There is a lot of conflicting information out there about whether or not it is safe to swaddle a baby at night. Some experts say that it can help to keep the baby sleeping longer and more soundly, while others warn that it could increase the risk of SIDS. So, what is the truth? Is swaddling safe at night? Here we will take a look at the research on this topic and try to answer that question.
First, what exactly is swaddling?
Swaddling involves wrapping a baby up in a blanket much the same way that you would wrap up a burrito. This creates an environment where your baby feels very cozy and cradled. The idea is that this will help to calm the baby down and lull her into sleep.
Now, how does feeling cozy and safe affect sleep?
Being wrapped up like this can give babies the idea that it’s time for bed. It provides them with the sensation of being back in the womb where things were nice and dark. This helps them to relax which makes it easier for them to fall asleep. At least, in theory.
Studies have found mixed results when it comes to swaddling and sleep, so it’s hard to say for sure whether or not it will make your baby more likely to fall asleep. Some research suggests that swaddling does help babies sleep longer, while other studies have found no effect of swaddling on sleep.
One thing researchers know for sure is that swaddled infants are less likely to startle during their sleep. Startling is what wakes most babies up at night because they realize that they aren’t in the womb anymore and need to be alert in case there’s danger nearby.
By preventing startles, sleeping babies spend more time in deep sleep which means better quality rest overall. Researchers have even gone so far as to say that swaddling babies helps to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
The downside is that not all parents are comfortable with the idea of swaddling. If you choose not to swaddle, then it’s probably a good idea to leave your baby unswaddled while she naps during the day and while she sleeps at night. You don’t want her to get used to always feeling restricted and then having difficulty falling asleep when she is finally unswaddled.
Now what about safety?
Is Love to Dream Bad for arms? Are baby swaddles in general safe? There is no evidence that swaddles are bad for a baby’s arms. In fact, many babies sleep better when they are swaddled. When a baby can’t move its arms, it calms down and goes to sleep more quickly.
Well, one concern about sleeping babies has more to do with something else than being wrapped up like a burrito. If you use loose blankets in the crib or if cover the baby with heavy comforters, then there is a risk that your baby can suffocate.
By far the most common way for babies to die while sleeping, though, is through SIDS . This still remains one of the biggest risks that parents have to worry about when it comes time to tuck their children into bed at night.
Another safety concern is with some swaddles such as the Zipadee. The main concern for parents with it is the Zipadee zip covering face.
What research tells us on this topic isn’t exactly reassuring either. One study found that swaddling increases the risk of SIDS for healthy infants between 2 and 4 months old. Another more recent study came to similar conclusions. It’s important to point out here though that these studies were not large enough or conclusive enough to rule swaddling in or out as an actual cause of death by SIDS .
To make matters worse, a large study from the UK failed to find any connection between swaddling and SIDS. In fact, they found that swaddled infants were less likely to suffer from SIDS. Of course this doesn’t mean that swaddling is a good idea either. It just means that we don’t know enough yet about what causes SIDS and how things like swaddling may or may not play a role in it.
For parents who are concerned about the risk of suffocation, there’s still plenty of reason to be wary of loose blankets or heavy comforters in your baby’s crib. These can cause suffocation too so it’s best to avoid them entirely while your child is napping or sleeping at night.
Even if swaddling does come with a small risk of SIDS, the studies do show that it can be helpful as far as calming and soothing goes. This means that it’s probably still worth a shot if you want to try out this sleep training method for yourself or your child. Just keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to getting your baby to sleep and swaddling may not work for everyone so you might need to experiment with other methods too.
If you are going to try using swaddling to help calm your baby before putting her down for bed, then make sure she is over 2 months old. Also be extra careful about using swaddling when your child is sleeping on her tummy. If she rolls onto her stomach during the night while she’s wrapped up, then there’s a chance that she could suffocate in the loose fabric.
If you are really concerned about the safety issues surrounding swaddling, then you might want to try using a wearable blanket . This product keeps babies snug but prevents them from being able to roll over so it’s safer than traditional swaddling. It also keeps their hands free so they can still suck on their fingers or comfort themselves with their favorite stuffed animal without anything getting in the way.
The bottom line here is that if you choose to try out this sleep training technique, then stay extra vigilant about checking in on your child throughout the night. If you notice that she has managed to roll over while wrapped up, then make sure to ditch the swaddling as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to let your pediatrician know about your plans for using this sleep training method so they can monitor your baby closely too.
What are the Risks of Swaddling Baby at Night?
Swaddling can be useful for calming a baby and helping him sleep, but it’s important to understand the potential downsides. Swaddling restricts movement of an infant’s arms, which might increase the risk that she’ll overheat or that her heart rate will drop too low if she sleeps in a position that doesn’t allow for good circulation.
Overheating is thought to put babies at higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). And while some experts believe it shouldn’t pose any problems, others say there may be increased risk associated with sleeping with an elevated head because this could cause respiratory problems for infants who have stuffy noses.
What are benefits of swaddling?
Wrapping an infant in a blanket helps infants feel more secure because it gives them the sensation of being held. It also limits their startle reflex, which can jolt them awake and possibly upset them.
What are alternatives to swaddling?
You might try wrapping your baby snugly in receiving blankets with her arms immobilized at her sides if you think she’ll sleep better this way, but be sure the blankets aren’t too tight so that she has enough room to move around and adjust to changing temperatures if necessary.
You might also want to remove some or all of the blankets during the middle of the night when she’s likely to get warm again. Or try using swaddling clothes, which offer similar benefits without restricting movement as much.