Mommyish Death Match: To Swaddle Or Not To Swaddle?

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I was informed today in the Mommyish offices that swaddling is like sleep training; you are either adamantly for it or against it. I have to say, the only reason it didn’t happen in my house is because my kids hated it. They screamed bloody murder if they were swaddled and always wiggled their ways out their blankets like little Houdinis.

Today I read an article about how swaddling your baby too tightly can possibly lead to hip problems later in life:

Nicholas Clarke wrote in the British journal Archives of Disease in Childhood: “Traditional swaddling is a risk factor for DDH. In order to allow for healthy hip development, legs should be able to bend up and out at the hips. This position allows for natural development of the hip joints. The babies’ legs should not be tightly wrapped in extension and pressed together.”

I don’t know about you, but my nurses in the hospital wrapped both of my babies so tightly – it was a little alarming at first. But they all insisted that was the way to get a baby to sleep! What the hell did I know? I was just a mom – no a nurse who put babies to sleep all day long. But once I got home, I could never achieve that tight swaddle, mostly because I am really claustrophobic, so the minute either of my children expressed discomfort, I said, “forget it.”  But apparently the nurses death-grip swaddle is NOT the way to go:

“Many babies sleep better when swaddled but this can be achieved by focusing on the top half of the body,” Dr Clarke wrote  in the Archives of Disease in Childhood published by the British Medical Journal.

Australian paediatrician Dr Harriet Hiscock of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute agrees. “Parents who are going to wrap need to learn to do it in a safe way. The baby must be able to fully stretch out their legs. The wrap should be tight at the top and looser at the bottom.”

Both of my children hated swaddling. My own claustrophobia led me to give up on it quickly because the thought of having by body wrapped straight-jacket style makes me break out in a cold sweat. So clearly, when it comes to swaddling – I’m a “no.”

What says you readers – did you swaddle the heck out of your babies? Did you do the loose wrap these doctors recommend? Did you find it helped your baby sleep better?

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(photo: Crystal Kirk/ Shutterstock)