Should I Swaddle My Baby At Night?
When that new baby arrives, you will inevitably want to cuddle and hold them for hours and hours on end. Cuddling your baby creates a beautiful bonding opportunity. Not only that, but new babies thrive on the comfort and warmth that a good snuggle provides. For this reason, many parents learn early on how to swaddle their baby correctly.
Swaddling offers one of the best ways to soothe a baby, and isn’t a baby burrito just the cutest thing ever? But what about nighttime? With all of the concerns out there about babies overheating, SIDS, and other issues, you might be asking if it is safe to swaddle your baby at night.
Is It Safe To Swaddle My Baby At Night?
Before we talk about swaddling at night, let’s make sure that you know what swaddling is. After all, if you are a new parent or are caring for a baby for the first time, you have a lot to learn. When it comes to parenting, we know that not everyone wants to raise their hand with a question. So, we’ll make it easy for you and tell you what you need to know.
Babies love to be swaddled. It makes them comfortable and reminds them of the tight space they were in during their time in the womb. So, swaddling entails tightly (though not too tightly) wrapping your baby in a loving blanket to help them contain their limbs and feel safe. Babies aren’t always in control of their movements, so swaddling can help settle them down and feel more in control. When your baby is swaddled in a swaddling blanket (just one of many types of blankets that your baby needs), your baby will likely sleep longer, meaning much-needed rest for mom and dad.
Risks of Swaddling Your Baby At Night
The best guidance you can receive on whether or not to swaddle your baby at night should come from your doctor and your baby’s pediatrician. The truth is that just as there are benefits to swaddling, there are some risks as well. Parents should be up to date on potential safety concerns related to swaddling their baby, especially when considering swaddling at night. Typical hazards of excessive swaddling include overheating, SIDS, and even hip dysplasia.
SIDS And Overheating
First and foremost, let’s cut to the chase about SIDS. We know that of the three typical risks that we mentioned, this is the one that gets parents the most rattled, and for all the right reasons. SIDS, which refers to sudden infant death syndrome, is the unexplained death of an otherwise healthy baby, usually during sleep. Though SIDS is a risk for babies at any time during their first year of life, the majority of SIDS cases occur in infants between the ages of one and four months.
When you swaddle a baby too tightly and for too long, it can increase the risk of overheating. Babies aren’t very good at regulating their temperature on their own. So, when you combine warm room temperatures, warm pajamas, and a swaddling blanket, it might be too warm for your baby. And by design, your baby will be unable to free themselves of the extra clothing and blankets.
In most situations, adjusting your home thermostat so that your baby’s room to somewhere between 68° and 72°F (20° to 22.2°C). And, dress your baby in a sleep sack that gives them a little bit of freedom of movement but is warm enough to get them through the night. When the room is at the right temperature and the baby is dressed correctly, an additional blanket is unnecessary. No matter what you do, never cover your baby’s head with a blanket either.
Swaddle Your Baby During The Day
The best time to swaddle your baby is during the day and when they need some extra comfort. This said, be sure not to wrap your baby too tightly. You should be able to poke two or three adult fingers between the swaddling blanket and your baby’s chest. The swaddle should be snug but not too tight and allow your baby to move its legs freely. The finished look should be like the baby burrito we mentioned before – cute and comfortable and safe for a daytime snooze when mom, dad, or another loving adult is close by.