Over the centuries mothers swaddled their babies to promote better sleep or to assist in settling. In fact there are recorded images on frescoes from Egyptian times depicting swaddled babies. Now this natural instinct has been validated by scientific proof.
Various medical studies into the effects of swaddling have been performed in the past few years. Did you know that:
1. Swaddled babies sleep better
The study, "Influence of Swaddling on Sleep & Arousal Characteristics of Healthy Infants" evaluated whether or not swaddling influences infants' arousal to noise. The results showed swaddling increased infants' sleep efficiency (longer periods of sleep) & non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, leading to deeper, more peaceful sleep.
2. Swaddling may help reduce the risk of SIDS
Swaddled infants spontaneously awaken less often from sleep. The researchers assert that since swaddling helps excessive crying, it may encourage parents who normally place their babies on their stomachs to prevent crying, to instead swaddle their babies and place them on their backs. Back sleeping may also prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Swaddling may be helpful in regulating babies body temperature…overheating has been attributed to increasing the risk of SIDS.
It is more difficult for swaddled infants to flip onto their tummies during sleep.
The physical restraint of swaddling presumably prevents infants from turning prone (onto their tummy) during sleep before they have gained experience in turning to prone and back again when awake.
3. There are health benefits of swaddling in premature babies
Preterm infants have shown improved neuromuscular development, less physiological distress, better motor organization, and more self-regulatory ability when they are swaddled.
4. Swaddled babies soothe better
When compared with massage, excessively crying infants cry less when swaddled, and swaddling can soothe pain in infants.
So swaddling has been proven to help keep your baby safe and asleep for longer periods of time. This is why an overwhelming percentage of hospitals teach new parents various ways to swaddle their new babies. Swaddling is also helpful when trying to settle a particularly upset baby, and not just for sleep time. Give swaddling a try, you will love it!
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SOURCE: “Influence of Swaddling on Sleep & Arousal Characteristics of Healthy Infants” American Academy of Paediatrics May 5, 2005
SOURCE: “Swaddling: A systematic Review” Paediatrics Volume 120 Number 4, Oct, 2007