Wrapping/Swaddling

Aleks - posted on 02/15/2010 ( 12 moms have responded )

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I would like to know what this community thinks about baby swaddling? Is it used? Till what age?

The reason I am asking is my (eastern European) parents were, and still are, horrified at babies being wraped. To them it's akin to tying up a baby in a straight jacket! (Thats what they told me).
I used to swadle my 1st born cos I was told it helps them feel more secure by my mil and my partner ( and some others like the maternal child health nurse, hosp midwives, etc )...

With my 2nd I didn't swaddle her at all (though at times when I was too tired and angry after not being able to sleep for the whole night and my partner took over in looking after the baby to give me a bit of reprieve, his first thing would be to swaddle her, at which she screamed even louder.... though not for long, as she would fall asleep within 5mins).

So, just wondering what are ap thoughts on this....

thx

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Geralyn - posted on 02/21/2010

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When my guy was little, our lactation consultant showed us a method - that turned out to be a good alternative to swaddling. I would take a cloth and tuck it under my son who was positioned on his side facing me (like a nursing position although when he was not nursing, he'd use my breast as a pillow... a rather small pillow (lol)), and then I would bring it across me and tuck it under my arm. It didn't restrain his feet or legs (which he didn't like), but it would keep him tucked up against me. It would help, as swaddling is intended to do, with those little reflexes and thrashing that they do that can repeatedly wake them up. Then, for nursing, he would just have to make a slight adjustment and nurse away and then he'd pull off and sleep.... Between my body and the cloth that kept him snug, the position seemed to be a good alternative to swaddling. Just a thought... may be helpful for the little ones that do not want to be swaddled.

Rebecca - posted on 02/16/2010

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I don't view swaddling as akin to being tied in a straightjacket. I think that's a cultural construct that doesn't have any relation to baby's needs. Straightjackets are used to subdue and control dangerous, out-of-control people from harming themselves and/or others. A swaddle is used to help a baby feel more secure and also to keep her from flailing her arms due to her newborn reflexes. I'm aware of concerns that swaddling too much can prevent proper joint development, but I think that's only an issue in cultures where they wrap babies non-stop for the first year of life or so.

Personally, I'm a HUGE fan of swaddling. I really like Dr. Harvey Karp's theory about the "4th trimester" and his "Five S" strategy for helping newborns feel secure and adjust better to life outside the womb, one of which is swaddling. To me, it just makes sense -- baby was held tightly by your womb for approximately 9 months, so she will probably like being wrapped tightly in a warm, soft blanket. Ideally, baby will also spend a lot of time being held close to your body in a sling/wrap, but for those times that wearing baby isn't possible (you gotta take a shower sometime! and of course at nighttime), I think swaddling is great.

My son was swaddled a good portion of the time for his first 3 weeks or so, pretty much whenever he wasn't nursing or in a baby carrier. After that he started to wake up more and I only swaddled him to sleep or when I needed to put him in the swing so I could shower or use the bathroom. We continued to swaddle him for nighttime sleep until he was about 5 months old. At that point he could roll over even while swaddled, which poses a suffocation risk. He probably could have dropped the swaddle a month or so earlier, but my husband and I were nervous that he would not sleep as well (he was not an "easy" sleeper). The transition to no-swaddle sleeping went a lot better than I thought it would -- my son was obviously ready to be swaddle-free!

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Anna - posted on 07/31/2014

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We used Sleepy Wings swaddling jacket, becuase my baby hated whole body swaddling. It helped his sleep longer and mommy was well rested :)

Anna - posted on 07/31/2014

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We used Sleepy Wings swaddling jacket, becuase my baby hated whole body swaddling. It helped his sleep longer and mommy was well rested :)

Rebecca - posted on 02/24/2010

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I'm starting to think that some babies (like my son) have a slower curve in adjusting to life outside the womb, and respond better to swaddling, baby wearing, white noise, etc. Other babies just find those things annoying and want to be free!

Kelly - posted on 02/23/2010

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My daughter hated being swaddled. She would kick and squirm until she freed herself and then she would relax and fall asleep. I agree with what others have said that some babies like it and others don't. Do what your baby likes and ignore the "helpful" advice.

User - posted on 02/23/2010

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I love swaddling...I swaddled all 3 of my boys for about the first 3 months. I, like Rebecca, believe that it is very important to help a new born feel secure in this new world.

April - posted on 02/22/2010

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Geralyn,

My son did the same exact thing!! He would try to wriggle out of the swaddle. Instead of swaddling, I just put the swaddler on him like a skirt (left his arms out) just to keep him warm at night.

In my opinion, I find it annoying when doctors say "babies like this" and "babies like that". Your baby is an individual. Some babies will like swaddling, but others will not. Part of the fun of being a parent is learning what your baby likes!

Danielle - posted on 02/21/2010

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Xander loved to be swaddled at first but I got lazy and he started not really caring anyway. He always breaks his arms free of the swaddle anyway. I tuck him in in his swing and stuff if I need to put him down, then he feels all cozy and secure but I don't bother actually swaddling him-unless I'm using one of his swaddle blanket things w/velcro ;) He likes those but I have to leave his arms out lol.

Geralyn - posted on 02/16/2010

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We swaddled very briefly. My son didn't care too much for it. He didn't like being restricted. He'd pop his arms out no matter what. My son is not a big blanket baby either. He kicks off a blanket. I have to keep the room warm enogh for him to be without a blanket.

Geralyn - posted on 02/16/2010

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Boy, its been a while since I looked this up. In Dr. Sears' The Baby Book, he says no to swaddling for extended time.... affecting physical development. I can look it up for you when I get a chance.

Minnie - posted on 02/16/2010

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I think if the baby is content and the swaddling isn't binding so as to restrict growth it's fine.



I personally do not swaddle my babies. They don't like it! I've found a cozy sling or mei tai works much better. And I do agree with your parents- it does seem like a straight jacket :).

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