The benefits of swaddling has been time tested and recent studies by Dr. Rachel Moon at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC, found “parents who routinely used swaddling were more likely to find it effective and to place their infant supine when swaddled.” (1)
What does this mean?
The benefits of supine sleeping position are not much of a debate and have been the recommend position since 1992. All pediatricians agree, infants need to sleep in the supine position to reduce the outcome of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). A study by Skadberg, Morild, & Markestad in 1998 (2) shows how supine position can greatly reduce occurrence of SIDS. he supine position reduces SIDS because the possibility of their air ways (nose & mouth) being blocked is lowered. The supine position reduces pressure (from the babies own weight) applied to the lungs of the baby to prevent choking.
Overall, supine position is the way parents need to put their baby to sleep. One method to train infants to sleep in this position is by swaddling. Thus, reason #1 to swaddle is to reduce the occurrence of SIDS by training your infant to sleep in the supine position.
Supine position – baby’s back is against the mattress (sleeps on the back)
Prone position – baby’s back is facing up away from the mattress (sleeps on the belly)
(1) Swaddling: Will It Get Babies Onto Their Backs for Sleep?, R. Moon, etc, 2011
(2) Abandoning prone sleeping: Effect on the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, Skadberg, Morild, & Markestad, 1998