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To Swaddle Or Not To Swaddle

swaddleMy 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.


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To Swaddle Or Not To Swaddle?

Yesterday, Huck had his 6mo check up. 75th percentile for height, 50th for weight, yes yes, he’s strong and smart and devilishly handsome, but wait–this part I was not expecting–doc says I have to wean him of his swaddle.

His swaddle?!?

“He is too big for a swaddle,” is how she said it. (She said some other things, too . . . another post, another post.)

Cue my heart breaking into a zillion pieces!

I love to swaddle. I am practically a professional! The swaddle has become our sleep-time ritual. “Let’s go swaddle your waddle!” I mean, I say that easily four times a day. Carry him into the bedroom, dim the lights, wrap him up tight, sing him a quick something or other, kiss him on his cute wittle forehead, into bed. What will I do without the swaddle? Good gravy, why is this all happening so fast?!?!?

(More after the jump.)

It’s not as if Huck can’t get out of a swaddle on his own (he wriggles his arms and legs free every night and usually wakes up with a tube of a blanket around his midsection), and it’s not as if he’s terribly at risk for SIDs anymore (DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME OTHERWISE, INTERNET!), so I don’t get what the big deal is? Do you?

There are many, many reasons why one should swaddle their baby: Comfort, warmth, security, to dampen their jittery reflexes as newborns (yes, he’s grown out of this, but . . . !), and studies have shown that a good swaddle will help babies to self-soothe. See? Good reasons!

And what is really the difference between a nighttime swaddle and a good, old-fashioned “tuck-in?”   ???   SERIOUSLY.

So, what I want to know is, what are the reasons why one should not swaddle? And when is “too old” really too old? And pardon me if I don’t think six months is it, but . . . really. Really! Really?

I don’t know, you tell me.

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