Last Updated on May 11, 2023
As a new parent, you may have heard that swaddling can be a helpful technique for calming and comforting your baby.
But is it okay to keep your little one swaddled while they are feeding?
In this blog post, we will explore can you keep baby swaddled while feeding and also discuss the pros and cons of swaddling during feeding, so you can decide whether or not it’s right for your baby. So, keep reading!
- What is a swaddle?
- Is it ok to keep the baby swaddled while feeding?
- Watch This Video On Swaddle Or Not To Swaddle
- When should I swaddle my baby?
- When should I unwrap my baby?
- What do you put on a baby under a swaddle?
- Can you put a swaddled baby in a car seat?
- How do I know if my baby does not want to be swaddled?
- Wrapping up
What is a swaddle?
A swaddle is a piece of cloth or a blanket used to wrap a baby snugly, especially when they are sleeping. Swaddling can help to calm a fussy baby and promote sleep by making them feel secure and warm.
It can also help to prevent them from scratching their face or disturbing themselves with their startle reflex.
Is it ok to keep the baby swaddled while feeding?
Swaddling, an age-old practice can be a comforting and soothing practice for babies, helping them to feel secure and warm.
But pediatricians don’t recommend swaddling while feeding as the baby may not be able to move freely enough to latch on properly, which can lead to ineffective feeding.
“The baby needs to be able to move their arms and legs around during feeding so they can properly latch onto the breast or bottle,” says Dr. Steph Lee, a pediatrician and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Plus, swaddling during feeding may increase the risk of overheating and choking.
So, it’s best to unswaddle your baby before mealtime and ensure they have plenty of support as they eat. This will allow them to stay comfortable and enjoy their meal without any having any risk factors.
Dr. Lee also suggests using a swaddle wrap only during sleep time and not while feeding.
Watch This Video On Swaddle Or Not To Swaddle
When should I swaddle my baby?
The American Academy Of Pediatrics recommends only introducing swaddling to a baby when they are newborns. But as the baby grows, they become more active and their movements can make them uncomfortable in a swaddle.
“Swaddling your baby is recommended from birth to the time they show signs of rolling over (which generally happens sometime between 4-6 months of age, but can happen earlier).” says Dr. Lee.
At this point, it’s time to stop swaddling, as the baby is likely to become uncomfortable and be at risk of overheating.
However, Dr. Lee admits that swaddling is important for newborns as it reminds them of their comfort and security in the womb.
Plus, it establishes a well-regulated sleep cycle at the start of the baby’s life, which can be beneficial in both the short- and long term.
On top of this, this effective technique can reduce the risk of sleep-related death among babies and keep the baby calm.
So, you can swaddle your baby at bedtime and keep them swaddled for as long as it’s comfortable for them.
But remember, keeping the baby swaddled while feeding is not advised.
Also Read: Top Breast Pump To Induce Lactation
When should I unwrap my baby?
As stated above, you should unwrap your baby during feeding time. Besides, if you see the little one starts to roll over, you should also unwrap them.
On average, babies develop the ability to roll over within two and four months.
However, this also carries with it an increased risk of SIDS as your baby may be able to roll onto their tummy but not back again.
Therefore, parents should remain especially vigilant during this period.
Dr. Lee advises parents to keep an eye on their baby’s movements at this time. And she also emphasizes parents not keep their babies unattended.
If the baby rolls over and can’t turn back, it may cause suffocation, leading to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
What do you put on a baby under a swaddle?
If you are swaddling your baby into bed and want to ensure that they are comfortable and at the right temperature, you can use a long sleeve onesie or pajama under the swaddle as a base layer of clothing.
This will provide warmth and insulation for your baby and help keep them comfortable in a room at a stable temperature of 68-70℉ (20-22.2℃).
Here are some additional things to consider:
- If the room is warmer, use a short sleeve onesie or diaper as the base layer of clothing, which will help keep your baby cooler.
- Add an extra layer of clothing under the swaddle in colder temperatures to help your baby stay warm, such as a bodysuit or footed pajamas.
- It is crucial to ensure your baby is not overheated or too cold, as this can affect their comfort and sleep.
- To determine the right amount of clothing for your baby, you can feel the back of their neck or chest to see if they are warm to the touch.
- If they feel hot or sweaty, they may have too many layers of clothing, and you may need to remove a layer.
- If they feel cold or clammy, they may not have enough layers, and you may need to add another layer to keep them warm.
Remember also to pay attention to your baby’s cues and be prepared to adjust their clothing as needed to calm infants.
Also read: How to keep baby formula warm at night
Can you put a swaddled baby in a car seat?
While swaddling your baby can be a great way to provide comfort and security, Dr. Lee does not recommend putting a swaddled baby in a car seat.
The shoulder straps of the car seat are designed to rest on the child’s shoulders and hold them securely in place in the event of a collision or sudden stop.
When a baby is swaddled, the shoulder straps may not be able to properly locate the child’s shoulders, which could put the baby at risk of injury or death.
To keep your baby safe, it’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the car seat and ensure that the child is properly secured according to the guidelines.
Don’t take any chances with your little one’s safety – follow the car seat guidelines carefully!
Lee also warns parents never to leave their baby unattended in a car seat, as it can be a suffocation hazard.
If you need to step away, make sure to take your baby out of the car seat first or have someone else watch them.
How do I know if my baby does not want to be swaddled?
Is your little one trying to break free from their swaddle? This could signify that they are ready to stretch their limbs and move around more freely during sleep time.
Here are some signs that your baby may not want to be swaddled:
- They are trying to break free from the swaddle
- They are fussing or crying excessively while swaddled
- They resist being put into the swaddle
- They seem uncomfortable or agitated while swaddled
- They have started rolling over or are showing signs of wanting to roll over
- They have outgrown the size limits for the swaddle blanket or wrap
- They are waking up more frequently or having trouble falling asleep at night
- They are showing signs of wanting more sleep space to move and explore their environment
Also read: Microwaving water for formula
Yes. You should unswaddle your baby for night feedings because it can be uncomfortable and can prevent them from being able to locate the nipples without using their hands. Additionally, leaving them swaddled communicates that it is not time to wake up but time to keep sleeping.
No. You should never feed or burp a baby while they are swaddled. Swaddling restricts the baby’s movement, making it difficult for them to swallow or digest their food properly. Additionally, babies should not be swaddled if they are showing signs of being too hot or too cold. If you’re unsure how to safely swaddle your baby, consult your pediatrician for advice.
As we can see, it is not safe to swaddle a baby while you are feeding them.
Although swaddling can be a comforting and soothing practice for babies, it’s essential to give them the freedom to move and access their hands and arms during feeding time.
This can help them latch on better and nurse.
If you know someone keeping their baby swaddled while feeding, share this article with them.
If you have any queries or advice, feel free to reach us. We would love to hear from you.
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Dr. Leah Alexander is a board-certiﬁed general pediatrician and has been practicing pediatrics at Elizabeth Pediatric Group of New Jersey since 2000. Since 2005, she has been working as an independently contracted pediatrician with Medical Doctors Associates at Pediatricare Associates of New Jersey. She also enjoys cooking outside of the medical profession. Read more