How to Know When to Stop Swaddling a Baby
Swaddling is an excellent way to comfort a newborn because being wrapped securely in a blanket feels similar to the way the baby felt in his mother’s womb. As a result, swaddling can promote sleep when done correctly.
There comes an age, however, where parents must stop swaddling their baby because it can become dangerous, notes the American Academy of Pediatrics.
It is up to parents to monitor their baby and determine when to stop swaddling based on the baby’s development and how the baby reacts to having a blanket wrapped around him as he sleeps.
5 Several Was to Know When to Stop Swaddling a Baby
1. Watch for the baby attempting to roll over or break out of the swaddle
Once the infant can roll over on his own, he runs the risk of rolling with his arms pinned by the swaddle. According to KidsHealth.org, this increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, since the baby might lose his ability to breathe.
2. Check the baby’s temperature
Swaddling keeps her warm, but this can become a problem if she gets too hot. Watch for warning signs like sweating, red cheeks, a heat rash, rapid breathing and damp hair, suggests the AAP. If any of these warning signs occur every time you swaddle the baby, it is best to find an alternative method of keeping the infant warm.
3. Make your determination based on the baby’s age
Babies develop at different rates, but generally the infant is too old for swaddling by the time she is 2 months old, notes KidsHealth.org, as she may start trying to figure out how to roll at that age. Some sources, such as pediatrician Howard J. Bennett of the AAP, suggest that parents can continue to swaddle an infant until she is 4 months old.
4. Consider the baby’s reflexes
Dr. Bennett notes that parents swaddle their infants to prevent newborn reflexes from waking the baby. Once these reflexes have disappeared, however, the swaddle won’t do much good and could become dangerous. By this age, the baby also begins interacting with his surroundings more frequently, which could lead to frustration while swaddled.
Whether the baby is swaddled or not, place her on her back to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS.
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