Is it safe to swaddle a newborn baby?

When you arrive home with your little bundle you often can’t believe that someone from the hospital has waved you off to care for a tiny human being all by yourself! You worry about everything – am I going to drop him, hurt his neck if I don’t hold him properly, hurt his limbs when trying to wrangle him into a vest!
As a new parent you worry about everything, so I’m going to help alleviate some of the worries with my advice for safe sleeping.

Tip 1
Try and keep your baby in your room until 6 months – as per lullaby trust guidelines. This is so you are near them and it’s much easier for night time feeds. Make sure baby is in a separate sleeping space to you. There are cots that can attach to your bed so you are as close as possible for night time feeds.

Tip 2
Make sure you swaddle your baby in a lightweight, breathable, stretchy material so your baby doesn’t overheat. The room should be between 16-20 degrees celsius and the rule of them having one more layer on than you, is an easy way to layer in all seasons.

Tip 3
Synthetic bedding i.e. fleecy blankets can trap the heat and make your baby hot so all natural fabrics such as 100% cotton or bamboo are advisable.
Remove any blankets from the cot/crib unless they are tucked in firmly up to baby’s chest. If using a blanket, always place baby with their feet at the bottom of the crib so they can’t wiggle down and under them.

Tip 4
Laying your baby onto their back to sleep is advisable. A baby doesn’t have any neck control in the first few months and could end up face down on the mattress, obstructing their breathing.
Young babies are commonly sick and if on their front, they may not be able to move to avoid inhaling it.
Once your baby can roll themselves over, let them find their own sleeping position but give them a helping hand if they look like they need it. They usually like their side or tummy and they usually make this leap at approximately 5-7 months old.
*Please be aware that if your baby has reflux, your paediatrician may suggest a different sleeping position*

Tip 5
A clear cot is the safest cot. Sleep positioners, cot bumpers and soft toys can all pose a suffocation risk so are best removed.

Tip 6
Make sure, as your baby gets older and starts to sit themselves up, that the cot position is lowered so that your baby can’t climb out.

Tip 7
When you set up your babies’ cot in the nursery make sure it’s away from the radiator. I would advise to turn the radiator off altogether unless you have a thermostat control on yours.
If your home gets particularly cold, you can get great portable oil filled radiators that are controlled to stay the same temperature all night.

Tip 8
During hot weather, by keeping the curtains and blinds closed during the day will keep the sun out and reduce the chance of the room getting too hot. Open windows to allow a breeze in, especially from 5pm onwards.
If you are concerned your home is particularly warm, if using a fan you could freeze a 2-litre bottle of water and put it in front of the fan- this creates natural air con.

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Written by

Jo Tantum