In recent years, many articles regarding concerns of swaddling and sudden infant death syndrome have caused some parents to abandon the practice all together. While the experts may not completely agree, here are some tips to consider should you choose to swaddle your baby.
Only Swaddle for So Long
Many experts agree that once the baby is able to roll over or untangle a blanket on their own, swaddling should stop. Babies should always be swaddled on their backs as well. Swaddled babies placed on their stomach run 12 times the risk of suffocation.
Practice the ABCs of Safe Infant Sleep
Follow the ABCs of safe infant sleep: the baby should be Alone (without people or things), on their Back and in a Crib as opposed to in a chair with mom or in the bed with dad where the incidence of suffocation can increase.
Snug As a Bug in a Rug
Note that the "snugness" of the swaddle should be loose enough to allow for a few adult fingers to fit in between the blanket and the baby's chest. Guard against having the swaddle too loose as it may unravel, introducing the risk of suffocation. Only swaddle up to their shoulders. Swaddle Wraps can be purchased that offer Velcro or a snap closure for more safety.
Additionally, take care not to overheat the infant, which can contribute to SIDS. Dress baby in lighter or fewer layers with a blanket of a lighter weight. If you note damp hair, rapid breathing or flushing of the skin, these can be signs of overheating and steps need to be taken to remedy it.