To swaddle or not to swaddle?

Parents of newborns are being warned about the dangers of swaddling their babies too tightly.

The wrapping method is under fire, with claims from some Australian experts that it could lead to development issues.

But new mum Violet Sygrove, a midwife, swears by swaddling.

She wraps up her 11-week-old son Remy and has taught other parents to do the same.

“It helps him sleep longer at night, [which] is probably the biggest reason,” she says.

“[Swaddling] stops him from throwing his hands up, waking himself up, scratching his face. Just being tight as well makes him feel more safe and secure so he sleeps longer.”

The wrapping technique sees a baby bound in a blanket, often with their arms and legs tucked in.

It’s said to soothe them.
Our midwife explained it to us like this: a baby just spent the last few months all tight inside the mother’s tummy. It really doesn’t know what to do with arms and legs that can just go anywhere. So if you swaddle baby, and they are comfy and warm, they will feel much more secure and happy.

But research out of the Australian Medical Journal is warning it could lead to problems with babies’ hips later in life.

Across the ditch there’s been a rise in cases of developmental dislocation linked to swaddling, when a baby’s legs are wrapped too tightly.

New Zealand’s paediatric society says it all depends on the swaddling technique. The official advice from Plunket is not to swaddle babies at all.

Ah yes. Of course it is. But, as I explained above, it’s more about the arms than it is about the legs. Baby need to be able to kick freely while its arms are nice and snug and secure.

None of this is new.

Ms Sygrove says she’ll continue swaddling Remy, but she makes sure his legs are free.

“You can see with him his legs are still free, it’s only his upper torso that’s swaddled snuggly, and the rest of him is kind of left for him to around and move around as he wants to.”

It’s another idea where we are in danger of throwing out the baby with the bath water (I couldn’t help myself).  Swaddling has been just fine for my children, for me and no doubt for my parents and their parents.

The real message is that you don’t put your baby into a straight jacket, and something that has been happening for generations isn’t suddenly dangerous because some expert says, and I quote “could” cause problems.

It does surprise me that the official Plunket line is not to swaddle. Every midwife I’ve worked with has been a great proponent.


– Newshub

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