It’s Time for Swaddling to Make a Comeback - Woodmam

It’s Time for Swaddling to Make a Comeback - Woodmam

For centuries, parents have been hesitant about swaddling their babies. Critics have claimed swaddling was just a fad—and some continue to do so:

About ten years ago, I visited a nursery for newborns in northern Italy. I shared with the nursery director the concept of the missing fourth trimester and my belief that the time had come for a worldwide “renaissance of wrapping.”

The director listened politely, but his face wore an amazed and amused expression. After I finished my impassioned speech, he patted my shoulder in a grandfatherly way and said discreetly, “We haven’t done that in Italy for generations. We believe that babies must have their hands free to encourage their muscle development.”

At that moment, his secretary summoned him to take a phone call. No sooner had he left the room than a nurse shyly came up to me and whispered, “You know, Il Directore likes to keep the babies unwrapped, but as soon as he leaves for the day, we always bundle them all back up again!” She winked at me, adding, “They really are happier that way.”

Learning How to Swaddle—Step by Step

You probably already know that the number-one way to calm your fussy baby is to pick her up and hold her tightly in your arms. That’s exactly what swaddling does, except it has the extra benefit of giving you a few minutes to cook a meal or go to the bathroom!

Swaddling is easy to do, but it does require precise technique and some practice. Many books recommend wrapping, but they rarely teach how to do it, which is problematic because incorrect swaddling can make your baby’s crying worse.

Here’s everything you need to know to become the happiest (and best) swaddler on the block. Don’t worry if it feels weird at first; after five to ten tries swaddling will become as automatic for you as changing a diaper.

There are as many ways to swaddle babies as there are to fold napkins for a dinner party. But one method that a wonderful midwife taught me many years ago is clearly the best. I call it the DUDU wrap (pronounced “doo doo,” standing for Down-Up-Down-Up).

Getting Started

You’ll need a large square blanket. These are easier to use than rectangular blankets because their symmetry allows for an even, balanced wrap. Blanket fabric is your choice. Some like flannel, while others prefer stretchy, waffle-type fabrics. (You may find it’s easiest to learn to wrap if you first practice it on a doll or when your baby is calm.)

1) Place the blanket on your bed and position it like a diamond, with a point at the top.

2) Fold the top corner down so the top point touches the center of the blanket.

3) Place your baby on the blanket so her neck lies on the top edge.

4) Hold your baby’s right arm down straight at her side. If she resists, be patient. The arm will straighten after a moment or two of gentle pressure.
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