Swaddling and SIDS — The Bump
Babies: 0 - 3 Months

Swaddling and SIDS

When DD was discharged from NICU, we were told by the nurses that new SIDS guidelines say to only swaddle up to the armpits, leaving arms free.  With a preemie, we were even more concerned about SIDS, and have been following their advice...but her sleep is pretty rough the past couple of days, and I'm ready to try a real swaddle like we did with my first daughter.  Anything to get more than a couple hours of sleep at a time.

I can't find anything about the new guidelines online....has anyone heard of the new "leaving arms out" suggestion?

Re: Swaddling and SIDS

  • I dont think a lo that young can really move around much..? If it were me I would still swaddle and maybe roll up a towel for recieving blankets and put on either side like bumpers to hold her in place. Maybe also have her sleep in your room in a bassinet or pnp so you can check on her? I havnt heard anything about that and my pedi actually let us put our ds on his tummy to sleep since 1mo. Its so confusing when everyone gives different advice (websites vs. nurses vs. dr's) just go with your instinct or you could ask your pedi?
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  • I haven't heard of this.  In fact, my hospital double swaddled all the way up to the neck.  I would love to know more if you find these guidelines posted somewhere.
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  • Huh, no I haven't heard anything about that. I had a NICU baby last year and they swaddled all the way up. Just got discharged from the hospital with #2 today and they did the full swaddle with two blankets.

    Honestly I'd just do the real swaddle if I were in your shoes. 

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  • Congratulations, Rach!!!!  :)
  • they told us the same thing at our hospital.  we tried it for a few weeks and he wakes himself up all the time because he is constantly moving his arms around.  We decided to try an arms in swaddle with his swaddle-me,  there is no way he can break out of it and get it over his face(which was my hospitals reaon for the arms out awaddle).  With the swaddle-me he sleeps much better...about 4.5 hours a stretch at night! he is in a bassinet by our bed so I can check on his often...I find that he rolls around less swaddled this way. 
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  • Never heard of that.  They swaddled up to her neck in the hospital.
  • our hospital told us the same thing. When I asked them why, they said it was because LOs who learn to self-soothe early on have less of a risk of SIDS (must be similar to pacifier use linked to lower risk... hands/paci, same idea I guess).

    So I wouldn't stress about it too much. If it helps her sleep, go ahead and swaddle :)

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  • the nurses at my hospital swaddled my LO with the arms covered and thats what we do too. Her arms are what keeps her awake.
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  • image cala09:
    I haven't heard of this.  In fact, my hospital double swaddled all the way up to the neck.  I would love to know more if you find these guidelines posted somewhere.

    Same. We still double swaddle.  I believe it's a problem when they can roll over. 

  • I am a NICU nurse and those are the new guidelines, in fact swaddling is not even really recommended. The guidelines state that if you need to cover your LO in a crib to only use a blanket up to their armpits, and to tuck the edges of the blanket under the mattress. Now, with that being said, I used sleepsacks and would use the swaddle part to swaddle DS's arms even though it says not too. However he would have his arms out within minutes of me doing this. I also sometimes put him on his belly to sleep because it helps him get comfortable when he's really gassy and is exhausted. Swaddling is really a comfort measure for them and makes them feel secure as if they are still in the womb, and what I found helped when he wanted that comfort was to let DS sleep in his swing. He felt snuggled and his head is slightly up which gave him a better airway to sleep, he still sleeps better in his swing than his crib.

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