My mom is fond of saying, “We did things differently when I had babies,” but it’s getting to the point where I can say that with each of my children! The latest thing we parents aren’t supposed to do is swaddle our babies. I really need a flow chart to keep up with what I am and am not supposed to do with my kids.
According to experts, swaddling babies now can lead to hip problems later in life. If you want to swaddle your child, you need to make sure the fabric is loose enough around the baby’s body that s/he can bend and move their legs and hips.
When my oldest was a baby, swaddling was encouraged, especially in the NICU. But two years later when my second daughter was born, we were told that swaddling was okay but to NOT swaddle her arms. Five months ago, we were back to full-body swaddling with my son.
Frankly, none of my kids really cared for the swaddle once they were old enough to really move their limbs. I never found it to help them with sleep, but I know there are oodles of babies out there that can’t sleep without the snugness of a blanket wrapped snugly around them. I’m certain that if my kids slept better with a swaddle, I’d be using it on the regular.
It’s not that I am discounting the new findings, or I think that a bit of sleep now is worth a child’s physical problems later. I do think that the research leading to this conclusion is a bit… shaky. I mean, a study on lab rats? I don’t think mama rats really spend much time swaddling their baby rats, so I’m not surprised to hear that rat hips were dislocated. I just think that parents need to follow their instincts and do what they think is best for their children when it comes to stuff like this. In my six years of being a parent, the school of thought on swaddling has changed three times. It’s hard for me to believe it isn’t going to change again.