Benefits and Risks of Swaddling Your Baby

Posted by Sara Baker on

Swaddling is a technique used to wrap babies using a thin blanket such that they are unable to move their arms while creating room for movement of the legs. Swaddling leaves babies feeling safe by recreating a womb feeling. Swaddling has been used for several centuries and it is still a popular technique across the globe.

Over the years, there have been raging controversies regarding the safety of this technique. While there are several benefits associated to swaddling, it also comes with a set of risks worth considering. Discussed below are some of pros and cons of swaddling.
Pros of swaddling

1. Soothes the baby to sleep
A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that babies who are swaddled sleep better. They also experience more Rapid Eye Movement (REM) while sleeping and are likely to wake up less frequently. Swaddled babied are also less likely to experience startle reflexes.

2. Replicates the feeling of the mother’s womb
Babies have a hard time adjusting to their new surrounding after being in the womb for the last nine months. Swaddling your newborn gives them comfort by creating an almost similar environment that they were used to in the womb. This makes it easy for them to adjust to their new surroundings.

3. Soothes colic babies
Swaddling is helpful to babies who are colic. Swaddling helps them to cope with the distressing colic. Unfortunately, most colic babies do not enjoy being swaddled.

4. Reduces the risk of SIDS
Swaddling reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome by about 50 percent by ensuring the baby sleeps on their back. According to experts, since swaddling prevents babies from crawling around in their crib or pulling loose bedding over their head, the risk of SID is drastically reduced.
Cons of swaddling

1. Risk of suffocation
Improper swaddling has been known to cause suffocation. Should the blanket used get loose and cover the baby’s face, it is likely to lead to suffocation. This significantly increases the risk of SIDS, which is the number one risk of swaddling.

2. Causes hip Dysplasia
Some researchers are of the view that swaddling can lead to the development of hip dysplasia. You should always place your little one in the right position to prevent the occurrence of hip dysplasia.

3. Results in overheating and hinders circulation
If you wrap your baby too tightly, there is the likelihood that they will suffer from circulation problems. It is also likely to result in overheating and ultimately a ton of severe medical issues.

When properly done, swaddling offers numerous benefits to the baby. However, improper swaddling can bring about serious complications. Learning the best swaddling techniques is a must for the safety of your baby.

Ask your doctor or midwife to demonstrate how to properly swaddle your baby. Keep in mind that some babies are uncomfortable with swaddling. If you notice that your baby is not into swaddling, avoid it and look for another technique to soothe them.

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