I'm a big fan of swaddling. I swaddled my first child until she reached ten pounds and was big enough to wear a baby sleeping bag and I've swaddled my second, who is now eight weeks and reluctant to 'let go' of this particular method of sleeping. He's worn his sleeping bags a few times, but he does prefer to be swaddled and I usually bundle him up for his day time naps at least. If he's struggling to settle at night I will swaddle him also.
It was feebly in the news that swaddling can do long-term damage to a child's hips. This is because a baby's hips naturally place the legs in a frog-like position to help the ball socket joints to learn to rotate properly, apparently if a baby is too tightly swaddled, forcing strait-legs, it can damage the hips. I leave the bottom of my swaddle open so he is free to kick his legs as and when he pleases. Sometimes at night I will twist it gently and place it beside him in bed. He still has movement, but it is harder for him to kick it off and get cold. I have such a fear of him getting cold and I have no idea why, as far as I'm aware, being a little chilly is safer than over-heating.
On my recent quest to find out when a baby should stop being swaddled as Bear's now older than Moo was and still going, I came across a lot of conflicting information but my biggest fears were confirmed by a few different sources; the older the baby, the more dangerous it can be. One woman wrote on a well-known forum thread that her son sadly died aged seven months due to improper swaddling by a nursery worker. Obviously, it is unsafe to restrict a child's arms once they are rolling.
Bear loves to be swaddled and I will admit that at times it can be a real life-saver, yes, he wiggles free often but it also brings him comfort and helps him sleep, it's never caused us any problems with breast feeding despite that being a common problem and I know that he's warm all snuggled up like that.
My biggest concern at the moment is rolling, yes, I know that we're a few months off of that, but I remember Moo rolled over in her sleep a couple of times weeks before she ever rolled consciously and I really don't want him to become too dependant on his swaddling habit for sleeping. Should I try to wean him off of it now so that it's long gone by the time it could ever pose him any threat? I found all the information online to be highly contradicting. I personally found it worked for both my children and I don't believe that the way I do it poses any risk to his hips, circulation or body temperature...however I know it's only a matter of time before these are no longer the issues, and something more sinister starts to lurk.
Does anybody have any tips for getting their baby to settle in a sleeping bag? He doesn't enjoy having his arms free whereas Moo loved it and would often pull them free from her swaddle, and happily have a snug tummy!
Labels: Baby, bedtimes, concerns, habit, newborn, nights, routine, sleeping, Swaddling