Swaddling is a great tool for parents to help calm and soothe their new babies. In fact, Dr. Harvey Karp, leading pediatrician and author of The Happiest Baby on the Block (Karp, 2003) believes that swaddling is essential in the first few months of life. To ensure safety and effectiveness however, there are some guidelines to follow when swaddling your new baby.
*First, be sure you swaddle baby with her arms down to avoid her wriggling loose and leaving excess blankets in the crib
*Second, wrap baby securely and tightly again to avoid loose bedding in the crib. You should be able to slip one hand snugly between the swaddle blanket and your baby for a good fit.
*Third, do not allow the blanket to touch your baby’s face or cheek to avoid turning on her rooting reflex.
*Fourth, dress baby appropriately and use caution not to allow baby to overheat while swaddled. Check baby’s body temperature by feeling her ears and neck. Overheating is a known risk factor for SIDS.
*Fifth, if in doubt consider buying a swaddling blanket which helps take the guess work out of swaddling.
*Sixth, once baby can wiggle free or roll over it is time to stop swaddling for safety reasons. This may be a good time to switch to a sleep sack to keep baby warm.