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Durham University

Durham Infancy & Sleep Centre

Swaddle Sleep Study

Staff of the Durham University Parent-Baby Sleep Lab invite parents and babies to take part in a study looking at baby swaddling.

We are interested in the effects swaddling has upon the wellbeing of breastfed babies’ with special interest in their sleep and feeding behaviour.

Who do we need?

We are looking for exclusively breastfed participants who are up to 4 months old (and their mums!) who have never been swaddled and who can participate in two overnight lab stays. Swaddling is the wrapping of a baby so that arms are restrained. If this technique is new to you, we’d love to have you take part!

What will it involve?

If you agree to take part in this study you will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand what the study is about and fill out a form giving us some basic details about you and your baby. You will then complete an online sleep diary for three nights, detailing your home sleep routine. This should take no longer than 15-20 minutes per night. Finally,You and your baby will spend two nights in the Sleep Lab. The Sleep Lab is equipped to be as comfortable and homely as possible: It has its own private bathroom, kitchenette, TV with integrated Freeview and DVD, sofa, a king-size bed and a cot.
Your baby will be observed for two night, one swaddled and one un-swaddled. Data will be collected via video recordings and devices which measure your baby’s breathing and heart rate. This technology is safe and comfortable for your baby. The information we collect will be stored on a secure password-protected university device and analysed using software. Any personal information will be anonymised for publication. A member of the research team will be present each night in a room adjacent to your bedroom. The Sleep Lab is located at the Queen's Campus of Durham University on the edge of Stockton on Tees. (See How to Find Us).

About the swaddle

The type of swaddle we are using for this study is a soft, stretchy and breathable swaddling sack. It has a two-way zipper that facilitates nappy changes and its design enables the free movement of baby's hip joints, important for safety. You can see an example of this swaddle sack here. We have chosen this swaddle as it is easy to use with the leads to the monitors. We have purchased the swaddles used at full retail price and do not endorse this or any other swaddling product.

A thank you

As a thank you gift for your two-night participation in this study we will give you a £100 in high street gift vouchers.

What are the benefits of taking part?

You will be helping researchers to find out the effects that swaddling has on young babies. In particular, you will help us understand how swaddling influences babies’ sleep, feeding and interaction. This knowledge will be used to inform health professionals, allowing them to advise parents more effectively.


Your confidentiality is important to us. All information we collect will be stored safely and will not be shared with anyone. Your name will not be on any of the data. In any reports we may write, information will be summarised so you cannot be identified. Approval from the Durham University Ethics Committee has been obtained and the project is covered by Durham University insurance.

What will happen to the results of this study?

The results of this study will be analysed and published in a PhD thesis and in academic and clinical articles. You and your baby’s identities will be confidential and only anonymised data will be used. You may ask for a copy of these reports or find them on this website when completed.

Who is organising and funding this study?

This study has been organised by staff of the Durham University Parent-Infant Sleep Lab and is funded by Durham University and ESRC (the Economic & Social Research Council). It is being undertaken as part of a PhD research programme.

You are welcome to come and visit the lab and we would be happy to answer any questions you have.

Contact: or fill in the online volunteer form below if you are interested in participating in the Swaddle Sleep Study at Durham University Parent Infant Sleep Lab, Queens Campus. Someone will get in touch with you shortly about taking part in the study.
If you are currently pregnant but would like to register your interest in taking part in the study when you baby is born, please fill in the contact information and then register your baby's due date in the date of birth section. We will be in touch to ask if you are still interested in taking part after your baby is born.
We look forward to hearing from you.