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post #41 of 61

I was also disappointed in the article(s) and felt that they were alarmist and overly patronizing and sensational. Not at all what I turn to mothering for. My thought upon reading was "Oh jeesh now some poor new mama is going to be totally freaked out that she's damaging her child." I really don't think that is mothering's usual impact on readers or mothering's intent.  I was very disappointed in the reporting, fear mongering, and biased tone of the main article. Simply poor reporting (Pp's have detailed my main issues with the article so I won't repeat). Surprised as well, because it seems so out of character for mothering.  This is coming from a mama who has not really swaddled any of her kids (mostly because of not being able to do it properly, I can't  wrap a gift either) and who has read and appreciated mothering for years. Saddened and disappointed by the reporting on this issue.

post #42 of 61

I never realized swaddling was such a big deal.  DS#1 was probably swaddled for a week, but it was just too much work- I was no good at it!  He didn't really seem to care for it anyway.  DS#2 was never swaddled because I was worried about my breast milk supply (I developed hypothyroidism between 1 & 2) and I wanted as much skin-to-skin contact as possible.  But lots of people like to swaddle.  I always figured it was "whatever floats your boat." You and your baby like it, fine.  You don't, fine.  

 

I've never read the Happiest Baby on the Block.  I wanted to, but I have an acquaintance on FB who is a Happiest Baby instructor (she's the mother of one of DS #1's friends).  She posted something about... who knows, I can't remember.  But basically she said that no baby would have the problems associated with colic as long as you swaddled and "followed" the Happiest Baby on the Block, and that "every" baby should be swaddled.  When I said I don't believe that every needs to be swaddled, she basically said I was wrong!  LOL  Now, I'm an experienced mother, but how many new moms has she instructed that you "have" to do this??  What if the baby HATES it?  There was a mother on her comment thread who was dealing with colic, and I can't imagine how she must have felt to learn she was doing it "wrong."  I have to admit, that sort of turned me off to the book.  Of course, I understand she's an individual, and rationally I understand that I need to form my own opinion.  I guess I have an issue with any person or parenting philosophy that tries to be "one size fits all."  Whether it's Happiest Baby, or Babywise (shudder!), or even Dr. Sears.  I doubt Happiest Baby is this dogmatic, but I just need to read it to make sure.  

 

I think examining swaddling in the context of, "Yes, we swaddle our infants often.  But if we don't it's ok" is fine.  "Don't swaddle your infants because if you lay them face down while swaddling, they'll die!" is a bit much.  (Who in the world would do something like that?  Really, swaddling is going to be the LEAST of that baby's issues at home!)  I think Moms just need to not worry if their baby likes to be swaddled, and not worried if their baby hates it.  I doubt most of the moms reading Mothering are prone to leave their swaddled babies unattended for hours at a time.   

 

Thanks for the interesting reading and discussion!

post #43 of 61

I for one, am glad this article resulted in a discussion, because the practice of swaddling is something I've questioned in the past, unaware that there existed a controversy on the subject. I swaddled a handful of times and I don't know who was more distaught about it, me or my newborn son. I also got mastitis from the long duration without nursing him. I would think that swaddling would impact a women's milk supply, unless she pumped during the sleep time, or perhaps baby fed a few extra times during waking.

 

My son faught swaddling. I had to wait until he was sleepy enough from nursing in order to swaddle him and do it lightening fast. Otherwise he cried and tried to avoid it. Soon thereafter, he began sleeping in our bed with me, he slept through the night (with nursing) and I never swaddled him again. What he needed was to be next to my body.

 

I also questioned the angle that my son's legs/arms took while swaddled, as opposed to the 'spread eagle' position he took naturally while sleeping, arms up around his head and legs at a 90 degree angle.

 

This should be an interesting topic thread because it seems to be such a common practice yet, it my gut, it just felt so wrong to me at the time while I was doing it. It did not work for us. Perhaps it is a gentle and reassuring practice for some babies, and when positioned correctly does not place stress on immature joints.


