All you need to know about swaddle your baby
Swaddling: Is it safe?
New parents often learn how to swaddle their baby in a blanket from hospital nurses. Swaddling your baby with a tight blanket around your baby's body can resemble the womb and help soothe your newborn baby.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that when done correctly, swaddling (like a tamalito or burrito) can be an effective technique to help soothe the baby and promote sleep.
But if you plan to swaddle your baby at home, you should follow some guidelines to make sure you're doing it safely.
Sleeping on your stomach - on your back
To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, it is important to place your baby to sleep on his or her back (on the back) whenever you put your baby to sleep.
This may be even more important than swaddling your baby.
Some studies have found that there is an increased risk of SIDS and accidental suffocation when swaddled babies are placed on their stomachs to sleep (face down), or if they roll over on their stomachs on their own, says Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP, chair of the group that wrote the AAP's safe sleep recommendations.
"If you swaddle your baby, you should swaddle him exclusively on his back and watch him so he doesn't accidentally roll over," says Dr. Moon.
When to stop swaddling your baby
Parents should stop swaddling their baby as soon as he shows signs of trying to roll over on his own. Many babies start to roll over around 2 months of age.
There is no evidence regarding the risk of SIDS whether or not the arms are left out.
Know the risks
Parents should be aware that there are some risks when swaddling a baby, says Dr. Moon. Swaddling babies (like tamalito) can decrease their ability to wake up, making it harder for them to wake up.
"That's why parents like to swaddle them - so the baby sleeps longer and doesn't wake up easily," she said.
"We just know that decreased ability to wake up can be a problem and may be one of the main reasons babies die from SIDS."
AAP Safe Sleep Recommendations
The AAP recommends that parents follow safe sleep recommendations every time they place their baby to sleep, whether during naps or at night:
-Place your baby on his or her back and supervise him or her to make sure he or she doesn't roll over while swaddled.
-Do not keep loose blankets in your baby's cot. A loose blanket, including if the swaddling blanket comes loose, could cover your baby's face and increase the risk of suffocation.
-Use caution when purchasing products that promise to reduce the risk of SIDS. Sleep positioners and special surface mattresses have not been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS, according to the AAP.
-Your baby is safest in his or her own cot or bassinet, not in your bed.
-Swaddling can increase the likelihood that your baby will overheat, so avoid overheating. Your baby may be overheated if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, a rash (miliaria) and rapid breathing.
-Consider using a dummy during naps or bedtime.
-Always place the cot in smoke-free areas.
What about dressing blankets or sleeping bags?
Baby sleep clothing such as dressing blankets or sleeping bags are preferable to blankets or blankets that are placed over the baby to keep him/her warm.
A safe sleeping environment for a baby should be free of loose bedding and soft objects. However, as is the case with regular swaddling blankets, the use of dressing blankets or sleep sacks that compress/tighten the arms, chest or body should be discontinued once the baby shows signs of beginning to turn over on his or her own.
Sleep sacks that do not wrap tightly around the baby and allow the baby to move around easily can be used indefinitely.
Read more about the use of Baby Sleeping Bags