Swaddling is a technique that can help soothe and calm a fussy baby, but it’s important to do it safely. Make sure the baby is not too hot, and use a light blanket so the baby can’t roll over and become trapped.
Here are eight of the very safest and most effective ways to swaddle an infant. Swaddling can be a great way to help your little one get some much-needed sleep, but make sure you follow these tips to keep them safe.
Use a thin blanket
It’s safer and more comfortable for babies than a thicker blanket, and it’s less likely to cause them to overheat. A thin blanket also helps prevent the baby from rolling over.
Thin blankets are also much less likely to be pulled over the baby’s face, which could cause suffocation.
Using a thin blanket is also easier for parents to use, and it gives them a greater sense of control.
A thin blanket can be tucked in securely without the need for complicated knots and ties, and it also allows parents to use sleep sacks and other wearable blankets without interfering with swaddling.
Have the infant wear light layers
Multiple layers of clothing make it difficult for swaddling, so keep the number of layers down to a minimum. A thin onesie followed by a thin blanket is best.
If you need additional warmth, use wearable blankets that are specifically designed for swaddling. Never use thick, fluffy blankets or towels for swaddling, as they can cause the infant to overheat.
The baby needs to be warm, but not hot, so it’s important to keep an eye on the temperature of the room.
Dress your baby in one or two thin layers and check them often to make sure they aren’t too hot, especially after a bath.
You should only swaddle if you know how
If you’ve never swaddled before, take a class from a certified instructor or check out some videos online before trying it yourself.
Swaddling takes time to master, so you need to know what you’re doing before you try it with your baby.
Swaddling when the infant is crying can be frustrating, and if you’ve never done it before there’s a good chance that they won’t stay wrapped up.
Save swaddling for naps and bedtime when you can devote your full attention to the task at hand.
Never use homemade items
Swaddling blankets, wearable blankets, and sleep sacks are all specially designed with safety in mind. They conform to all the latest safety standards, so they’re safe for babies.
While you can use a regular blanket to swaddle, it’s not the best choice. A regular blanket isn’t designed for this purpose and doesn’t provide the support needed. If you choose to use a regular blanket anyway, make sure you check that it’s a good fit and that there are no gaps between the baby and the fabric.
Don’t swaddle for too long
Babies who are swaddled need to be monitored closely. Swaddling restricts movement, which can lead to overheating. It also makes it harder for the baby to move their arms and legs, which is necessary for healthy development.
Make sure you learn the correct swaddling techniques before you take on this task.
Swaddle babies for no longer than an hour at a time, and stop the process if the baby appears agitated or their hands begin to turn bluish.
Be sure that all swaddle bands are snug
Babies should feel secure but not too tight. A good rule is that you should be able to slip two fingers between the baby’s chest and the blanket. If it’s too loose, the baby could easily break free.
If you’re unsure, or if your swaddle band is too loose, to begin with, consult a certified instructor for assistance.
Never use duct tape or other commercial products to secure the blanket. These materials can interfere with breathing and cause other complications.
Do not allow anyone else to swaddle
This may sound harsh, but experts agree that it’s the best course of action. Since swaddling is a new skill for many parents, you can’t be sure of how well they’ll do it.
Even if they’ve had some training, infants are so small and delicate that mistakes are common.
Be very firm about this one – people who have never swaddled before should never try it.
It’s not worth the risk to the baby, so don’t let anyone help you, no matter how well they think they know what to do.
Be sure the swaddling band isn’t too tight
Many parents make this mistake when they’re in a hurry or don’t want their infant to fuss. The baby needs to be able to move their arms and legs, so make sure the band isn’t too tight.
It’s better to use a lighter blanket than it is to wrap them up tightly in order to keep them calm. A slightly loose swaddle can be more comfortable for the baby, even if they squirm or fuss at first.
Swaddling can be a great way to calm and soothe a fussy baby, but it’s important to do it safely. Make sure the baby isn’t too hot, use a light blanket, and don’t swaddle for too long. Be sure that all swaddle bands are snug, but not too tight.
Only allow someone else to swaddle if they have been properly trained.