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- A swaddled newborn is 33% less likely to suffer from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) than an unwrapped, back-sleeping baby.
- Swaddling can be used until your baby is able to roll over on their own, which usually happens after about four to six months.
- Swaddling a newborn can provide your baby comfort, keep them safe, and help them sleep better. See below for step-by-step instructions on how to swaddle your newborn.
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Swaddling a baby may be an old-fashioned technique, but it’s still widely used by parents today because it recreates the secure environment of the womb and can help calm your newborn.
Moreover, pediatricians encourage the practice to help babies sleep better, decrease general fussiness, and protect against SIDS. All you need is a simple blanket and these four steps:
Step 1: Use a square or rectangular lightweight baby blanket and lay it flat in a diamond shape. Fold the top corner down three or four inches. This is where you will lay the baby’s head so the back of his or her neck is over the edge of the folded corner.
Step 2: Lay your baby on the blanket face up. Take the far left corner of the blanket and fold it over the baby’s left shoulder across his or her body tucking their left arm under the blanket. Secure the corner under the baby’s bottom.
Step 3: Next, take the near corner closest to you and fold it up over the length of your baby and tuck it behind their right shoulder covering his or her other arm.
Step 4: Finally, using the final corner, fold snugly across the body avoiding the neck and wrap under the left side tucking it into one of the folds in the back or front — depending on how big the blanket is. Make sure not to cover your baby’s nose or mouth and make sure not to make the wrap too tight.
The swaddle should be snug on the baby “while still allowing enough room to insert your hand between the swaddle and the baby’s chest and loose around the hips to allow for movement,” says Cara Dumaplin, a neonatal registered nurse and certified pediatric sleep consultant. Swaddling too snugly around the hips can increase the risk of hip dysplasia and can also do the opposite of calming the baby.
“We don’t think about it as adults but when you don’t have control of your arms and legs, all that information becomes extra input into a baby’s brain,” says Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and a member of the executive council on early childhood at the American Academy of Pediatrics. “It can be overwhelming if they are already fussy and tired.”
Keto diet foods keto diet recipes keto pills keto diet menu for beginners keto diet for beginners keto diet explained Swaddling is important for the health of both the baby and parents
Swaddling has been done for generations to calm babies, but in 1992 researchers began to connect stomach-sleeping with an increased risk of SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, then recommended all babies sleep on their backs to combat the rising prevalence of SIDS.
The AAP says “that babies who sleep on the back – swaddled – have about 33% less SIDS than unwrapped back-sleeping babies.”
Swaddling babies not only decreases the likelihood of SIDS by encouraging back sleeping, but by reducing crying in babies, swaddling can decrease the risk of Shaken Baby Syndrome and even Postpartum Depression by providing caregivers more sleep.
“Not swaddling your baby is not specifically dangerous or harmful in itself. However, babies who are not swaddled may struggle with sleep, which, in turn, can cause a parent sleep problem,” says Cara Dumaplin.
Dumaplin founded Taking Cara Babies, a series of courses online that teaches caregivers how to get babies to sleep better. She points to a study on lack of sleep in parents leading to an increase in postpartum depression. Swaddling is one of the main tenets of her program to combat poor sleep in both parents and babies.
Keto diet foods keto diet recipes keto pills keto diet menu for beginners keto diet for beginners keto diet explained You can swaddle your newborn anytime they’re ready for sleep
Dumaplin tells Insider that a swaddle should be used anytime a baby goes down for sleep, including naps. That’s because, in addition to its calming effect on babies, it also can help reduce the number of times newborns wake themselves from involuntary arm and leg movements.
You may swaddle your newborn to sleep until they can roll over on their own, which usually begins around four to six months. It’s very important that you stop swaddling them after they start to roll over on their own because swaddled babies who roll from their back onto their belly could have trouble lifting themselves up and they could asphyxiate.
Keto diet foods keto diet recipes keto pills keto diet menu for beginners keto diet for beginners keto diet explained Not every baby needs to be swaddled
It’s important to know that, like many techniques in early childcare, swaddling does not work for every baby. Dr. Navsaria says not all babies like to be swaddled and if they continually are fighting it, a caregiver should not force it on the child.
“It’s just another tool in a parent or caregiver’s toolbox of ways to calm a child,” he says. Discuss with your pediatrician any concerns with regards to sleep and your baby.
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