A blanket wrapped snugly around your baby’s body can resemble the mother’s womb and help soothe your newborn baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that when done correctly, swaddling can be an effective technique to help calm infants and promote sleep.
If you plan to swaddle your infant at home, AAP provides a few guidelines to make sure you are doing it safely.
How to Swaddle Correctly
1. To swaddle, spread the blanket out flat, with one corner folded down.
2. Lay the baby face-up on the blanket, with her head above the folded corner.
3. Straighten her left arm, and wrap the left corner of the blanket over her body and tuck it between her right arm and the right side of her body.
4. Then tuck the right arm down, and fold the right corner of the blanket over her body and under her left side.
5. Fold or twist the bottom of the blanket loosely and tuck it under one side of the baby.
6. Make sure her hips can move and that the blanket is not too tight. “You want to be able to get at least two or three fingers between the baby’s chest and the swaddle,” Dr. Moon explains.
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.
· Keep your baby’s crib free of bumper pads, soft bedding, wedges, toys, pillows and positioners.
· 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.