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Should you swaddle your baby?

For nine months, your baby's only environment was your body. In your womb, he was warm, gently rocked as you went about your day, and fit snugly in his little space. But once our babies are born, they can feel cold, they're not close to you all the time anymore, and there is just so much space around them. 


These changes can be overwhelming for your tiny human. Many moms find that swaddling their baby can help with this transition, and it can even promote better sleep for their little ones, but not all babies need or want to be swaddled. That certainly doesn't mean that your baby will be a terrible sleeper - it might just mean that he loves his new ability to stretch and explore the space around him.

Whether you choose to swaddle your baby or not, it's always advised to put your baby to sleep on his back. If you decide to swaddle your baby to promote better naps or nighttime sleep, use this handy checklist to make sure your baby will get all the benefits from being a little burrito. 


Tightness

If the swaddle blanket or wrap is too loose, it can come unwrapped and potentially cover your baby's face, which could increase the risk of potential suffocation. At the top of the swaddle, you should be able to fit two to three fingers between the blanket and your baby's chest.

But swaddles that are too tight, especially around the hips, aren't good either. To encourage healthy hip development, the bottom of the swaddle should be loose enough for your baby's legs to stay bent up and out.


Temperature

Swaddling can cause overheating, so keep an eye out for damp hair, flushed cheeks, or rapid breathing. If your room temperature is a comfortable 20-21 degrees Celsius (68 - 72 degrees Fahrenheit), a pair of pajamas and the swaddle blanket are likely enough to keep your baby comfy. A good general rule of thumb for newborns is to add one more layer than what you are wearing.


Tantrums

No, not 'real' tantrums (yet), but if your baby is resisting being in a swaddle, you don't have to force it. However, if you have a gut feeling that it might help your baby sleep more soundly (all those jerky movements can wake them from their slumber), you can try some alternatives. Once you find an option that works for you, stock up on a few in case of spit-ups or blowouts.


When to stop swaddling?

As soon as your baby shows interest in rolling, it's time to pack away the swaddles, as this could increase the risk of potential suffocation. The average age of when babies start to roll is around 3 to 4 months, but it could happen earlier. So keep an eye on your bubs and give them plenty of space to move once they are on a roll… literally.



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