Edited by Asiago - 11/14/11 at 10:12pm
post #44 of 61


I don't know, I think you have to listen to the ques of your baby rather than the rational of many others.  DD1 didn't like to be swaddled and so I didn't.  DD2 loved it and so I did. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asiago View Post

I for one am glad this article resulted in a discussion, because the practice of swaddling is something I've questioned in the past, unaware that there existed a controversy on the subject. I swaddled a handful of times and I don't know who was more distaught about it, me or my newborn son. It also resulted in mastitis. My child slept for an abnormal amout of time, he hasn't slept that long without nursing ever since and he is two years old now. He must have been extremely hungry when he awoke, because he never goes that long without feeding (I think he slept about five hours). My milk ducts had gone so long without being drained on that night that I actually had a red painful breast the next day. It felt wrong to me to swaddle, my son faught it. I had to wait until he was sleepy enough from nursing in order to swaddle him and do it lightening fast otherwise he cried and tried to avoid it. I felt awful doing it. It was not much later that I took him into bed with me and he slept through the night (with nursing) and I never swaddled him again. What he needed was to be next to my body. I wish I had never swaddled him, it felt awful to me to do it and I regret doing it. I also questioned the angle that my son's legs/arms took while swaddled, as opposed to the 'spread eagle' position he took naturally while sleeping, arms up around his head and legs at a 90 degree angle. I am just glad that this subject is up for discussion because it seems to be such a common practice yet, it my gut, it just felt so wrong to me at the time while I was doing it. It did not work for us. Perhaps it is a gentle and reassuring practice for some babies, and when positioned correctly, does not place stress on immature joints.



 

post #45 of 61

This is very true Imacerka. I only wished I'd listened better to him.

post #46 of 61


Oh but I'm not saying I know best here, I'm just saying that sometimes one size doesn't fit all.  I wasn't trying to be all knowy... is that a word?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asiago View Post

This is very true Imacerka. I only wished I'd listened better to him.



 

post #47 of 61

No worries, I know what you mean. innocent.gif

post #48 of 61

Thank you, Peggy, for this interesting discussion. I haven't read all the posts, but just wanted to say that I really appreciate this closer look into the practice of swaddling. There has always been something about swaddling that bothered me, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Maybe it was a concern about temperature regulation, or just my own projecting about how I would feel with my body so constricted (yes, I know babies are very constricted in the womb, and swaddling is suppose to approximate that sensation, but the idea of being so constricted myself just sets me on edge...) My babies were swaddled in the hospital, and my husband would swaddle them on occasion once we got them home, but it wasn't a common practice for me to do it. Anyhow, very interesting subject!

post #49 of 61

This is an interesting discussion. We were taught at the hospital how to swaddle. And all my relatives swore by it. Our dd slept more soundly being swaddled, but soon showed she didn't like it. I used to swaddle her when she was in deep sleep as without swaddling she would flail her arms and wake every couple of hours. I was unable to swaddle her anymore after her first month, though-- she would kick the blanket loose and get tangled in it. 

 

My dh was never comfortable with swaddling, however. It's not done in south India and he thought people (in Hong Kong) were strange for doing this to babies.
 

From observing my dd, it seems that letting her move her limbs as she naturally wants to seem to be best for her development. She started turning early and moves a lot at night. Swaddling would have restricted that? 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Asiago View Post

I for one, am glad this article resulted in a discussion, because the practice of swaddling is something I've questioned in the past, unaware that there existed a controversy on the subject. I swaddled a handful of times and I don't know who was more distaught about it, me or my newborn son. I also got mastitis from the long duration without nursing him. I would think that swaddling would impact a women's milk supply, unless she pumped during the sleep time, or perhaps baby fed a few extra times during waking.

 

My son faught swaddling. I had to wait until he was sleepy enough from nursing in order to swaddle him and do it lightening fast. Otherwise he cried and tried to avoid it. Soon thereafter, he began sleeping in our bed with me, he slept through the night (with nursing) and I never swaddled him again. What he needed was to be next to my body.

 

I also questioned the angle that my son's legs/arms took while swaddled, as opposed to the 'spread eagle' position he took naturally while sleeping, arms up around his head and legs at a 90 degree angle.

