Swaddling worked like magic to calm my son after he was born. He was such a fussy baby that I can’t imagine life without that little blue blanket wrapped around him. His soothing assured my sanity.
I was shocked to hear that Minnesota has banned day care centers in the state from swaddling infants. And the technique is strongly discouraged at facilities in Pennsylvania and California.
The controversy started when an organization that gives safety guidelines for day care providers came out against swaddling because of concerns about SIDS and hip development.
Moms and dads are routinely taught to swaddle newborns with a specially folded blanket at the Legacy Good Samaritan Family Birth Center in Portland. “Newborns are used to being in the womb so they don’t have a lot of room. When we swaddle it creates a similar environment,” said Nurse Ky Leineweber. It can also keep the baby from being startled. “Often, they startle for no reason,” said Leineweber. “Swaddling helps them feel secure.” But does that security come with a price. “Now there’s this concern if you swaddle too tightly, you might hurt the baby,” explained Dr. Paul Thomas of Portland’s Integrative Pediatrics. There is a way, he says, to swaddle safely.
“Make sure the baby is sleeping on their back and not their tummy and make sure the legs are not held straight, then hip development won’t be impaired.”
The National Resource Center on Child Health and Safety made the recommendation to stop swaddling at child care centers two years ago. Minnesota made it illegal this past December. Critics are concerned not swaddling could lead to more fussy babies and more frustrated parents.
Portland area mom Rachel Layton is already convinced her one-day old daughter Penelope loves it. ”She slept really well last night swaddled up which was great. We also used it with my son and he slept awesome,” she said.
Doctors recommend making sure the newborns legs and hips can move freely and that you can fit a hand down inside the swaddled blanket. “It can calm a baby and help parents get some much-needed sleep especially in the first few months,” concluded Thomas.
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