Though some doctors are now recommending against it, Dr. Karp says swaddling is key to helping babies fall asleep.
"Swaddling is one of the few things we've found to help babies sleep better, especially when they're sleeping on their backs. Babies don't like sleeping on their backs because they feel like they're falling, they feel like they're insecure. So swaddling, plus white noise, helps them feel more secure, not startle themselves awake, and helps them sleep better.
The idea that swaddling increases sleep risk is not true. Studies show that even if the baby gets unwrapped, and the blanket gets in their face, if it's a light, thin swaddling blanket, that's not a risk for the baby. It's only a risk if it is a comforter, duvet, or something thicker or heavier. Same thing for the hips. You can swaddle perfectly well and protect the hips. In fact, swaddling is recommended by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. But you have to do it so the legs can bend a little bit — which is how we do it in our culture."