Many parents find that swaddling helps their newborn sleep for longer stretches. For sleep deprived parents, this is a good thing. But is swaddling good for babies?
Swaddling done correctly should not cause any problems for your baby’s physical development. A recent study published in the journal, Pediatrics, demonstrated that the practice of baby wrapping for extended periods in Mongolia, caused no harm. The Mongolian infants reached motor milestones right on target. Still it’s important to follow some common-sense guidelines to make sure your swaddling technique does not interfere with your baby’s development.
Dr. Charles Price, director of the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI) in Orlando, offers the following words of wisdom:
- Swaddle so that your baby can move her legs a bit. Pinning her legs down or pressing them together forces her hips and knees into an extended position. This extension can lead to hip problems.
- Look for a a swaddle blanket that is approved by the IHDI. One example is “Halo SleepSack Swaddle.” Baby’s arms can be snug, but her legs can move.
- Use cotton or other light fabric that allow breathability and movement.
- Swaddling should stop when your baby can roll over.
And here’s a tip from me: It’s easy to over-heat a baby with swaddling. Make sure your baby is warm, of course, but she should not be sweating when she’s sleeping. Many babies are very comfortable with a light sleeper covered with a swaddle. Too many layers—especially with synthetic fabrics– makes for a too warm baby!