 

This should be an interesting topic thread because it seems to be such a common practice yet, it my gut, it just felt so wrong to me at the time while I was doing it. It did not work for us. Perhaps it is a gentle and reassuring practice for some babies, and when positioned correctly does not place stress on immature joints.


 

post #50 of 61


Because DD's legs drew up into a froggy position, we swaddled her that way, not straightlegged.  I would be not be surprised to hear that other swaddling parents did that since it seems natural that if you are going to bundle a newborn up, you would do it in the postion the baby curls up in.

 

But re:development and restriction.....  I recall an older study of cradleboarded infants whose physical development milestones were similar to uncradleboarded infants.  The researchers speculated that since movement against the restriction of the cradleboard was a form of isometric contraction, the muscles were still receiving the needed stimulus.  Also, a range of developmental schedules is normal.  Finally, during early infancy, when babies are most likely to be swaddled, I believe that the development of dexterity and coordination is autonomic and has the most to do with the myelination of the nerves and subsequent strength of the electrical impulses.  Ie.... what we do as parents doesn't really have much to do with the schedule a child develops at, barring serious environmental traumas like neglect or war.  I am going off of two anatomy and physiology classes I took in college ten years ago, though, so maybe someone who has more expertise can weigh in on this idea.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by azhie View Post

This is an interesting discussion. We were taught at the hospital how to swaddle. And all my relatives swore by it. Our dd slept more soundly being swaddled, but soon showed she didn't like it. I used to swaddle her when she was in deep sleep as without swaddling she would flail her arms and wake every couple of hours. I was unable to swaddle her anymore after her first month, though-- she would kick the blanket loose and get tangled in it. 

 

My dh was never comfortable with swaddling, however. It's not done in south India and he thought people (in Hong Kong) were strange for doing this to babies.
 

From observing my dd, it seems that letting her move her limbs as she naturally wants to seem to be best for her development. She started turning early and moves a lot at night. Swaddling would have restricted that? 

 


 



 

post #51 of 61

 

Quote:
My dh was never comfortable with swaddling, however. It's not done in south India and he thought people (in Hong Kong) were strange for doing this to babies.

I think this is a really important point.  Whether babies are swaddled and how people do it is a cultural thing.  I remember, in the Babies documentary from a couple years back, the Mongolian baby was not only swaddled by the hospital nurse, he was wrapped in several layers of blankets which were tied with string.  By the time she was done, he looked like a package.  Which was probably good, because all those blankets were the only protection he had on the motorcycle trip from the hospital back to his family's yurt.  I don't remember seeing him swaddled a lot after that.  

 

Cultural practices are neither good nor bad.  They work for some people and they don't for others.  

post #52 of 61

I like Karp's comments on the blog:

 

 

Harvey Karp, MD, FAAP says:
November 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Dear Peggy,
Thank you for providing a forum for this important discussion about swaddling.

Of course, we all want babies to be content, have colic resolved and to nurture them with close contact, skin-to-skin (by ALL caregivers) and breastmilk. In fact, the basis of my approach – the 4th trimester – is all about reducing separation.

I believer that is why my work has received broad support from attachment advocates and is taught in hundreds of WIC clinics across the US.
“Bursting with wisdom! Some of the best ideas about babies I’ve ever seen.” James McKenna, PhD, Chairman, Dept of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame
“The 5 S’s promote attachment and bonding!” Attachment Parenting International (API)
“Dr. Karp’s love and respect for infants and new parents permeates his message.” Penny Simkin, PT, childbirth educator, doula, author, co-founder of DONA

However, we cannot close our eyes to the fact that many parents today are struggling. They often have little experience caring for babies….and little support. Nursing and holding are key calming techniques, but if they were all that parents needed to do, no baby would cry over 2 minutes. Yet, up to 15% infants cry/fuss for more than 3 h/day. In 2 recent studies, 3000 babies averaged 2.5 hours of fussing/day! (BTW, colic babies are just as commonly nursed as bottle fed.)

