Safe Swaddling for Safe Sleep
by Bryant Figueroa on Sep 08, 2017
There are a few things I know to be true about newborns in the first days of their life - from breastfeeding to swaddling to soothing and sleep – it all feels like a big mystery. You and your baby are both confused about what to do in those earlier days.
This is normal.
I remember being completely confused as to why my little girl didn’t just latch right on and start going to town to fill her belly with milk. That’s what I read should happen, that’s how it always seemed to be portrayed in movies or otherwise, so that’s what I assumed would happen. But, the truth is, breastfeeding is not always an intuitive thing for you and your baby. However, after some helpful tips and guidance, we both got the hang of it and all was well in our nursing world.
Babywearing was a sanity saver with our twins. I had one child who loved being held, and babywearing ensured that I could carry her safely while still keeping my hands free to tend to her more active and independent twin sister.
Swaddling was a sanity saver when it came to keeping our babies asleep, and my husband was the swaddling master. My oldest had a startle reflex that would wake her out of a deep sleep, so wrapping her up at bedtime eliminated that issue. He’d wrap all of our girls up like little ‘burritos’, and it often ensured we would have a few hours of solid sleep.
So how do you ensure you’ve swaddled safely? Here are a few essential tips.
Keep the Swaddle Snug
It’s important to ensure the swaddle isn’t too tight or too loose. You want to leave room for comfortable breathing after swaddling. If you can slip two to three fingers between baby and the blanket, that is a good indicator of a snug swaddle that’s not too tight. Your goal should be a snug swaddle around the arms, but looser around the hips so baby can bring legs up into the ‘frog’ position. Finally, be mindful of loose fabric, when safe swaddling, so it doesn’t shift to cover baby’s face or result in entangling.
Regulate Baby’s Body Temperature
Infants are sensitive to extremes in temperature and cannot regulate their body temperatures well, so it is important to ensure that baby does not overheat. Outside of keeping room temperatures regulated, if you want to swaddle your little one, use a swaddle blanket like the Baby K’tan Newborn Swaddle which is made of a breathable, 100% cotton mesh. You can also dress baby in a sleep sack and/or in lighter layers and without a hat. If baby is already swaddled, a hat may lead to overheating.
Back to sleep for baby
Always place baby to sleep on his back, especially if swaddled. Some studies have shown an increased risk of SIDS if baby is placed to sleep on his stomach, or if baby rolls onto his stomach while swaddled.
Swaddling when done right can be a great solution to sleep struggles with your little one. Start using this safe swaddling strategy in the earlier months, to ensure your baby is accustomed to the practice.
For more safe sleep and swaddle tips, check out our Snooze Series on the Baby K’tan website:
4 Easy Ways to Help Newborns Sleep Better
How Babywearing Can Make You and Your BabyHappy