Controversy Over Swaddling?

Dr. James Lee's Blog - Swaddling ControversySwaddling a newborn baby is an ageless comfort measure that seems natural to do. Why then, have some child care centers and even some states banned this practice as potentially unsafe? When should swaddling be stopped? What’s unsafe about it?

Swaddling is a technique of tightly wrapping a baby with a blanket to prevent the natural startle reflex (the Moro reflex) from awakening or upsetting a baby. The startle reflex primarily occurs in the upper body and arms and is outgrown usually by age 2 months.

The concern is, that swaddling could over restrain or restrict a baby’s natural movements, especially the hips, and also breathing. Proper swaddling should secure the upper body but not the lower and fundamentally not be necessary after age 2 months. It’s a comfort measure for infants up to age 2 months but after that tight or restrictive swaddling should be stopped. Therefore, swaddling for most babies in daycare shouldn’t be necessary since most are beyond the age of 2 months.

My take; swaddling is fine but there is a correct way of doing it and it is not necessary after 2-3 months of age.

– Dr. James Lee, Pediatrician

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