Really Good Reasons to Swaddle Your Infant

I just stumbled across this article by Dr. Harvey Karp on Huffington Post today, which goes into some of the really good reasons why infants should be swaddled. 

Each year, an estimated 3,000 infant deaths are the result of sleep-related deaths, like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and accidental suffocation. Since the Back to Sleep campaign launched 19 years ago–in which organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) work with health care providers and hospitals to ensure parents are aware that sleeping on the back is the safest way for babies to sleep–there has been a significant decline in the number of SIDS deaths.  However, the number of accidental suffocation deaths are surprisingly–and quite unfortunately–on the rise.  The AAP has recently issued a new set of guidelines that includes complete avoidance of tummy sleeping, as well as avoiding bed-sharing (i.e., sleeping in the same room but not in same bed) and soft, saggy sleep surfaces. 

Swaddling is highly recommended by many children’s organizations, including the AAP.   But it is important to know how to correctly swaddle your infant in order to ensure it is done safely and effectively.  Dr. Karp’s article goes into the keys to and potential benefits of safe swaddling. 

When swaddling is combined with the other 5 S’s techniques (shushing, swinging, sucking) I elaborated on in my recent post, it can reduce other serious problems triggered by infant crying/parental exhaustion, including postpartum depression.  In Dr. Karp’s article, he indicates that infant irritability (and hence, parental exhaustion) is a leading cause of sleep-related deaths–examples of which he provides and which have a direct correlation with the new guidelines issued by the AAP that I mention above (i.e., tummy sleeping and accidentally falling asleep with their baby nestled against their bodies on an unsafe surface, like their bed, a recliner or couch).


2 thoughts on “Really Good Reasons to Swaddle Your Infant

  1. Hi Ivy,

    I’m been recently diagnosed with PPD with my 3rd child. He is 3 mos old. Yesterday, I’ve been prescribed Zoloft for a month however, I have yet to take it because I am very nervous and scared of taking it. My PPD was triggered by insomnia and has now become quite chronic. I only get about 3-4 hrs of sleep each night. On top of it I’m getting the involuntary jerks that awakens when I’m trying to either drift back to sleep or to nap. Getting up in the daytime is quite a struggle. If I could sleep forever, I would. But, my kids and family are what’s keeping me from giving up.

    I wanted to ask you about your experiences with taking your meds. The initial and when you’ve finally ended (if you’ve stopped). I need alot of support in taking the meds as I”ve heard it’s quite difficult to wean yourself off it when you want to stop( even w/ gradual tapering off).

    • Hi Melissa,
      Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! I was initially extremely wary about taking an antidepressant, but I did take it upon being prescribed Paxil (and Xanax for my panic attacks and to help me until the Paxil kicked in 4 wks later) because I was desperate to be able to function, sleep, eat, and take care of my daughter. I had no choice, really, if I wanted to get better. It only took me 4 wks before I was off my Ambien and able to function, sleep, eat, and be closer to being my normal self again. I was fortunate that the combination of meds was effective for me. Ultimately, I was on the Paxil for about 1 year. Just remember, everyone’s situation is different, so it could take longer or shorter than it took for me. Within 6 months, I felt I could stop taking it. I asked my doctor about starting the weaning process. It ended up taking me about seven months to get off the medication completely, after first halving the dosage and then taking the medication every other day to every two days and every three days. During the weaning process, I experienced what I thought had to be vertigo … the sensation of losing balance while walking and every time I turned my head. It was a weird feeling and the main sign that I wasn’t ready to be completely off Paxil yet. Finally, at the direction of my new doctor (as I ditched the other one due to lack of bedside manner), I stopped taking it about 1 year from the time I started taking it.

      Be sure not to stop taking your meds on your own and abruptly. Wean gradually and at the direction of your doctor! If you could, please keep me posted on your progress, and do let me know if you have any questions and/or just want someone to “chat” with on all this.

      All the best, Ivy

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