3 Steps to Safe Swaddling
Swaddling can be hugely helpful in soothing a fussy baby and helping him go for longer stretches of deeper sleep.
However, if done incorrectly, swaddling can be downright dangerous! I partnered with Wunderkin Co in creating this video to spread awareness of swaddling safety. Here’s what you need to know:
Safe Swaddling Guidelines
- Tight on top, loose on bottom. Wrap the swaddle tightly across your baby’s upper body as tightly as you can, so that the fabric lies flush against her chest. Any loose fabric can ride up over her face and pose a suffocation risk. On the flip side, you want to make sure that her hips and legs have plenty of wiggle room in the bottom half of your baby’s wrap. Tightly bound legs are a no-no for babies, as it can lead to hip dysplasia, which can allow the hip joint to become dislocated. So remember, tight on the top, loose on bottom.
- Fit a hand down the Front. While you want the top part of the swaddle to be nice and snug, you also want to make sure that your baby has ample breathing room in that wrap. You should be able to squeeze an adult sized hand down the front of the swaddle near your baby’s neck, as a litmus test for breathing room.
- Don’t Let Baby Get Too Hot. Overheating is a risk factor for SIDS, and a swaddle is an additional layer. Always keep your baby’s temperature in mind when putting her down for sleep. The best way to keep a gage on this is to only dress your baby in one more layer than what you are wearing. If you’re wearing an undershirt and a tee, then it’s fine to put your baby in her swaddle with an undershirt and her pajamas. If your house is feeling hot and you’re walking around in an undershirt, then skip your baby’s pajamas and go with a onesie and a thin swaddle blanket. Feel your baby’s cheeks, hair and neck to check if she’s too warm. If her hands and feet are cool, that’s a good sign. Keeping her room between 68-72 degrees is usually comfortable for most babies.
- Never Place a Swaddled Baby on Her Tummy. EVER! The Safe Sleep Guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics include laying your baby down to sleep on her back for all sleep times – nights and naps. This rule is magnified tenfold when your baby is swaddled. A swaddled baby has little use of her arms and if she ends up facedown on the mattress, she won’t can’t be able to rescue hersefl. Always, always, ALWAYS lay your baby down on her back when she’s swaddled. Even if it’s not nap time, and even if you’re right there.
- Keep the Crib Bare. Your baby’s crib should be completely empty. I know. That plush pink hippo in the corner of the crib is too cute – but it’s a suffocation risk. You’re best off saving it for tummy time, when you can supervise your baby the whole time. Make sure that aside from the swaddle, there are no other blankets, pillows, toys or stuffed animals in your baby’s crib.
- Stop Swaddling When Your Baby Rolls. Once your baby starts rolling, it’s time to move on from the swaddle. A swaddled baby who rolls onto her belly can get stuck risk suffocation or entrapment. Once your baby starts rolling over on her own, transition her out of the swaddle and move her into the next stage sleep wear, like a halo sleep sack or the zipadee zip.