While every child in the United States is swaddled as a matter of course, swaddling is very controversial here in Germany. Midwives and other parents swear by it, and pediatricians warn against it. Should parents swaddle their newborns or not?
Swaddling – limiting and providing security
The swaddling comes from the States and is done there swaddling called. When swaddling, the baby is tightly wrapped in a cloth or thin blanket. The arms and legs are under the blanket and only the head looks out. It’s done for two different reasons.
On the one hand, fixing the limbs should ensure that the Moro reflex is weakened. This reflex is innate and ensures that the baby suddenly spreads its arms and legs when there are loud noises and vibrations. This happens especially when the baby is sleeping or is about to fall asleep. The sudden movement of the arms and legs causes the baby to wake up roughly and find it difficult to calm down.
The second reason for swaddling is that the tightness that is conveyed to the baby by the cloth should remind of the security in the uterus. It should give security and reassurance. Because through the birth and leaving the womb, the baby has entered a big, cold world in which it is completely free. Without any limitation. The swaddling is supposed to reflect the warmth and limitation for the moment.
It can also be particularly helpful during a growth spurt in the first year of life. During this time, babies acquire completely new abilities due to their natural development. Your senses develop intensely. Then there are much more haunting stimuli – and that can be frightening. Sensitive babies then become downright restless and nagging. Of course, this also affects sleep. In many cases, swaddling can help. The limitation gives a feeling of security and security.
Swaddled babies sleep better
Several studies have shown that babies who are swaddled sleep significantly better and more peacefully than other children. You sleep longer and wake up less often in between. So the swaddling technique actually has a positive effect on babies. Swaddling calms down enormously, especially when it comes to writing babies. This makes it easier to calm you down and makes you less likely to scream. An enormous relief for the parents. The sleeping position on the back, which is so unpopular with children, was better accepted when the little ones were swaddled. Because of all these advantages, midwives repeatedly advise swaddling, and parents are also enthusiastic about the success of swaddling.
Pediatricians warn against swaddling
Many paediatricians warn against swaddling and consider it unnecessary and dangerous. The professional association of paediatricians (BvKJ) issued a statement on swaddling in 2012 and advises against the swaddling technique. They fear hip dysplasia and a flattened head if the child is swaddled in the supine position for too long. There is also the risk of pinching nerves and impairing breathing.
They also point out the overheating that could result from swaddling. Finally, the association also questions the point of swaddling, because the swaddled baby would by no means feel like it was in the uterus. There it would have been in the embryonic position and not stretched out.
The position of the BvKJ still annoys midwives and advocates of swaddling. These invalidate the critical arguments by stating that they are solely based on one wrong swaddling hold true. Swaddling with the right technique and the necessary care would not harm a child.
This is how correct swaddling works:
Whether parents want to believe the midwives or the BvKJ is up to you. But one thing is right and important: if you want to swaddle your child, you should use a correct technique.
Therefore, parents should have the midwife show them how to swaddle in the hospital or at home. Children up to three months of age can be swaddled without any problems. At the latest, however, when the baby turns from back to stomach, it must no longer be swaddled.
- Thin cotton blankets or the commercially available swaddling cloths or sacks are suitable for swaddling. These new swaddling cloths and sacks are particularly suitable because they are made of cotton and the Velcro fasteners make swaddling much easier.
- When the baby is swaddled, it becomes tighter on the upper body than on the legs. These need a little more space. The arms can be put to the mouth to calm down. With a little practice and the instructions from the midwife, swaddling is quick and easy.
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