When I was fourteen years old my youngest sister was born and I liked to lay her on a blanket and wrap her and tuck her as tight as I could. I was a strong kid so by the time I was finished, I could have launched her across the yard like a little football and she wouldn’t have come free of my wrap. I don’t think it was maternal instinct as much as wanting to make her look like the little papooses in the movies. I didn’t know that I was practicing the art of swaddling or that the glazed over, drugged look in her eyes was because she was calm nearly to the point of comatose. Really, I was just having fun. My mother told me that babies liked having their limbs bound because it made them feel secure.
Swaddling is a centuries-old practice of wrapping a baby (think Jesus in the manger). Babies in cultures, countries, and tribes all over the world are swaddled–it’s universal baby wisdom. While an adult can’t imagine finding enjoyment in what’s essentially a baby straightjacket, a swaddle imitates that favorite tight baby environment–also known as the womb; the epitome of safety, peace, and divine calm. In short, babes love it.
There is also extensive research to suggest that swaddling is good for more than just calming your baby and making him feel safe and secure. When a baby is wrapped tightly, she sleeps better through the night. The reflexes that often wake babies up are diminished.
Swaddling babies soothes them, reducing crying spells. Excessive crying is unnerving to parents and coupled with their exhaustion, it can be a factor in postpartum depression and abuse.
For best results with swaddling your baby, start from day one. At Welcome Baby Care, we are pro-swaddle and we love to teach new moms how to swaddle their babies. Mothers that are patients at our partner OB/GYN clinics receive their own swaddling blanket at their 32 week visit.
Free Giveaway! Win a Welcome Baby Care swaddling blanket!
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