Exhausted and Confused?   Yes! I need help and more sleep.
Exhausted and Confused?   Yes! I need help and more sleep.
Exhausted and Confused?   Yes! I need help and more sleep.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Anna says

    I feel it’s preposturous to ban swaddling in childcare centers on the basis that a baby can break out and end up with loose blankets in the crib OR turn over and suffocate! Babies in such centers – whether they are swaddled or not – should be checked on frequently. It’s not like they are being put down for a nap and the caregivers all go to sleep for 2 hours! It takes almost no time to look over all the cribs with sleeping babies to make sure they are all ok. It would make much more sense to require that caregivers in a childcare center get trained on safe swaddling techniques and are instructed to not leave sleeping babies unattended for long periods of time.

  2. Melissa says

    We just weaned our 4 month old from swaddling. We didn’t start out swaddling him, but by 10 days old he constantly startled himself awake. He’s a large baby – and strong – so traditional swaddles never worked. After doing research, we chose the Woombie, which looks a bit like a cocoon. It’s a stretchy cotton fitted sack that zips up the front and hugs the baby. It allows arm movement inside close to the body, so our little guy was able to pull his arms anywhere along the side and front of his torso, including up by his face if he wanted. But controlled flailing arms when he startled. And it was loose enough that it gave room for his legs to spread some, addressing the hip dysplasia concerns. When he hit 3 months we switched to a version with arm holes that we could open or close, and that allowed us to wean him. Once a week we tried having him sleep at night with 1 arm out. First 3 weeks it didn’t work, but right at 4 months he slept through the night with 1 arm out. So we did that for a whole week, then 1 week later we popped the other arm out and – voila – he slept with arms unswaddled. A few days later we switched to a sleep sack to give him lots of room for movement for his legs, no more swaddling. Transition worked like a charm. I think there are a lot of different products on the market that take into account the various health and safety concerns and enable an easier transition away from swaddling, such that people don’t have to rely exclusively on traditional swaddling if they aren’t comfortable with it. But in the end, people have to do what works for them. I know our baby needed it, and once he didn’t need it anymore transitioning away was pretty easy.

  3. Lil says

    I think that we can’t keep banning things just because a few people are clueless how to use it. Swaddling is a great tool, and like any tool, needs to be done and used the proper way. My DD had horrible colic for four months and had all kind of sleep problems in her first year, and was swaddled and slept in a swing almost the whole first year because she could not control her arms to go to sleep and would or could not sleep anywhere else at night. We used a Woombie, and her legs were free to do as they pleased, and her hands and arms were free inside the suit to be in whatever position she felt comfortable. She couldn’t break out of it because it zipped up and I’m convinced it saved my life because even with these tools it was a most horrible year. Without swaddling she just simply would have never slept. I think that there are alternatives out there to using a blanket, and that if a parent is having difficulty mastering the art of the perfect blanket swaddle they can use something else. Banning swaddling altogether is just going to stress out already stressed out parents even more I think.

  4. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Stephanie — yes, I can see how poor swaddling technique can be dangerous. It seems to me, though, that making sweeping legislation that bans all swaddling in all childcare situations (like the state of Minnesota has done) is overkill. I feel like there must be more reasonable approaches, like asking parents to sign a waiver, or requiring parents to provide their own swaddling blankets, or requiring childcare workers to get training in safe sleeping and swaddling techniques.

    Still, I know some people think it’s better to be safe than sorry. Thanks for weighing in, Stephanie!

  5. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Andrea K — So glad to hear that swaddling is such a powerful tool for you! I know, though, that it can be kind of a mixed blessing, because (as you mention) you can’t do it forever.

    This article about weaning your baby from the swaddle may be helpful to you:

    Thanks for commenting, Andrea! 🙂

    @ Jules — good point. 🙂 I do understand the push to ensure that daycare and childcare centers are operating as safely as possible, but it does seem unbalanced, doesn’t it?

    Thanks for commenting, Jules.

    @ Mary — thanks for mentioning the sleep sack! While those don’t work well for every baby, they make a great, safe alternative to swaddling with a regular blanket. And they can be great for weaning your baby from the swaddle, too.

    Thanks for joining the conversation, Mary! 🙂

    @ Jennifer M — it’s not for every baby, that’s for sure! 😉 All 3 of mine liked to be swaddled when they were newborns, but they were over it in the first 3 months.

    Thanks for sharing a little bit about your experience, Jennifer!

  6. Stephanie says

    I agree that swaddling can be unsafe, especially in a childcare setting. I have heard of childcare givers swaddling and then placing on stomach, or parents swaddling during sleep training. How horrible and sad for the helpless babies! Frankly many people are uneducated or lack common sense and compassion, and poor swaddling technique and usage is yet another example.

  7. Jennifer M says

    We’re not swaddling fans. My son HATED to be restrained in any way whatsoever. I’ve got three kids, 22 yo, 19 yo and now 9 months old – no swaddling. Two of them slept 7 hours a night at 8 weeks, the other woke up once a night until she was about 3.

  8. Mary says

    We swaddled for calming purposes only. Our little man was a mover in his sleep from an early age and liked having his hands free. We found that when he moved from his rocker to the crib the sleep sacks were the best for him. We used the ones that had the wrap around the chest area but kept his arms free until he was 6 months. Then we moved to the regular sleep sacks until he could walk at 9 months. After that it was regular pjs. I can see where it could be unsafe but you have to do what is right for you and your child. I think the sleep sacks with the velcro around the middle mimic the swaddling which help and also keeps it from coming undone and creating the hazard.

  9. Jules says

    If we weren’t able to swaddle our daughter, I doubt she would have slept at all when she was a newborn! It was a life saver for her and us. She was swaddled until she was almost six months old and she would fall asleep almost before we finished wrapping her. It was the best thing for her, and any siblings she may have will also be swaddled, no matter what these so called experts may say. What a nanny state we live in when soothing our children becomes a matter of public debate. Karp’s book is wonderful and I recommend it to anyone who is expecting.

  10. Andrea K says

    We’ve tried unswaddling our daughter (she’s five and a half months old now), but she has what we call “crazy arms”. She won’t stop rubbing her eyes or knocking her pacifier out of her mouth – then she’s furious and screams for hours. Swaddle her arms, though, and she’s out like a light.

    I know we can’t keep it up forever, but I don’t know what else to do.

    We use a swaddle sleep sack with Velcro straps. She can’t get it around her face, and she’s a back sleeper, so I’m not worried about her rolling over on her face.