What is swaddling?
Swaddling is simply wrapping up your baby gently, so they can’t move their arms. To your baby being swaddled can replicate the feeling they had of being in the womb.
Swaddling gives babies a sense of comfort and security and has been proven to improve the quality of sleep in young babies. It helps to reduce the startle or Moro reflex that can disturb your baby’s sleep.
When swaddling you should only wrap baby’s body and not their neck or head.
Is swaddling safe?
Yes, if you follow safe sleeping and safe and hip friendly swaddling guidance for babies. Safe baby sleeping advice is to always lay your little one down to sleep on their back and avoid front or side positions for sleep, especially if your baby is swaddled.
You should stop swaddling your baby when they show the first signs of rolling over.
How to swaddle your baby safely
The safest way to swaddle is to do it from birth rather than suddenly introduce swaddling at the vulnerable age of 3 months when the SIDS risk is highest.
Use a light cotton material such as a newborn swaddle or swaddle blanket and make sure that the swaddling finishes at shoulder height. Your baby’s head must be uncovered.
Never place your baby on their tummy – especially when they are swaddled.
Use hip-healthy swaddling techniques to that allow your baby's hips and knees to move freely to reduce the risk of hip dysplasia. Your baby’s legs should be able to fall into a natural position (like frog legs).
Check your baby’s temperature regularly to make sure they don’t get too hot or overheat. Check they’re wearing suitable clothes for the weather too.
Our swaddle sleepwear is specially designed for safe swaddling and is acknowledged as ‘hip healthy’ by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI) when used as directed. The design helps to ensure that baby’s legs are in a natural froggy-legged position when sleeping.
Should I swaddle or not swaddle my baby?
Not all babies are swaddled of course, but there are a few circumstances which make it helpful as a settling tool;
When swaddling can be helpful:
If baby is startling themselves awake
You might have noticed as your baby is falling asleep, they suddenly twitch or jerk and wake up. These “sleep starts” or myclonic jerks are perfectly normal but in some babies, they can delay the onset of sleep and make the whole process of drifting off a real struggle. Being swaddled prevents the flailing of your baby’s limbs which tends to wake them up.
Babies who have eczema or other itches
By containing a baby’s hands, swaddling prevents them from scratching or rubbing as they go to sleep and during sleep itself. Lots of babies scratch or rub as they fall asleep, and due to the “itch – scratch – itch” cycle, we know that preventing the scratching will also prevent the itching and will lead to better quality sleep.
Babies who are fretful and unsettled
There are many reasons why some babies are more unsettled than others – discomfort and hunger are the most obvious, but sometimes, they just want a cuddle. It would be lovely if they could be held all day and night, but there are times when you have to put them down and swaddling will help to give them a feeling of security.