Should I Keep Breastfeeding While Swaddled or Not?

Babies love to be swaddled, but is breastfeeding while swaddled safe for your baby? Most experts recommend that you don’t swaddle your baby while breastfeeding for several reasons.

It’s tempting to BF your baby while he’s swaddled. Swaddling soothes your baby, helping them relax and fall right to sleep. If you want your baby to go to sleep after eating, it seems sensible to keep your baby in the swaddle while feeding. 

While it might seem like a good idea, experts recommend against it. Let’s take a look at what parents need to know. 

Do You Take The Baby Out of the Swaddle to Feed? 

Yes, it’s essential to take your baby out of the swaddle to feed. Babies use their arms and hands while breastfeeding; research shows that babies need their hands to locate the nipple, latch properly, and encourage a letdown. 

If you wonder – can a baby eat while swaddled – believe it or not, it’s sort of like an adult eating with his hands tied behind his back. It’s not comfortable and easy for your baby.

Another important reason to unswaddle your baby is that it’s easy to miss hunger cues when your baby is swaddled. Babies bring their hands towards their mouths when they’re hungry, and their fists tend to be tightly closed rather than relaxed. When their hands are covered, it’s easy to miss those cues.

The most important reason to avoid feeding a baby while swaddled is that your baby will be too cozy. As soon as the milk hits your baby’s belly, he might start to dose off and go to sleep. Babies need to have full, complete feedings to encourage proper milk supply and optimal growth. Removing the swaddle keeps your baby awake and stimulated.

baby relaxes after swaddling

Something you should know early:

I know that I tried to BF my baby while swaddled, but I quickly learned that swaddling and breastfeeding don’t go hand-in-hand. My baby fell asleep too quickly and woke up sooner than they should because they were still hungry. My doctor told me to stop feeding while swaddled, and he started to go longer stretches between feedings. He no longer dozed off as soon as he touched the breast.

Here are some great swaddling tips with safety!

Should I Swaddle My Baby Before or After Feedings?

The best time to swaddle your baby is after a feeding. Babies cannot eat well while swaddled, especially breastfed babies. After your baby finishes breastfeeding, put a fresh diaper on your baby and swaddle, especially if your baby is a newborn and sleep time is coming again. 

Should I Unswaddle The Baby for Night Feedings?

It’s good for babies to learn the difference between nighttime and daytime. Here’s what I did.

When my babies woke up in the middle of the night, I took them out of the swaddled and breastfed them, making sure to burp well. When they seemed nearly finished, I changed their diaper, put them back in the swaddle, and finished breastfeeding. Doing this essentially “topped off” the rest of what my babies wanted to eat, but they had a full feeding regardless.

Breastfeeding in a swaddle causes your baby to dose off fast. As long as your baby already had a full feeding, swaddling a baby for the last minutes of a night feeding is no big deal.

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