Is there anything cuter than a new baby wrapped as snug as a bug and sleeping soundly? Absolutely not (at least in my opinion). A baby burrito is the dream, you guys. Correctly swaddling your baby isn't as easy as those maternity nurses make it look, though. I guess practice really does make perfect. Once you finally master the skill you, of course, have safety precautions to consider. So if you're asking yourself, "Can my baby get overheated in a swaddle?" know that you're asking the right question that will help you keep your baby safe while they sleep.
The American Academy of Pediatric (AAP) developed safe sleep recommendations for all parents to follow, advising caregivers to always place their baby on their back, in their own sleeping space but in the same room (also known as co-sleeping) and without any loose blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, or other toys. A swaddle is a great alternative to those unsafe covers and blankets, allowing your baby to keep warm while simultaneously staying safe.
The AAP also says swaddling is safe, so long as parents follow guidelines for correct use. These guidelines include, according to AAP, making sure that the swaddle is not too tight on your baby's hips and legs, and to stop swaddling once your baby can turn over by themselves.
Despite the AAP telling parents swaddling is a safe and effective way to calm a fussy baby and promote safe sleep, swaddling is not without risk, either. The Mayo Clinic explains that babies are not yet capable of regulating their own body temperature and, as a result, they can become too hot and essentially overheat while they're swaddled and if they're not carefully monitored. This is why, perhaps and according to The Mayo Clinic, heat exhaustion is common in young babies.
Overheating can also increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), according to the AAP, which is why it is so important that parents look out for signs that their baby may be too hot. The AAP suggests parents only dress their babies in the same amount of layers the parents, themselves, are wearing. The AAP goes on to explain, saying:
"Swaddling can increase the chance your baby will overheat, so avoid letting your baby get too hot. The baby could be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and rapid breathing."
Make sure that you dress your baby lightly underneath their swaddle, as there's probably no need for your baby to wear flannel pajamas. It's also advised parents use thin, lightweight swaddle blankets to minimize the risk of their baby overheating. By paying attention to your baby, and maintaining a comfortable temperature in your baby's sleeping area, swaddling could very well be the one thing that helps your baby sleep through the night.