Should you always swaddle your newborn, even when the weather is hot?
Swaddling is useful in controlling the early infant startle reflex, which is common in all infants up to around three months of age, says Dr Natalie Epton, a specialist paediatrician and neonatologist.
A newborn, used to the close confines of its mother’s womb, will flail his limbs and wake startled from sleep if he is not appropriately restrained.
Swaddles should be made of light, breathable fabric (the light, stretchy muslin ones are best), and be wrapped securely (not tightly) around the infant, without obstructing the mouth or nose, or be constricting around the neck.
Adjust the clothing that your baby wears under the muslin swaddle so he doesn’t feel too warm.
It is not absolutely necessary to swaddle. If you prefer not to use an air-con, and you find your child sweats excessively when swaddled, despite minimising the clothing underneath, you can consider husk pillows, which have been traditionally used here for generations to soothe infants to sleep.
The rationale is that it mimics the weight of a caregiver’s hand on the infant’s body, and so provides comfort.
But, risks associated with this soothing method include the potential for the pillow to move and become a suffocation hazard to the baby, especially if it slips over the face, obscuring the mouth and nose.
Such pillows should not be used unless you’re keeping a close watch on your little one.