Swaddling my baby was one of my favorite ways to soothe my son during his first few months. He loved being tightly snuggled into a blanket. It made him feel secure. And he looked so cute -- who doesn't love a little baby burrito? But these are dark days for swaddling. Apparently day cares all over the country are banning swaddling, and no one is happy about it.
Daycare workers say babies aren't as happy as they used to be, and they're taking much shorter naps now. It's all thanks to new guidelines set by the National Resource Center on Child Health and Safety in 2011. They said swaddling could lead to severe health issues, including hip problems, especially if babies are laid down on their stomachs. "In child care settings, swaddling is not necessary or recommended." So harsh! Are they right?
Child care expert (and swaddling cheerleader) Harvey Karp says the NRC's guidelines are based on just a handful of studies -- and they ignore many other studies that show the benefits of swaddling. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics admits that swaddling can help babies sleep better. But you have to do it correctly.
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Okay... I get that. So then why not just say that swaddling is fine as long as all daycare workers are properly trained? I mean, it's just swaddling. We're not talking nuclear fission here. It doesn't sound that complicated. Here's what the AAP recommends for careful swaddling:
- Be careful not to wrap the baby too tightly.
- Make sure the baby's legs aren't straightened or pressed together.
- Watch the sleeping baby to see if they've kicked their way out of the swaddle. If so, remove the blankets immediately or re-swaddle. Never allow babies to sleep in loose bedding.
There -- is that so complicated? I think parents and day care workers can handle that.
Do you think most day cares can handle swaddling safely?
Image via Gracie and Viv/Flickr