Swaddled Babies Sleep Better

The ancient practice of swaddling is finding modern support.

Swaddling is the custom of snugly wrapping a baby in cloth or a receiving blanket before laying him or her down to sleep. One study showed that swaddled babies 2 months or younger slept more deeply, startled less often, and fell back asleep more easily than babies who weren’t wrapped.

Swaddling may also help reduce the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by keeping babies from rolling over onto their stomachs.

Swaddling has soothing benefits, too. Being wrapped up snugly keeps baby warm and the slight pressure around the body seems to give most babies a sense of security and comfort.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for swaddling your newborn:

• Spread out the receiving blanket, folding over one corner.

• Lay your baby face-up on the blanket with his or her head above the folded corner.

• Wrap the left corner over baby’s body and tuck it beneath the back, going under the right arm.

• Bring the bottom corner up over your baby’s feet and pull it toward his or her head.

• Wrap the right corner around your baby, and tuck it under your baby’s back on the left side. Your baby’s head and neck should be left uncovered.

This “how to” is mostly found in nursing books. There is no study research done on the technique of swaddling. The one described above is popular in many hospital nurseries.

Be sure to leave enough room around the hips so baby’s legs can fall open naturally. And check to make sure the wrap isn’t too tight around your baby’s chest—this can interfere with breathing.

Online Medical Reviewer: Desrosiers, Florence MD

Date Last Reviewed: 4/2/2010

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