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Multiple studies show that swaddling your newborn may help her wake less at night, sleep longer and calm her crying. “It reminds babies of being ‘back home’ in the womb and prevents them from accidentally startling themselves awake,” says pediatrician Harvey Karp, M.D., creator of The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD (thehappiestbaby.com, $27) But this centuries-old method isn’t foolproof, so be aware of these common swaddling slip-ups:
Wrapping too loosely
Your baby’s movements will inevitably loosen the blanket a little, so make sure her arms are straight and the final corner is tucked in securely. A loose blanket around a baby’s face is a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
If your baby’s neck and ears are red or hot or she’s sweating, unwrap her to remove her clothing and try again; or turn on a fan (this also reduces SIDS risk).
Giving up too soon
Practice swaddling your baby when she’s in a good mood, and give yourself several tries. Dads are especially good swaddlers, says Karp. Many babies are ready to sleep unswaddled at 3 months to 4 months old. To “wean” your baby, try swaddling her with one arm out. If she gets fussier this way, try again in a few weeks, suggests Karp.
For Your Registry
■ Aden + Anais Cotton Muslin Swaddling Wraps, $44 for four, adenandanais.com
■ Cloud B LullaWrap, $25, cloudb.com
■ Halo SleepSack Swaddle, $30, halosleep.com
■ Summer Infant SwaddleMe®, $10, summerinfant.com
■ Merino Kids Cocooi Babywrap, $49, merinokids.com
■ Miracle Blanket, $30, miracleblanket.com
■ SwaddleDesigns Ultimate Receiving Blanket, $25, eswaddle.com
Click here to find step-by-step instructional photos showing you how to swaddle your baby.