Infant irritability is no benign nuisance or trivial issue…it is very serious business. Crying – and the exhaustion it often provokes – are key triggers for untold suffering and over $1 billion dollars of health care costs, including marital conflict, SIDS/suffocation, BF failure, depression (of both parents), suicide, child abuse and neglect, disturbed bonding, cigarette smoking, extra MD/ER visits, medication for acid reflux, parental overeating, car accidents, etc. These problems particularly befall parents struggling with other stresses.

Swaddling is just one of many tools. And, of course it needs to be properly taught so that parents use it correctly (similar to the education we give to all parents about car seat installation). But, for babies who fuss despite nursing and holding…swaddling is a godsend and a cornerstone of successful calming and improved sleep.

To give parents and care givers the best advice, ICEA allowed me to respond to the many concerns I had with the Wendy Mohrbacher article. You were very kind to include those comments along with her response in your communication to parents. I hope you will also allow me to respond to the numerous concerns I have with Ms Fauntleroy’s article in Mothering as well.

Kind regards,

Harvey Karp, MD FAAP
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
USC School of Medicine
Author of the DVDs/books, THe Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block

 

 

 

 

Harvey Karp, MD, FAAP says:
November 12, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Dear Peggy,

Thank you for acknowledging my remarks and for creating this important forum for the exchange of ideas about how we can all do a better job raising our children with the love and nurturing they so deserve. And, thank you to all your readers for their insightful comments and the passion with which they share their hard earned wisdom to benefit others.

I apologize for showing an entry from another site, but I thought this newly posted note from Amazon.com was on topic for discussion:

By Paisley’s mom – Review of – The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD.

The first few nights with our baby were horrible. She would not sleep unless we held her the entire time and there was a lot of screaming where we just could not console her. That is until we remembered someone had given us this DVD. We thought it can’t hurt to watch it. Once we watched this short DVD our entire lives changed. Our baby immediately calmed down and slept in her bassinet. It was like magic. One of the tips was swaddling. We like many people thought our baby did not like to be swaddled because she acted as though we were the worst parents in the world when we would try to restrain her arms. We would swaddle her under her arms but that would do nothing to calm her down. One of the tips this DVD taught us was that babies do not like to be put into a swaddle but they like to be in the swaddle. I am so grateful this was in DVD form because we were in no shape to read a book at this point. I think all the words would have blurred together! I will never know someone pregnant with their first child that I will not buy this DVD for. It was the greatest gift we received. I cannot overstate how wonderful this DVD is. I feel like it saved our sanity and possibly our marriage!

To be sure, each baby and each set of parents are individuals and there are no “one size fits all” solutions in life. However, there are a few near-universals in infant care, like breastfeeding (although mistakes can be made, such as underfeeding, overfeeding, etc) and skin-to-skin (although mistakes can be made, such as allowing the naked infant to be exposed to cold drafts).

And, I would argue that safe, correctly done swaddling is another nearly universal. Of course, I acknowledge that many babies can grow up fine without swaddling…just as they can grow up healthy and strong being held and cuddled in their mother’s or father’s arms, yet not skin-to-skin.

However, I am saddened that in Fauntleroy’s swaddling article for Mothering you allowed such a one-sided presentation. Even your introductory comments misrepresented the evidence by ominously proclaiming, “This research comes as shocking news to us all.” In fact, a balanced review of ALL the evidence is comforting – not shocking – which is why the American Academy of Pediatric recommends swaddling in most of it’s books and web postings.

In fact, the evidence suggests that there is a much greater risk to parents and babies from the increased crying and exhaustion that can occurs when parents don’t swaddle. This infant distress and parental fatigue have been directly associated with marital conflict, depression, early abandonment of breastfeeding, shaken baby syndrome and unsafe sleep practices. Yet, for some reason, this information was totally absent from Fauntleroy’s article.

In your introduction you write that Nancy Mohrbacher “looks at alarming research: Swaddling newborns delays the first breastfeeding and leads to less effective sucking.” Yet, like Mohrbacher, you and Fauntleroy ignore that study’s final data, “Milk production/ingestion four days after birth or the duration of nearly exclusive breastfeeding did not differ between the groups allowed skin-to-skin contact, being in mother’s arms dressed or swaddled.” And you ignore another study that found infants suckled equally well “regard¬less of their micro-environment (skin-to-skin or swaddled contact), provided their mothers had erect nipples.”

