When to Stop Swaddling Your Baby

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Swaddling is a practice that’s as old as civilization. For thousands upon thousands of years, parents have wrapped their little ones tight to help keep them warm, keep them from harm, and keep them happy. Swaddling benefits your baby in a number of ways, including:

  • Swaddling helps with baby sleep. There are a number of studies, including a rather convincing study done at Washington University, that shows how infants will actually sleep better when they are swaddled. They tend to wake up fewer times during the night, and they get up to twice as much time in REM sleep – that sleep that helps with brain development.
  • Swaddling helps reduce SIDS. Swaddling baby allows you to place her on her back when she sleeps. Back sleeping has convincingly been shown to reduce the incidence of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). In particular, back sleeping babies who are swaddled have a much lower incidence of SIDS.
  • Swaddling helps to soothe baby. A snug baby is a calm baby. That tight, close feeling reminds them of the tight space they grew in while in the womb. A swaddled baby is much better able to self-soothe.
  • Swaddling helps keep baby warm. Infants have a hard time regulating their own body temperatures. Swaddling keeps them warm consistently.
  • Swaddling may help with breastfeeding. A swaddled baby can be much easier to breastfeed. Simply tuck his hands into your baby’s swaddle to keep him from interfering with his latching on.

But, when exactly is it time to stop swaddling? For the most part, babies will be ready to be weaned from swaddling within the first six months or so. Other babies might need 8-10 months of swaddling. The key thing is to keep your baby unswaddled when she’s not asleep, so as to allow her the kind of range of motion and muscle-strengthening activity that she so desperately needs.

When it comes time for your baby to be weaned from the swaddle, you can start with a single arm. If he’s still fussy and he’s moving his arm all around, he’s probably not quite ready to be done with swaddling.

photo by: StarMama

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This entry was posted in About Your Baby.


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