When you have a little babe at home and you're trying to make sure you're putting them in bed safely, you may be wondering why everyone (and I do mean everyone) tells you that swaddling is the only way to go. What makes swaddling so important for your babe while sleeping?
Well, let's start by saying that everyone who has insisted that you swaddle your babe is actually giving you good advice! Swaddling babies is one of the best ways to keep them from waking themselves up from their pesky startle reflex. This is something that all babies are born with; it is basically when their arms or legs randomly jerk/twitch startling the baby awake. No thanks, mama. Swaddling keeps their arms pinned in so they won't be able to experience that waking sensation, or helps them to fall asleep faster if they do.
A great way for stress-free, no-question swaddling is a sleep/swaddle sack. They're designed to keep baby's hips and shoulders in safe alignment, while keeping baby nice and snug while he sleeps. A great option would be something like the Love to Dream Swaddlers, a sleep sack that allows your babe's arms to be up by his face for maximum comfort! Or, go with the 50/50 in Gray. This little number leaves babe with one arm in and one arm out. This is nice if they are transitioning to sleeping without being swaddled, or are constantly struggling to suck on those little fingers to help them fall asleep.
If you choose to go the swaddle blanket route, you need to make sure you use a fabric that is breathable, so it won't lead to overheating, but is stretchy enough to stay wrapped tight.
Swaddling is also a great way to avoid the risk of SIDS. SIDS is always a scary thing when you're talking to parents with new babies because it is one of those things that parents feel they have no control over. Kind of like the boogey man--it's just there, and there's nothing we can do about it. Well the truth is that SIDS is something we can all work towards avoiding in our own homes by taking precautions around our little babes, especially while they're sleeping. SIDS is sometimes referred to as "crib death" because of the high number of cases that occur while children sleep in their crib. For this reason, sleep safety for little kids is absolutely essential!
So, how does swaddling come into all of this? There are a couple of key things that make swaddling a great way to prevent SIDS. First, swaddling removes the need for loose blankets to keep your child warm at night. In fact, children sleeping in cribs should always be placed on their backs, with tight-fitting sheets, and no loose blankets for them to grab (which could be placed over their mouths).
Second, it ensures that your baby remains on their back while they're sleeping, which is the number one recommendation for reducing the risk of SIDS. You should keep in mind that swaddling should only be done for putting baby to sleep before they learn to roll over. Babies who are swaddled should never be placed down on their tummy.
If you do have a little one who is able to roll, yet want to keep him/her snuggled, then the Burt's Bees Wearable Blankets in Midnight and Heather Grey are a great option! These sleep sacks let your baby sleep arms out, which will be safer for them if they roll over during the night. They're also designed to keep your babe warm without overheating!