Hi there. Our baby is due in a few weeks and I'm not sure what to do about swaddling. Most people tell us we must or should. At the same, two reputable and very experienced doulas have told us that although swaddling keeps baby calmer during the night, it also suppresses their appetite, particualrly when they are newborns, so they end up breastfeeding less. They recommended it as a tool, when necessary, but not as standard practice. I'm inclined to agree with them. Although it does seem that babies cry less when they are swaddled...maybe they are crying with good reason and swaddling inhibits reacting to the underlying reason. And if there is a chance that it supresses their already tiny appetites, then I'm really uncomfortable with it.
What do you think? What can we expect if we don't swaddle?
I will let Jessica respond to your question, but I thought I should share a recent article and special report we published on Mothering.com on the topic of swaddling. I hope it helps.
Thank you, Melanie, our wonderful editor, for her helpful links.
Thank you, dear reader, for your question and many congratulations as you prepare for the birth of your new baby and your transition into new motherhood!
I think you will find, as with most decisions in mothering, it is important to do your due diligence, as you are, by researching both sides of the issue, with personal anecdotes, professional opinions and the science and research of the issue, coupled with the equally important aspect of the decision-making process once you have your baby which is your own, innate, intuitive wisdom. A mother's instinct is a vital component to her baby's emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual well-being.
I think once you have your baby, you will read his needs. If he is flailing and unsettled and a swaddle seems to contain and comfort him, then you may want that. You may find your baby is calm without the swaddle. You may find you get the "swaddle-effect" by use of a snug wrap sling such as the Ultimate Baby Carrier or the Moby Wrap; some of these slings offer a similar effect of containing without an actual arms-strapped swaddle.
Personally, I used a swaddle for a few weeks in the early days with my first daughter, and never used a swaddle with my second and third child; I didn't experience a difference in their breastfeeding (they all nursed all the time!)
p.s. I have recently released an Affirmations for Birth Meditation CD; it is available at www.LoveParentingLA.com and it might prove helpful for you as you prepare and during actual labor and birth!
www.UltimateParentingCourse.com; the groundbreaking course with 20 experts in 4 hours of exclusive video & audio interviews in eight essential parenting themes (identity, co-parenting, feeding, sleeping, conflict, attachment, individuation and community) featuring MDs, naturopathic doctors, psychotherapists, educators, best-selling authors and a celebrity.
www.LoveParentingLA.com; Jessica's parent education site for pregnancy, new motherhood, and early childhood; cds, phone-sessions, home-study courses, and more!