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October 12, 2018

Swaddles & Slings

Swaddles & Slings

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Swaddling is an ancient method of wrapping a child up in a thin blanket so that they feel safe and secure.

Some parents find that swaddles help their child to settle more quickly. Currently, there isn’t sufficient evidence to prove or disprove this assessment, so care should be taken when pursuing this method. If you decide to start swaddling, do so as part of a regular bedtime routine. Try to adhere to the following: 

  • Don’t swaddle too tightly. 
  • Swaddle below the shoulders.
  • Use a thin blanket or sheet.
  • Never put a swaddled baby to sleep on their front.
  • Check your baby’s temperature to ensure that they aren't overheating.

Co-sleeping

At some point during an infant’s first months, parents may be tempted to sleep with their baby in their adult bed—this is known as co-sleeping or bed sharing. While co-sleeping can be a fantastic way to bond, it can also be dangerous in certain circumstances. You should never sleep with your baby if either you or your partner smoke, either you or your partner has drunk alcohol or taken drugs (including drowsy medications), if you are extremely tired, if your baby was born premature (37 weeks or less) or your baby has a low birth weight (5.5 pounds or less). Co-sleeping may also mean that parents run the risk of rolling onto their child—this can lead to suffocation or injury. 

For peace of mind 

Baby monitors can provide peace of mind for some parents. There are various types of baby monitors on the market that can cost anywhere from £20 for a basic audio monitor to approximately £300 for a top-of-the-range video monitor with multiple sensors. Monitors allow carers to keep track of a child’s noises, movements or breathing patterns—depending on the model—from another room. Such devices can be useful for keeping track of infants. However, the Lullaby Trust maintains that there is no substantial evidence to suggest that they can prevent SIDS. Monitors should be used as an aid rather than a substitute for adult supervision. 

  • Avoid letting your baby overheat or become too cold. If your child is sweating or is hot to the touch, remove a layer of bedding. 
  • Avoid covering baby’s head with bedclothes or blankets. 
  • Avoid using pillows altogether until baby is one year old—according to the the Lullaby Trust, pillows increase the risk of SIDS by 50 percent