The ABC’s of safe sleep go a long way to keeping your baby as safe as possible. Your little one should sleep: Alone, on the Back, and in a Crib (or similar safe space). But I advise parents to add one more step to the safety routine: Swaddle your baby before sleep. 

Is it important to swaddle a baby? 

Yes. Besides helping to calm your baby and promoting sleep, swaddling is a safety measure to prevent dangerous mishaps that can occur while your infant is sleeping. 

Sure, wrapping your baby in a traditional sleep swaddle can feel weird at first, like baby origami, but once you understand the benefits of swaddling, it will become a core part of your baby’s sleep routine. 

Benefits of Swaddling: Helps Babies Stay in a Safe Sleeping Position

Many babies seem unhappy sleeping on the back, although it is considered to be the safest position. They may wriggle or cry…or may just not seem so comfortable. When parents get dismayed (and exhausted!) with the fussing, they may give up and lay their baby on the stomach. In fact, pediatricians used to suggest babies sleep tummy-down because that would help some babies sleep better, but retracted their claim when stomach sleep was found to cause SIDS, killing thousands of babies each year.

The good news is that babies tightly wrapped like little burritos are happy ones! When in a sleep swaddle, babies recall the familiar feeling of life in the womb, and the calming reflex turns on. They sleep so well on the back, parents won’t be tricked into trying the stomach.

Note: Some babies resist swaddling initially, but once you rock and shush them a little they calm and the wrapping keeps them peaceful and happy longer.

Benefits of Swaddling: Reduces the Temptation to Bed-Share

Overcome with fatigue, you may accidentally fall asleep with your baby on a risky surface, like a sofa, an adult bed, etc. When you’re exhausted your brain gets numb, just like when you’re drunk! That’s a big problem. Of course you would never bring your baby into bed with you if you were drunk…so why do it if you are “drunk” tired? You could roll on your baby or put an arm over her face without even realizing it. Swaddling helps babies sleep a little better so you are less tempted to do something that might boost your baby’s risk of SIDS and suffocation.

[Read: SIDS: Reduce Your Baby's Risk]

Benefits of Swaddling: Reduces the Chance Your Baby Will Roll Over

By 2 to 4 months, most babies learn to roll over. Another benefit of swaddling is that it makes rolling on to the stomach much more difficult, however, not out of the question. This fact led me to an “Aha!” moment...Wouldn’t we save babies’ lives if a sleep swaddle and bassinet combo existed, that made it impossible for a baby to roll over? 

I thought about that a lot…then invented one! 

Happiest Baby’s SNOO Smart Sleeper comes with a special sleep swaddle with “wings” that clip into the side of this “smart” baby bassinet. If used properly, the baby CANNOT roll over. In fact, SNOO is the first—and only—infant sleep system to receive De Novo Authorization from the FDA for its ability to keep sleeping babies safely on their backs. (Visit for important safety information.)

Whether you use SNOO or a regular bassinet, swaddling makes sleep much safer, in your baby’s first few months of life. (I also recommend keeping your baby’s bed free of pillows, loose blankets, stuffed animals, etc. These are all suffocation risks.)

Benefits of Swaddling:  Increases Breastfeeding Success

If your baby cries a lot, it can bring up subtle worries that perhaps your milk is not satisfying your baby. It turns out, this is a key reason moms give up on the breast. But, since wrapping reduces crying, it therefore boosts successful breastfeeding, which is known to lower the risk of SIDS by 50%! That’s a win-win-win situation! When combined with white noise, swinging motion and sucking, swaddling works even better to soothe crying babies and boost sleep.

Be Sure to Swaddle Safely

Swaddling and installing your infant’s car seat have an important thing in common: You have to do it correctly to keep your baby safe. Many moms and dads find that perfecting the proper swaddle form can be quite a challenge. The swaddle should be secure, but shouldn’t be too tight or loose, and have the right amount of insulation without being too heavy. 

I designed the Sleepea 5-second baby swaddle with baby safety and parental sanity in mind. Some of the key features include:

  • 100% organic soft and breathable cotton
  • A unique double-zip allows for easy middle-of-the-night diaper changes
  • Special inner flaps keep even the trickiest of Houdini babies bundled all night
  • Special adjustable fastener designed to be extra quiet
  • Sleepea’s shape is healthy for hip position and development

When used in conjunction with the SNOO bassinet, your baby is guaranteed to sleep safe and sound. I recommend wrapping your baby for all naps and night sleep until she starts turning over on her own (usually around 4 months).

About Dr. Harvey Karp

Dr. Harvey Karp, one of America’s most trusted pediatricians, is the founder of Happiest Baby and the inventor of the groundbreaking SNOO Smart Sleeper. After years of treating patients in Los Angeles, Dr. Karp vaulted to global prominence with the release of the bestselling Happiest Baby on the Block and Happiest Toddler on the Block. His celebrated books and videos have since become standard pediatric practice, translated into more than 20 languages and have helped millions of parents. Dr. Karp’s landmark methods, including the 5 S’s for soothing babies, guide parents to understand and nurture their children and relieve stressful issues, like new-parent exhaustion, infant crying, and toddler tantrums.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.