How and Why Should You Swaddle

Infant girl sleeping in a swaddle with pink rose hair band

Swaddling can be a great tool to promote sleep in newborns and something I almost always recommend! So how and why should you swaddle your new baby?

Why should you swaddle your baby?

  1. Swaddling prevents their moro/startle reflex. This reflex can inadvertently wake a baby up so swaddling helps them achieve those precious, longer stretches of sleep!
  2. Swaddling in a hands over heart position mimics their position in utero. This is typically newborns preferred sleeping position.
  3. Swaddling helps maintain sleeping on their backs. Back to sleep in the safest sleeping position so this is super important!

Longer stretches of sleep for them = more sleep for you!!

So, how do we swaddle safely?

First, we don’t want to use too many layers. Over bundling can cause overheating which is a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Next, make sure that the swaddle won’t unravel. Blankets can come loose, cover a baby’s face and block their airway. I STRONGLY recommend using a sleep sack instead of a blanket.

Don’t swaddle your baby all day. Babies need to move freely to promote their development so save the swaddle of sleeping only.

Lastly, place your baby on their back to sleep ESPECIALLY when swaddled. Since swaddling limits their arm movement, this can be dangerous if placed in any other sleep position. (Babies should always be placed on their backs to sleep anyway!).

When should you ditch the swaddle?

I generally recommend swaddling a baby until at least 8 weeks of age. This is when their startle/moro reflex starts to disappear.

We definitely want to discontinue using the swaddle when a baby shows signs of rolling. This is a safety issue and could be dangerous if a baby rolls onto their belly while still swaddled.

Swaddling can be such a useful tool for your newborn and can be done safely so everyone in the family can get those longer stretches of sleep!

If you are struggling with your child’s sleep, please reach out to us. You can schedule your free 15 minute discovery call to discuss your sleep challenges and learn more about our services:

Sleep Philosophy
My sleep philosophy is that all children (and mommas!) need restful sleep, and so my goal is to help children learn independent sleep skills so that they can fall asleep on their own and stay asleep through the night. I will help develop a customized sleep plan that aligns with the family’s wishes.