Maybe you remember the warmth and security of being swaddled as a child and don’t think twice about swaddling your baby in turn. But is it the best way to put your baby down? In some ways swaddling is very effective and it’s hard to argue against. However, there are cases of babies who become too hot or restricted. Baby safety is the most important factor. Read on to find out more about both sides of this important debate about swaddling.
Keeps Baby Warm
Your baby’s body is still getting used to its surrounding environment. That includes the air temperature. A body will periodically adjust to the air temperature. Your baby might get cold in the night especially during the winter months. Swaddling is an excellent way to help maintain the body temperature of your baby.
Keeps Baby Cozy
Advocates of swaddling always argue that swaddling helps your baby to feel calmer and more secure. When you wrap a baby tightly in a blanket it recreates the feeling of being in the womb. This is what settles your baby down and helps them to adjust to their new environment, which can be otherwise overwhelming to a little baby.
Proponents of swaddling also point out that swaddling helps to put babies to sleep. It also helps them to stay asleep through the night. The swaddle blanket around them makes them feel comfortable and secure which is the best condition for sleep. The tight condition also reminds them of womb conditions. They can get that same deep sleep with a swaddle suit to help with a swaddle transition.
Infants are very fragile and their bones and joints are yet to establish themselves in long-term positions. When you swaddle a child too tightly, you might compress their limbs and increase the chances of hips and other joints getting forced out their sockets. There is also evidence that overly tight binding can result in damage to soft cartilage.
One of the most common arguments against swaddling is that it can create a risk for suffocation. If the swaddling blanket is too loose a baby may be able to kick it loose and it might be pressed against their face in the night. If it lands on their face it could cause suffocation.
As mentioned, a baby’s body is not always well adjusted to the outside temperature. If swaddled in a hot room or with heavy pajamas on under the swaddle, the baby might become too hot and be unable to cool themselves fully. This can lead to abnormal breathing and contribute to risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Overall there are some strong and compelling arguments on both sides of the debate when it comes to swaddling. You may have been swaddled yourself as a child which influences your decision. In general, swaddling is fine and doesn’t present any issues when done safely, but it must be carried out correctly to avoid complications.