Swaddling Your Baby

Swaddling is a pretty hot topic.

While we were in the hospital we received conflicting information. The nurses said to swaddle arms and legs tightly and turn your baby into a baby burrito. The lactation consultant and one doctor told us that was outdated information and now they were recommending only swaddling legs and leaving arms out for safety.

We tried swaddling when we first got home. First the baby burrito technique then when he would constantly escape that we tried the arms out technique. He seemed to hate that too so we assumed that our baby hated being swaddled. We went without for the first month. He was getting up every two hours to feed at that time anyways so the swaddle didn’t matter much to us. He is a breastfed baby.

After a month he was going longer between feedings but still waking up through the night every two hours. My cousin came over and she told us you have to swaddle tight so they don’t escape and she ordered us a miracle blanket. We tried swaddling tight that night with a blanket and saw a difference. He slept longer and didn’t escape. When the miracle blanket arrived we used that and he slept for a good 4 hour stretch, then another 3 hours, then one to two hours until we woke up. It was wonderful. I think he may have liked to be swaddled from the beginning but as first time parents who were scared to swaddle too tight and squish the baby, we just weren’t doing it tight enough.

Here is the miracle blanket she ordered us:

Swaddling with the miracle blanket:

Swaddling with a blanket:


When to stop swaddling

When to stop swaddling your baby is also a hot topic!

We were told by the hospital and our pediatrician that 8 weeks is now recommended. The reason being is that they can start to roll at that time and if they roll swaddled then they won’t have their arms to help then push back and can suffocate in the mattress. Another reason being that it delays development.

Some websites and professionals say 3-4 months is a good time to stop swaddling.

We chose to stop at 8 weeks. He was starting to roll a little and that’s when we felt comfortable stopping. I knew that either way we had to stop swaddling at some point soon so for safety. So we had one good month of good swaddled sleeping!

It was tough the first week with him not swaddled. I thought about weaning him off the swaddle and putting one arm in and one out then both arms out then having it loose but in the end I decided cold turkey was the best. He would get use to it eventually. He went back to getting up every hour or two but he slowly got better and after a week he was back to his 4 hour, 3 hour, 1-2 hour sleeping schedule.

Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP, chair of the task force that authored the AAP’s (American Academy of Pediatrics) sage sleep recommendations writes:

When to Stop Swaddling

“I would stop swaddling by age 2 months, before the baby intentionally starts to try to roll,” Dr. Moon says. “If babies are swaddled, they should be placed only on their back and monitored so they don’t accidentally roll over.”

Know the Risks

Parents should know that there are some risks to swaddling, Dr. Moon says. Swaddling may decrease a baby’s arousal, so that it’s harder for the baby to wake up. “That is why parents like swaddling – the baby sleeps longer and doesn’t wake up as easily,” she said. “But we know that decreased arousal can be a problem and may be one of the main reasons that babies die of SIDS.”

AAP Safe Sleep Recommendations:

The AAP recommends parents follow the safe sleep recommendations every time they place their baby to sleep for naps or at nighttime:

• Place your baby on her back to sleep, and monitor her to be sure she doesn’t roll over while swaddled.

• Do not have any loose blankets in your baby’s crib. A loose blanket, including a swaddling blanket that comes unwrapped, could cover your baby’s face and increase the risk of suffocation.

• Use caution when buying products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. Wedges, positioners, special mattresses and specialized sleep surfaces have not been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS, according to the AAP.

• Your baby is safest in her own crib or bassinet, not in your bed.

• Swaddling can increase the chance your baby will overheat, so avoid letting your baby get too hot. The baby could be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and rapid breathing.

• Consider using a pacifier for naps and bedtime.

• Place the crib in an area that is always smoke-free.