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swaddle

Babies + Kids

Swaddling: The Do’s and Don’ts

As if being a new parent isn’t hard enough without the constant controversy over a whole host of baby-related topics from breastfeeding to co-sleeping to babywearing!

It may take a bit of time, but I find most parents end up learning to trust their instincts and doing what is best for their babies and for their families.

Swaddling has been one of those hot “baby” topics recently and everyone and their mother has an opinion!

For newbie’s, swaddling is an age-old technique used for many moons in many cultures. It involves snugly wrapping baby to help him feel safe and secure. The idea is that being wrapped up snug can stop your baby from being disturbed or awakened from sleep by his own startle reflex.

The startle reflex (occurs in infants and disappears at 4-6 months old) causes babies to make sudden jerky movements in response to being startled – sometimes to loud noises and sometimes to nothing at all. It’s a protective mechanism but becomes super annoying when baby wakes herself up from deep sleep. Ugh!

Swaddling lessens and even prevents the effect of this reflex, essentially keeping baby cozy, secure and sleeping. Swaddling can also help settle babies down when they are over-stimulated.

Sounds like a dream, right? Although the benefits to swaddling are pretty amazing (I mean, why wouldn’t you swaddle?!? A sleeping baby rocks!), there is also some debate about the safety of a swaddle.

But from what I can gather (after reading a ton of articles), if you follow the infant safe sleeping guidelines, which includes safe swaddling technique, set out by Canadian Pediatric Society, you will provide a healthy, happy and safe sleep environment for your baby. Even if you choose to swaddle. The details can be found on the Canadian Pediatric Society website here.

Following the infant safe sleeping guidelines will provide a happy healthy and safe environment for your baby

I’ll simply say that if you choose to swaddle your little nugget, following these basic Do’s and Don’ts will help keep your babe safe and snug:

Do’s

Do use a light weight blanket to keep baby from overheating

Do always place swaddled baby on his/her back to sleep

Do leave two fingers space between chest and swaddle

Do provide baby enough room to move legs and bend at hips

Do have a trusted expert teach you how to swaddle properly

Do switch to a sleep sack when baby starts to show signs of rolling (see below for my sleep sack suggestions)

Do follow the safe sleeping practices outlined on the Canadian Pediatric Society website.

Don’ts

Don’t swaddle using a heavy thick blanket to swaddle

Don’t swaddle too tightly around chest, hips and legs

Don’t leave the swaddle too loose so blankets come undone and could potentially cover baby’s face

Don’t place swaddled baby on his side or tummy to sleep or nap

Don’t continue to swaddle when baby starts initiating rolling

swaddle will2

A few months ago, we were looking to transition our little babe Will from his swaddle to a sleep sack. I was on the hunt for a sleep sack that would be cozy but also light weight and would be a smooth transition for our little guy – who absolutely loved to be swaddled in snug. I came across the Nested Bean Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack!

Best. Thing. Ever.

swaddle will 5

Ok so here’s why I absolutely love this sleep sack.  Both the sack and swaddle come with this gently weighted center that’s like a super lightweight bean bag built right in. Basically, it simulates a mama’s soothing, comforting touch on the baby’s chest with a lightly weighted pad.

The Zen Sack had William sleeping longer!

The first time we used the sack, William napped like a star! He fell asleep super easy and stayed asleep for longer. Plus, they now ship to anywhere in Canada!

Um, can we say #MomWin?!

Follow my latest post on instagram for a code that gives you free shipping! Yay!

Happy Sleep Mamas!

Xo

Dr Aliya