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Mothering › Groups › December 2012 Due Date Club › Discussions › Swaddling?


post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

So I read Happiest Baby on the Block a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it, but in our Bradley class last night, the doula was talking about swaddling and said that it wasn't a good idea, because it represses the baby's Moro (startle) reflex. I hadn't heard that before and it seemed different than what I'd heard from a lot of attachment mamas. Any thoughts/experience? Swaddling is so cute, and it made sense that they would want to feel cozy like they did in the womb, but I also don't want to repress any reflexes that they were born with for a purpose. Oh, and we are planning to co-sleep (if that makes a difference).

post #2 of 17

I've read most of that book, too, or skimmed it anyway - it sounds like sound, common sense to me.  People in other cultures do some pretty intense swaddling and always have.  I'm one of those mamas who always has my baby in the sling on me and I will definitely try even more swaddling this time around.  I mean, it's not like they'll always be mummied up - sleeping at night I'll just have the babe next to me in the bed, and I always allow for some naked fresh air time sleeping during the day, too.  I mean, even if you swaddle and use a sling for the majority of the day, there are going to be tons of opportunities (diaper changing, sleeping on the bed, baby being awake in the sling or being held, etc) for her to get in her startle reflex time. 

post #3 of 17

I read this article here on this site about some of the research into swaddling. I had only ever heard good things about swaddling, so I enjoyed the counterpoints.




Ultimately, I think every baby and mama is different and you have to do what works for you and your child. Like most everything, the key is moderation and making sure you are balancing time spent swaddled with other stuff.

post #4 of 17

I have to admit I've never really thought about it.  #1 *hated* swaddling from day 2, so we didn't really deal with it.  However, with the points about breastfeeding in that article, it may be something we wait to even try with the next.  Anything that makes BFing easier is good in my book!

post #5 of 17

I swaddled my babies. My first did not like it and would always free her hands and was happy to lay on the floor un-swaddled (on a side note she rolled and crawled very early). By about a month old I gave up and stopped swaddling her...it seemed to bring her no comfort.


I did swaddle my others (bio, adopted, foster) for the first couple months. My adopted daughter (5) seemed to love it the most. Interestingly she is also my kiddo with strong sensory needs and still needs that kind of firm pressure on her (heavy quilts, tight hugs etc).


I did just recently read this article though that was really interesting.....


post #6 of 17

I agree - some babies will be soothed by it and others can't stand it - so following their lead is obviously important. 

post #7 of 17
I think knowing how to wrap a tight saddle is a good mama skill to have, and if you don't ever need to use it or chose not to use it as much as you thought you would, eh, at least you have the option.
post #8 of 17

I think your baby will let you know if they are comfy being swaddled or not. Physiologically there is nothing wrong with swaddling when done properly and the Moro reflex doesn't need to be expressed constantly--it's not like you would keep your babe swaddled 24/7. However, I am not a fan of the happiest baby on the block. I attended a seminar with a great speaker {Karen Strange} on the subject of normal physiological newborn functioning and she explained it well. Crying is one of the only ways that infants can communicate and it is an important form of communication, if all we seek to do is to turn that off by utilizing reflexes {the reflexes are responsible for 'quieting' these babes} then may be missing the communication of the need from our infants. It would be similar to this: If you were really upset about something and reached out to a friend to tell them why you were upset and were trying to tell them your story and instead of listening and offering advice or compassion or whatever was useful for your situation they just came over to you and SHHHHHHHHHHH'ed really loudly, over your talking, and then took you by the shoulders and started rocking you back and forth Shhhushing even louder as you started to protest this treatment and ask for what you needed, wouldn't you just stop trying to tell them your story, too? But, would you feel better or be any closer to solving your problem? 

Anyways, just a different way to view it. He states that this method is to be used for extreme cases--like when the caregiver is so incredibly stressed out by the needs and communication of the infant that they are in danger of harming the infant {shaking them, throwing them, leaving them unattended} and for that scenario I see it as a valid tool--and even loving parents can get to this point with their infants--infants can be VERY demanding and people need coping strategies that work so that they can get relief from it and regroup. I just don't think it is an every day tool, personally.

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the thoughts everyone has been sharing! I'm definitely not a "systems" kind of gal, so I know that we'll be throwing in bits of pieces of what we've learned and seeing what works for the baby. I think we'll just have to swaddle here and there and see how it goes, but I'd like to try co-sleeping without a swaddle.


Mamaharrison, I agree as well--I look at the methods from Happiest Baby on the Block as something to try when I've tried to meet the other needs and the baby is unhappy to the point of needing to be calmed down, etc. It definitely seems extreme to throw down the 5 (I think it's 5?) "S"s every time the baby cries. I read it because someone mentioned it as the antithesis of "Babywise" (ugh, don't even like to think about that terrible book), and I did like a lot of the soothing ideas and the concepts of responding to the baby's needs overall. 


It's funny, I feel like I'm trying to read as much/prepare as much as I can now, while I have time, but I know that I won't really know how/what works the best until the babe is actually here!

post #10 of 17

With my first daughter, we swaddled all the time. She was born in a hospital so she was brought to me swaddled and that was the main thing we learned how to do before leaving. With DD2, I totally forgot to even try swaddling her. When she was around two months, I was like, oh yeah- let's try that. She didn't like that. I also wore her more in the beginning, and when wearing a newborn properly, it should be pretty tight.  Maybe me wearing her was her way of being swaddled. 

Also, listening to La Leche League leaders talk about this is really interesting. When trying to nurse, baby needs to be able to have her hands out and be able to feel where she is in her space. If she's swaddled, she can't do that. Also, not swaddling will reduce the chance of mom trying to hold her in the cradle position while nursing. When baby is swaddled, it's easier to do that. When baby is unswaddled, mom can lean back at let baby get comfortable on top of her to nurse.  

Chicajones, do you have a local LLL? THey have a hotline you could call to ask about this or maybe even check out a meeting? 

post #11 of 17
We had my son swaddled only for the times he was ready to sleep and I wanted to lay him down after he nursed to sleep. This time I plan to do even more babywearing so that will probably mean less swaddling. I agree that every baby-mama pair is different and what works for some won't work for others.
post #12 of 17

We swaddled DS for several months, he LOVED it!  However swaddling is not safe if you're cosleeping.  It keeps the baby from being able to brush aside anything (such as a blanket) that is covering their face. 

post #13 of 17
Originally Posted by chicajones View Post


It's funny, I feel like I'm trying to read as much/prepare as much as I can now, while I have time, but I know that I won't really know how/what works the best until the babe is actually here!


post #14 of 17


Edited by nhklh - 11/16/13 at 12:46am
post #15 of 17

Our babies have all enjoyed being swaddled when they were really tiny, but I did not have any children who liked or wanted to be swadddled much past the first few months, so I didn't. I agree with everyone else who has said that your children will definitely let you know what they need and what they like/dislike. HTH mama!

post #16 of 17
Originally Posted by kel View Post

I agree - some babies will be soothed by it and others can't stand it - so following their lead is obviously important. 


Agreed. DD loved it, so we did it. If this baby hates it, we'll stop. 


I'm 31 and still wrap myself in blankets before going to sleep!

post #17 of 17

based off my ortho ped. I do a modified swaddle. I wrap their arms so they can move them some but not move enough to hit themselves, and their legs/hips are totally free to move around.

Mothering › Groups › December 2012 Due Date Club › Discussions › Swaddling?