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Swaddling is the practice of tightly wrapping a newborn or slightly older infant in a blanket or special swaddler, to help them sleep better. Why do parents swaddle, and should you try it with your own baby? How does swaddling a baby work, and what do you need to know to keep your baby safe? Read on for more information.

Is swaddling for every baby?

No! There are babies who actually get distracted by their own arms and legs and make limb movements that continue to wake them up, even starting very soon after your baby's birth. Some newborns are restless and have trouble falling asleep. These are good candidates for swaddling or at least giving it a try. Other babies don't like being swaddled at all. They prefer having their limbs free, and will cry if they are swaddled. The only way to find out is by experimenting. Of course, if your baby sleeps fine without swaddling, there is no reason to change anything.

How do you swaddle?

Perhaps the easiest to swaddle these days is by buying a special swaddling blanket. These come in various forms, but have one thing in common they make swaddling easier and simpler than when you would use a plain old receiving blanket. Swaddling blankets can come with velcro or strings to secure the blanket, and can swaddle arms and legs tight to the baby's body, or just arms. Swaddling with a blanket has a bit of a learning curve, though you can find many visual demonstrations on sites like YouTube.

How about safety?

If you do decide to swaddle when your newborn just won't sleep without it, there are a few things you need to know about safety. It is important to check whether your baby is getting too hot, because overheating can lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). If they are sweating on their neck or back, it is time to take off some clothes or get a thinner swaddling blanket. In addition, swaddled babies must always lie on their back, and not be placed on their side or tummy for the same reasons.

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