I have been hearing from many different people that the latest trend/advice from paediatricians is to not wrap babies in receiving blankets or blankets after they are born, and for the first few weeks of their lives. I have had four babies and I do not understand the logic of this!
Our babies spend nine long months in the womb where it is warm, safe and cosy in a small snug dark space. Their arms and legs are close to their bodies all the time in the womb. Therefore it makes sense that swaddling your newborn for their first few weeks will help to mimic the tight confines of the womb, and to make them feel more comfortable.
The Collins Dictionary definition of swaddling is:
If you swaddle a baby, you wrap cloth around it in order to keep it warm or to prevent it from moving.
On the LiveStrong website, there is an article by Hannah Wickford (https://www.livestrong.com/article/215054-signs-that-a-baby-is-too-old-to-be-swaddled/) about the Pros and Cons of Swaddling. She mentions that swaddling your baby can keep him from making sudden movements and startling himself, thereby promoting sleep, and that it can also help to calm your baby and decrease the amount of time that he/she spends crying. But please note:
Always lay your swaddled baby down on his back rather than his stomach to decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.
Wrapping your baby too tightly can cause problems with circulation or cause her to overheat.
Therefore make sure that you learn how to swaddle correctly!
On the BabyCenter website there is a very good article on swaddling and how to prevent hip dysplasia by swaddling correctly: (https://www.babycenter.com/0_swaddling-your-baby_125.bc)
What does it mean to swaddle a baby?
Swaddling is the art of snugly wrapping a baby in a blanket for warmth and security. It can keep your baby from being disturbed by her own startle reflex, and it can help her stay warm and toasty for the first few days of life until her internal thermostat kicks in. It may even help to calm your baby.
These days, you probably won’t leave the hospital without a little lesson in this technique. Try it, after you’ve made sure your baby isn’t hungry, wet, or tired. Swaddling can be used to help settle your baby down when she’s overstimulated or when she just needs to feel something similar to the tightness and security of the womb.
If you choose to swaddle, be sure you know how to do it correctly. Improper swaddling by tightly wrapping your baby’s legs straight down may loosen the joints and damage the soft cartilage of the hip sockets, leading to hip dysplasia.
Developmental hip dysplasia is relatively common in newborns. Your doctor will screen your baby at birth and well-child visits for the condition. Family history, breech delivery, and being a girl put your baby at greater risk for hip dysplasia.
To prevent hip dysplasia when you swaddle, be sure there’s enough room at the bottom of the blanket so that your baby can bend her legs up and out from her body.
Once your baby is about a month old you might want to stop swaddling her while she’s awake, as it can interfere with mobility and development in older babies. It’s fine to keep swaddling your baby for naps and nighttime if she seems to sleep better that way, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you stop swaddling when your baby is 2 months old – before she starts trying to roll over…