Now Swaddling Is Bad For Babies?
We parents can never get a break. Studies just keep raining down on us that make every parenting choice we've ever made seem like a bad choice. Take the newest mark of bad parenting for example: swaddling.
We were told to swaddle our firstborn because it inhibits the startle reflex. My husband would literally get elated while wrapping our little newborn up as a burrito. It was so tidy and it calmed our little fussy one. I never really got the hang of it, and I always preferred skin-to-skin contact with my little ones. (Yes, it is about me.)
I know that some parents swear by swaddling and can't imagine calming a fussy, colicky baby without the wrapping technique. But swaddling has been getting a bad rap lately. Studies say it increased hip dysplasia and according to Slate magazine, centres in the U.S. have banned swaddling because of risks of SIDS and hip problems. The ripple effect of the ban has parenting staying away from the baby burrito.
But is there any science behind these claims? Swaddling has been practiced all over the world for centuries, could it really be dangerous?
Melinda Wenner Moyer, the Slate parenting writer, took the claims to task, saying that the studies were faulty and did not point to real danger. In fact, most of the recommendations agains swaddling comes from a Colorado resource centre study.
Harvey Karp, the doctor behind the successful Happiest Baby On The Block and pro-swaddler is outraged by the anti-swaddlers calling them: "crazy and unintelligent and unscientific".
The writer explains that swaddling a baby and then placing on them on their stomach could be dangerous, as could wrapping the blanket too tightly, or having the blanket cover the baby's face. No kidding.
As for hip dysplasia, a pediatrician says: “for the past ten years, Americans have been swaddling a great deal, and we haven’t been seeing reports of more hip dysplasia,” says Bradley Thach. Even the international organization that educates about hip dysplasia says the practice is safe if done properly.
So why is this important? One: because you don't want new parents dropping a safe practice that works for them. Especially because swaddling calms fussy, colicky babies and calming fussy babies is good for the health of the entire family unit.
Just because there is a right and a wrong way to swaddle doesn’t mean that parents should be made to feel afraid of it. There are safe and unsafe ways to feed your kids, dress them, and discipline them, too—we just educate parents on how to do these things properly.
Education remains the key to so many aspects of parenting. We just don't have the time or the resources to sift through all the studies to make sure that they are up to par. So we have to rely on the media, our doctors and our instincts.
Are you a fan of swaddling?
Want more chaos? Last year, I wrote about the sick baby scam on Facebook.