Can You Swaddle Too Tightly? Check Out These Dangers

By Maria Wilcox •  Updated: 07/28/22 •  5 min read
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Can you swaddle too tightly? Possibly so. But don’t worry. Today’s post focuses on how to keep your baby safe, comfortable, and happy in his or her swaddle. Join us as we begin!

What Happens If You Swaddle Too Tightly?

Swaddling a baby too tightly comes with serious risks.

In extreme cases, it can cut off your baby’s air supply. In other situations, it can cause your baby’s lower body to become too straight and stiff which can result in a condition known as hip dysplasia

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Can You Hurt a Baby By Swaddling Too Tight?

Yes, you can hurt your baby by swaddling them too tight.

Not only will he or she be uncomfortable, but also, you may end up cutting off your baby’s air supply. In addition, you may be permanently affecting your baby’s growth and development, by locking his or her lower limbs into a straight and stagnant position.

Can Swaddling Hurt Baby’s Arms?

It is possible that swaddling too tight, to the point where you can’t stick any fingers between your baby’s swaddle and their chest, could hurt your baby’s arms…and even their whole body! 

Still, you must keep the swaddle pretty snug, as wrapping the baby’s arms downward keeps him or her from breaking free from the swaddle which, as we’ve already mentioned, brings with it risks of its own. 

Note: If you are concerned about hurting your baby’s arms while swaddling, consider purchasing the type of swaddle that zips and allows the arms to remain encompassed, but more loose (such as the Love to Dream Swaddle Up).

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Are Tight Swaddles Safe?

Snug swaddles (not overly tight swaddles) are safer than loose blankets. Tight swaddles simulate life in the womb by encompassing your baby’s body (which is why should you swaddle a baby). This makes your baby feel warm and secure.

Loose blankets are a risk because they may cover your baby’s face and cause suffocation. This is why you should never wrap your baby’s swaddle too loose.

How Do You Know If Your Baby Is Swaddled Too Tightly?

How to Know If Swaddle Is Too Tight?

You will know that your baby is swaddled too tightly if you are unable to fit at least two fingers into the space between the swaddle and his or her chest.

At this point, you’ll want to loosen the swaddle, but only a little bit. Loosening it too much is another cause for concern due to the risk of suffocation

How Tight Should a Swaddle Be?

How Tight Should Velcro Swaddle Be?

A swaddle of any type should be tight enough that you can fit two fingers in between the swaddle and your baby’s chest. The baby’s legs and hips should be able to move freely, but the arms should be downward and wrapped tighter. If your baby can wiggle him or herself out of the swaddle, it is too loose. 

Can You Swaddle a Baby Too Much?

Try not to swaddle your baby all day. It’s best used as a signal for sleep. By allowing your baby some freedom of movement, you enable them to develop back and neck strength. 

When able, the best thing you can do for your baby is to allow them some time on their tummies on the floor (preferably on a clean blanket while supervised). 

Can You Swaddle Too Tightly? Yes, You Definitely Can.

Swaddling a baby is beneficial, but you need to know how to do it correctly.

Always make sure you can insert two fingers between your baby’s chest and the swaddle, and never allow your baby to rest in a loose swaddle. 

Check out more swaddle posts on the blog:

Maria Wilcox

Former instructor with an M.A. in Education turned grateful stay-at-home mama to one, I look to share helpful insights related to babies, toddlers, kids, and families for the benefit of real people just like you.

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