Are you welcoming a new infant into your home sometime soon? Whether you or your partner is pregnant, you have a pending adoption, or you're getting ready to participate in foster care, it's important that you know how to take care of the new young one in your home.
One aspect of proper infant care is knowing how to swaddle a baby.
Getting a custom baby swaddle is a great way to accessorize a baby who's too young for cute clothes, but knowing how to do it the right way is crucial. Unsafe swaddling can lead to injuries.
Not sure how to swaddle a baby? No problem; we're here to guide you. Keep reading for a few baby swaddling safety tips, so you're prepared.
Swaddle On a Flat Surface
When you start swaddling your baby, make sure that you're using a flat surface to start on. As you get more adept at swaddling you may be able to use your knees or a plush surface, but it's best to start with something firm.
You want to make sure that your baby is in a neutral position when you arrange their swaddle. This ensures that none of their limbs or joints will be trapped in an uncomfortable position.
Don't Wrap Above the Shoulders
When your baby is swaddled they should have their head and neck exposed. The swaddle should wrap around their shoulders and no higher.
Covering a baby's neck can increase their risk of overheating, prevent proper breathing, or it could end up covering their nose or mouth if you don't wrap tight enough.
Your baby should look like a caterpillar emerging from a cocoon, essentially.
Pay Attention to the Baby's Temperature
While swaddles are safe, they can increase the risk of your baby overheating. Their warmth and coziness are part of what makes them so effective, but getting too warm isn't good for the baby.
Keep the place where the baby sleeps at a cool temperature no higher than 72 degrees. Don't layer clothes under the swaddle. A diaper is often enough, or a thin set of pajamas. Even if it's cold, the swaddle will keep the baby warm.
If you notice that your child's cheeks are red or they're sweating, undo the swaddle and let them sleep without it.
Don't Wrap Too Tight
Your baby should be snug in the swaddle. It should prevent excess movement in the arms and legs so they can't wake themself up. That said, it shouldn't be so tight that they're restrained or uncomfortable.
When a swaddle is too tight you risk damaging the natural development of the baby's hips. The bottom of the swaddle should be loose enough that your baby's legs stay bent.
When you're done swaddling you should be able to two or three fingers between the swaddle and the baby's chest. If you can't do this, loosen the swaddle and try again.
Know When to Stop
There comes a time when the baby is old enough to no longer be swaddled. Infants benefit from swaddling, but older babies need more room to stay safe and comfortable.
Between two and four months your baby will likely start rolling over or showing signs that they're ready to roll over. This is when you know that your baby is ready to stop being swaddled.
When your baby is swaddled for too long it can stifle their development and their ability to learn and use new motor skills.
Follow Other Sleep Safety Guidelines
There are plenty of other sleep safety tips that all new parents should know about regardless of whether or not they choose to swaddle their babies. These tips are important for preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (or SIDS).
These tips can be used concurrently with the swaddle and after your baby has grown out of the swaddle.
Lay the Baby on Their Back
This is especially important when your baby is in a swaddle (because they're unable to move) but it's also important for babies of all ages. Make sure that your baby is flat on their back when you put them down for bed.
This is also why a baby that's able to roll is no longer safe in a swaddle.
Babies who roll onto their faces are at risk of suffocating. Even if you put the baby on their side, they may still roll over onto their face.
Avoid Blankets, Pillows, and Stuffed Toys
While these things are cozy for older children, blankets, pillows, and stuffed toys are dangerous for infants.
As long as you keep the baby's sleeping area at a comfortable temperature there's no need to layer blankets over them. Blankets aren't a replacement for a swaddle.
Again, they risk suffocating if they should roll into one of these things.
Don't Share a Bed
This is controversial, but co-sleeping (or sleeping in the bed with your baby) isn't safe.
Similar to the previous suggestions, when your baby sleeps in your bed they're surrounded by pillows and blankets. If they roll over without you noticing, they can suffocate. They also need a flat and firm surface while your mattress is likely soft.
You also risk rolling over and hurting your baby.
For all naps and bedtimes, put your baby in their crib. This also prevents them from being too dependent on you for sleep in the future.
Use Your Custom Baby Swaddle the Safe Way
A custom baby swaddle is an adorable accessory for your newborn, but knowing how to swaddle the right way is the difference between a healthy and happy baby and a baby with an injury.
Give your baby a good night's sleep by wrapping them in a warm and safe swaddle.
Are you looking for beautiful custom swaddles and other newborn accessories? Check out our shop for newborn essentials to let your baby grow in style.