What is swaddling?
Swaddling is a practice that has been popular for many, many years and involves wrapping little ones up gently in a light, breathable blanket. The aim of swaddling is to make your baby feel snug and secure, just like they did when they were in the womb.
What are the benefits of swaddling my baby?
The most popular reason for swaddling little ones because it can help them settle quicker and for longer. Swaddling can help prevent unnecessary wake ups caused by baby’s startle reflex by keeping their arms and legs contained and snug.
The first three months of your little ones life is often referred to as the ‘fourth trimester’ or the ‘transitional trimester’ where your baby adapts to life outside of the womb.
What are the risks of swaddling?
There are a few risks when it comes to swaddling if it’s not done properly. It’s important to not use thick blankets or swaddle using too many layers.
How do I swaddle my baby safely?
Follow these seven top tips from NCT.org for safe swaddling:
- Swaddle your baby using thin and breathable materials. Suitable cloth includes cotton blankets, cotton muslin wraps or specialised cotton baby swaddles. Do not over layer.
- Don’t swaddle your baby above their shoulders – their neck and head should never be swaddled
- Wrap your baby firmly but gently (not too tightly). Tight swaddling that stops your baby’s hips and knees moving freely is not recommended. Swaddling your baby too tight might cause hip dysplasia, which is where the hip does not form correctly.
- Make sure your baby is able to move their hips and knees freely to kick. Your baby’s legs should be able to fall into a natural position (like frogs legs).
- Always put your baby to sleep on their back. Never put a swaddled baby to sleep on their front or side
- Check your baby’s temperature regularly to make sure they don’t get too hot or overheat. Check they’re wearing suitable for the weather too.
- If someone else looks after your baby, make sure they also know about safe sleeping advice and how to swaddle safely. Take your time to show them and explain safe swaddling and make sure they know to always put your baby to sleep on their back
Find out lots more useful information on swaddling on the NCT website.
How long can I swaddle my baby for?
Swaddling should begin when your little one is newborn. When your little one shows signs that they’re learning to roll over, they should be transitioned away from swaddling. Baby’s can start to learn to roll over as early as two to three months old.
Our resident baby sleep expert Jo Tantum has done a short video on her swaddling advice from her favourite products for safe swaddling and the benefits of it: