The Great Swaddling Debate

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Registered: 07-05-2005
The Great Swaddling Debate
Mon, 04-08-2013 - 8:18am

I don’t remember much about the first few months of my son’s life. It’s a collection of tidbits—our doctor yelling “It’s a boy!,” the “dun-dun” of 4 a.m. Law & Order reruns, painful nipples. But I do remember five things that were, I think, largely responsible for the fact that I am now a parenting columnist and not a patient at the Kingsboro Psychiatric Center. These were pediatrician Harvey Karp’s famous Five S’s for calming fussy babies: swaddling, side/stomach position, swinging, shushing, and sucking.

So I was surprised when I learned a few weeks ago (from Karp, actually, while I was interviewing him for my last column) that swaddling—the act of wrapping babies snugly in cloths or blankets, which inhibits the startle-inducing Moro reflex and calms them—is now illegal in child care centers in Minnesota and strongly discouraged in centers in Pennsylvania and California. This has created a ripple effect that is scaring moms away from the practice nationwide.

I swaddled all three of my children and honestly can't imagine not doing it!  Where do you stand on the issue? BTDT mamas- did you swaddle your other children?  Will you be swaddling this one?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-26-2008
Mon, 04-08-2013 - 11:55am

I have to admit that I didn't even know there was debate on the topic.  We swaddled my DD religiously and it helped a lot.  The moro reflect woke her up all.the.time if we didn't.  We will likely also do it with this baby...but I'll have to go do some reading on it.


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-09-2012
Mon, 04-08-2013 - 1:46pm

Like Caryn, I didn't even know there was a debate on this! I mean, I've heard of people not using blankets at all for fear that it would cover the nose and mouth, so I guess that is part of the debate, that it could be dangerous. HOWEVER, we swaddled DD regularly and it really did help her sleep better. When she was properly swaddled it never came loose or covered her face, I must say, so I do believe we will continue swaddling with this baby!