Welcome to parenthood where just when you think you have a handle on what you're doing, things change and you're struck with the fear that you might have inadvertently put your child in harms way. Parenting is a constant learning experience, that's for sure!

My son would get so mad when we'd swaddle him as a newborn that even when we'd put John in the Velcro swaddlers, he'd find a way to free his arms. Although doctors told us it would be best for his sleep if we kept John swaddled at bedtime, we ended up not swaddling him at all by the time he was about a month old, putting him in sleeper sack pajamas instead.

A lot of parents do swaddle their little ones for the first few months of their lives because for decades experts have told us to. The thought has been that swaddling a small baby would promote better sleep habits, but a new study out of the University of Bristol in England says that swaddling actually increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by a third.

The study discovered that the risk was especially high for squirmy babies who rolled onto their sides or belly while swaddled and researchers say this reinforces the belief that babies should be put to sleep on their backs.

Lead researcher, Anna Pease, told the New York Times, “We suggest that parents think about what age they should stop swaddling. Babies start to roll over between 4 and 6 months, and that point may be the best time to stop.”

According to the American SIDS Institute, infant deaths from SIDS have dropped dramatically but there are still about 4,000 sleep-related infant deaths each year right here in the United States.

If you have questions or concerns about swaddling your little one, you should definitely talk to your pediatrician. There's no harm or shame in calling them whenever you have a question because they want for your baby to be as happy and healthy as you do.

[via American Academy of Pediatrics/New York Times/American SIDS Institute]