Q: Is it recommended to use duct tape when swaddling an infant?
A: Not recommended.
So it turns out that using duct tape to secure a fidgety baby trying to escape from a Swaddle Me blanket is not recommended.
I cannot take credit for this idea.
In The Happiest Baby on the Block, author Dr. Harvey Karp, who attests to the effectiveness of tightly swaddling infants to mimic life in the womb, cites an example of a couple he worked with that used duct tape to ensure the baby straight jacket would not unravel.
Ken and Kristie said, "whenever Henry sneaks out of his blanket he cries as if to say 'What have you done for me lately? We found that securing the wrap with duct tape gives us an extra 45 minutes of sleep between feedings."
As cruel and barbaric as it sounds, I was actually psyched when I read this was an option.
My four month old son has been morphing into the Incredible Hulk during the night and has been violently tearing through the velcro of his Swaddle Me blanket. With the freedom to wave his arms around, he hits himself in the face, knocks the binky out of his mouth, which ultimately prevents all of us from getting any shut eye.
"The duct tape could be our solution,!" I thought.
Just seconds after thinking my problems were over, my mind started to race:
Where should the duct tape go? If it goes under the elbow, he could still break out of it, leaving a loose blanket in the crib and increasing his chances of him suffocating.... If it went above the elbows, he may still be able to wiggle the blanket up over his face.... What if I put the tape on too tightly and stop his circulation?..... Dr. Karp is a baby guru and he would not print something in his book that could be potentially dangerous? Would he????
I decided to email Dr. Karp and find out where the duct tape should be placed. I received a response from a woman named Emily. Here is what it said:
"Dr. Karp doesn't recommend using the duct tape to secure the swaddle. Instead he recommends:
1) Use a strong, coarse white noise (like our womb sound CD) all night long. That will help keep him from struggling so much. Use it for naps and at night at least the first year to keep his sleep habits regular through teething, growth spurts, etc.
2) Make sure you're using a large swaddling blanket (43 or 44" square) or a big "swaddle me" blanket that closes with velcro."
Glad I asked.
The Swaddle Me blanket has been put to rest.
Unfortunately, my son has not.