I fully agree that parents should be taught how to how to swaddle correctly and effectively to avoid frustration and potential mistakes. However, your frightening statement, “Swaddling during the early months puts an infant at risk for respiratory illness, hip dysplasia, overheating and SIDS” ignores recent studies showing NO association between respiratory illness or overheating with swaddling. And, it ignores the fact that even the International Hip Dysplasia Institute notes that swaddling is safe as long as it allows hip flexion and abduction (which is the method taught in my book/DVD and Happiest Baby classes).

If you would allow me, I’d be honored for Mothering to interview me and bring your readers a fuller, more balanced understanding of swaddling, the calming reflex and other highly effective ways to improve baby calming and sleep…while promoting breastfeeding and attachment.
Many thanks,

Harvey

post #53 of 61

I love Harvey Karp's letter.  What a generous and warm reply to a blatantly irresponsible article.  

post #54 of 61

Thank you Harvey.

post #55 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Thank you Harvey.



clap.gif

post #56 of 61

Really wonderful letters. As anyone who has read his book knows, he is very child-centered and all of his methods felt very instinctive and like AP parenting to me. He advocates holding, rocking, babywearing, breastfeeding, cosleeping, etc.

 

One of the things that frustrated me about the article was the implication that swaddling can hurt the breastfeeding relationship. It greatly helped my breastfeeding relationship with my son, as I was unable to help him get a good latch until we started swaddling him. After that, we are able to feed on demand around the clock, and I breastfed my son exclusively until he was two, with no problems. We still did plenty of skin-to-skin contact, but swaddling was a godsend.

post #57 of 61

I like the letters, but I disagree that swaddling is a "near universal" thing liked by and helpful for babies. Overstatement doesn't help. I know plenty of families it has helped, but "near universal" just isn't true. I'm not the only mom whose baby didn't like being swaddled, and it wasn't that I wasn't doing it right as he suggests, because a mom who uses Happiest Baby was among those who tried. It just isn't the answer for all babies. One of many tools I can agree with. "Near universal", and compared to as universally necessary as breastfeeding, makes me feel skeptical of the book when I wasn't before.

post #58 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asiago View Post

I for one, am glad this article resulted in a discussion, because the practice of swaddling is something I've questioned in the past, unaware that there existed a controversy on the subject. I swaddled a handful of times and I don't know who was more distaught about it, me or my newborn son. I also got mastitis from the long duration without nursing him. I would think that swaddling would impact a women's milk supply, unless she pumped during the sleep time, or perhaps baby fed a few extra times during waking.

 

My son faught swaddling. I had to wait until he was sleepy enough from nursing in order to swaddle him and do it lightening fast. Otherwise he cried and tried to avoid it. Soon thereafter, he began sleeping in our bed with me, he slept through the night (with nursing) and I never swaddled him again. What he needed was to be next to my body.



My daughter nursed plenty of times while swaddled. I never knew it was an either/or thing. (Because, in reality, it's NOT). This is, again, an example of the assumption the articles bring up of swaddled babies being put off to the side and non-swaddled babies getting to be in mom's arms. It's just a false conflict.

 

If you didn't swaddle your baby because you and your son both felt uncomfortable with it, then that's exactly what you should have done- you did what was right for you and your baby. Other mothers who's children DO respond well to being swaddled are generally doing the same.

 

post #59 of 61
I always nursed when DD was swaddled, I cant imagine a reason not to. Sometimes swaddling helped her to focus on the boob and nothing but the boob. When we were in public and it was time.to.eat. and she just was way too preoccupied with her surroundings but I was becoming engorged my go to way to nurse was to swaddle her up and throw on a nursing cover. That was is was just babys face, mommys boob, and mommys face. I imagine there are tons of women who do this. I never didnt nurse when she was swaddled. In fact, that is how she got to sleep many a night.
post #60 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

I love Harvey Karp's letter.  What a generous and warm reply to a blatantly irresponsible article.  



Yep, yep.

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