Swaddling: Greater Risks in First Few Months of Birth of Life of Babies

Swaddling is a common method of infant care practiced since hundreds of years ago. Although swaddling is encouraged among certain groups of people to provide a snug environment for the baby, recent studies have suggested that it is not the best way to care for a baby. Although it could be effective in keeping the infant warm and encouraging long REM sleep, scientific research has shown that swaddling a baby is not as effective as skin to skin contact, especially in the first few months of life. There are also physical and psychological effects on babies and parents caused by swaddling as the baby is unable to bond with the mother in a natural way.

Swaddling used to be viewed as a good method to soothe crying infants. However, scientific research and extensive studies have revealed that if a quiet, consistent care r outline is provided to a crying infant, it will help soothe the baby. Swaddling is only one of the ways to do so. Therefore, although swaddling has its benefits and provides a certain degree of comfort to babies, it is not necessarily the best way to provide comfort and security to babies. The best way to calm a baby is still by human touch, especially when it is given by the baby's own mother.

On the other hand, many negative effects of swaddling have been ascertained. Swaddling poses a risk of overheating the baby with blankets that are too thick. Poor swaddling techniques can also cause the baby to become uncomfortable in layers of fabric which are not wrapped tightly and comfortably around the infant's body. In the infant's early months of development, lung compression is another physical risk associated with swaddling, and this could lead to respiratory infections. Developmental dysplasia or displacement of the hip is also a potential physical risk caused by swaddling which is too tight. These risks become greater if incorrect swaddling techniques are used.

Mothers yearn to see their babies and hold them in their arms the moment they come into the world. Infants who are separated from their parents immediately after birth, and who are swaddled instead of cradled by their mothers in the first few hours after birth will miss out on that precious bonding experience. Babies who are unable to get the physical assurance of a mother's embrace after birth experience insecurity, nervousness, excessive crying, and sensitivity to disturbances if they are separated from their mothers. Therefore, even if parents decide to practice swaddling during certain times, it is vitally important that mothers provide loving physical touch to the infant through skin to skin contact whenever possible.

A better alternative to infant care is the Kangaroo Mother Care, which is a natural and effective method of care which views the mother and child as a single unit. Skin to skin contact between mother and baby is used as a natural incubator to provide body heat to the baby instead of wrapping the baby in thick blankets. As a mother, you have the best and fiercest instincts to love and care for your baby, and this is a precious God-given nature which should be used to provide the best for your child.