Is Swaddling Safe?
Swaddling is the practice of wrapping a baby very snugly in blankets so that only their head is left out. Swaddling is nothing new—in fact, some experts think that it’s been around since the Paleolithic area. That’s right, cave moms and cave dads swaddled their little ones. And, according to the Old Testament, even the baby Jesus was swaddled. So swaddling certainly has a long and interesting history!
Why swaddle a baby?
Advocates of swaddling believe that the practice has a number of important benefits for baby (and for mom and dad too).
Swaddling can help soothe a fussy baby.
Sometimes it can seem like frustration and sleepless nights are inevitable when you have a new baby in the house. Many young parents are desperate to find a solution, any solution, to soothe their fussy baby. To an infant, the sensation of being swaddled can resemble being inside mom’s womb—a very soothing and peaceful experience. And the American Academy of Pediatrics agrees that swaddling can be an effective way to calm a baby.
Swaddling encourages baby to sleep better.
Infancy is a time of extraordinary growth and development. In fact, a baby’s brain will double in size during the first year of life. All of that growing is hard work, so sleep is extra important for a new baby. Most babies actually sleep between 14 and 18 hours a day their first few months of life. Research suggests that babies who are swaddled sleep deeper and longer, and swaddling may also prevent babies from waking up due to the startle reflex.