Have you ever noticed when babies sleep, they often startle themselves awake, as though they’ve been watching a 3D movie in their dreams. This is called the startle reflex and it’s responsible for making a baby feel like he’s been abandoned. Even though it’s absolutely not the case, the baby isn’t to know this, and once the reflex awakens him, he’s likely to cry for his mother.
Swaddling is an ancient technique employed by many civilizations, not just for practical reasons such as to carry a baby but to provide soothing and a sense of protection. In modern times, studies have shown that there are other benefits to it, that may or may not have been acknowledge in days gone by.
Laying a baby down to sleep after a feed can cause digestive issues, especially in a colicky baby who suffers reflux on a regular basis. Being swaddled enables the digestive system to remain upright and so there are no problems with milk refluxing back up from the stomach. Such discomfort and pain commonly keep babies awake and then cause them to be overtired for their next feed, resulting in a cycle of restlessness, poor feeding habits and upset tummies.
Research has been carried out on the effects of swaddling and it proved that the duration of REM sleep practically doubled in babies who were swaddled, compared with those who were not.
Concerns have been raised as to what age swaddling should cease. It’s thought that to the age of around two months, allowing a baby to sleep swaddled is ideal, however once they grow older; the restriction of movement may perhaps limit their motor development.
It’s no surprise that most babies benefit from swaddling. Since he has spent the better part of night months ensconced in the warmth and bliss of your uterus, replicating that in this way provides a great deal of comfort and security. Your heartbeat is a constant companion, and the unique smell that he acknowledges as yours surrounds him. However, even if the person swaddling the child is not his mother, the benefits are just as obvious. Some hospitals in Australia encourage parents to hold their babies for as long as health permits, while the youngsters are undergoing treatment for prematurity. Swaddling was found to shorten the time a baby spent in intensive care.
Babies thrive when they feel loved and cared for. They are totally selfish yet totally dependant human beings whose needs can only be met by those who are charged with raising them. If they were able to articulate a choice between being left alone in a crib or being held close to a warm, breathing body, tuning in to the rhythm of a heartbeat, most babies would raise their hand in favor of swaddling.