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).