly check your baby’s temperature when swaddling to avoid overheating. Do not breastfeed your baby when swaddled, as their temperature increases.
- Stop swaddling when your baby shows signs of rolling – Swaddled babies may not be able to move their head as freely as non-swaddled babies, increasing the risk of suffocation when laying on their front.
- Ensure all guardians and carers are aware of how to swaddle safely
Swaddling has been a popular practice among parents for many years, but it is not without its risks. Make sure to take a look at the Lullaby Trust advice to learn how to swaddle your baby safely.
Not sure swaddling is right for you? We have a range of cosy bedding created with your baby’s comfort in mind, featuring breathable and soft materials to promote sound sleep.