Wrapping soothes some babies. It also cuts the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI, including SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents) by keeping babies on their backs during sleep. Wrap your baby from birth up until she can roll onto her tummy (4-6 months).
If baby doesn’t like to be wrapped or can roll onto her tummy, try a safe infant sleeping bag instead. Like wrapping, it helps keep babies on their backs, which reduces the risk of SUDI.
If you co-sleep with your baby don’t wrap her – she might get too hot. This increases the risk of SUDI. Dress baby as you would dress yourself. Co-sleeping with baby can be dangerous in some circumstances.
How to wrap a baby: six steps
1) Fold the top edge of a lightweight cotton or muslin wrap down by about 20 cm. Lay baby on the wrap with shoulders in line with the fold. 2) Place one of baby’s hands under the fold. 3) Bring the edge of the wrap across the body. Tuck it under baby’s legs. 4) Place the other hand under the fold. 5) Bring the other edge of the wrap across baby’s body. Tuck in under baby’s back. 6) Fold any extra length up and under baby’s legs. Wrap firmly, but make sure that the wrap isn’t too tight and that baby can fully stretch out her legs. Wrapping the legs and chest too tightly can lead to hip and breathing problems.
What to wear underneath the wrap
In warm weather, baby just needs a singlet and nappy underneath the wrap. Overheating has been linked with SUDI, so try to keep baby’s sleep environment at a cool, comfortable temperature.
In cool weather, dress baby in a lightweight jumpsuit under the wrap. Don’t use a bunny rug or blanket – it can cause overheating. Be careful not to overheat the house, especially if baby is ill.
Make sure the wrap doesn’t cover the head, ears or chin. Wraps that are too high can obstruct baby’s breathing and cause baby to overheat.