Swaddling is an age-old practice of wrapping infants in blankets or similar cloths so that movement of the limbs is tightly restricted. Swaddling physiological characteristics of skin children of early age were often used to further restrict the infant. Swaddling fell out of favor in the 17th century. Some authors are of the opinion that swaddling is becoming popular again, although medical and psychological opinion on the effects of swaddling is divided.
Several authors presume that swaddling was invented in the paleolithic period. Votive statuettes have been found in the tombs of Ancient Greek and Roman women who died in childbirth, displaying babies in swaddling clothes. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. Swaddling clothes described in the Bible consisted of a cloth tied together by bandage-like strips. After an infant was born, the umbilical cord was cut and tied, and then the baby was washed, rubbed with salt and oil, and wrapped with strips of cloth. These strips kept the newborn child warm and also ensured that the child’s limbs would grow straight.
1510, detail from The Temptation of St. The Cholmondeley Ladies and their swaddled babies. During Tudor times, swaddling involved wrapping the new baby in linen bands from head to foot to ensure the baby would grow up without physical deformity. A stay band would be attached to the forehead and the shoulders to secure the head. Babies would be swaddled like this until about 8 or 9 months.
I also saw right and straight children created by God and born into this world by humans, who became nevertheless bent and lame men, who never got straight and healthy thighs. In addition, I have for instance let a child lay again down and tied up, so that I see, in which way he was swaddled. In the seventeenth century, the scientific opinion towards swaddling began to change. There was an association of neglect with swaddling, especially regarding wetnurses who would leave babies in their care swaddled for long periods without washing or comforting them.
In his “Essay upon Nursing” of 1748, he expressed his view of contemporary child care, swaddling, the topic of too much clothing for infants and overfeeding. But besides the Mischief arising from the Weight and Heat of these Swaddling-cloaths, they are put on so tight, and the Child is so cramp’d by them, that its Bowels have not room, nor the Limbs any Liberty, to act and exert themselves in the free easy Manner they ought. This is a very hurtful Circumstance, for Limbs that are not used, will never be strong, and such tender Bodies cannot bear much Pressure. Philosophers and physicians more and more began to reject swaddling in the 18th century. The child has hardly left the mother’s womb, it has hardly begun to move and stretch its limbs, when it is given new bonds.
Although this form of swaddling has fallen out of favour in the Western world, many Eastern cultures and tribal people still use it. The swaddling clothes of mediaeval Madonna and Child paintings are now replaced with cotton receiving blankets, cotton muslin wraps, or specialised “winged” baby swaddles. Modern swaddling is becoming increasingly popular today as a means of settling and soothing irritable infants and helping babies sleep longer with fewer awakenings. Loose and ineffective swaddling techniques made while using an undersized blanket can generally be kicked off by a wakeful baby. It is important for caregivers to accomplish a secure swaddle to ensure the blanket does not become loose and the baby remains wrapped during the sleep period.
The act of swaddling does carry a risk of the baby overheating if the caregiver uses multiple blankets that are too thick or uses thick fluffy fabric that creates excessive thermal insulation. Modern specialized baby swaddles are designed to make it easier to swaddle a baby than with traditional square blanket. They are typically fabric blankets in a triangle, ‘T’ or ‘Y’ shape, with ‘wings’ that fold around the baby’s torso or down over the baby’s shoulders and around underneath the infant. Some of these products employ Velcro patches or other fasteners. To avoid hip dysplasia risk, the swaddle should be done in such a way that the baby is able to move his or her legs freely at the hip.
This is more easily done with a large blanket that can keep the arms in place while allowing the legs flexibility, all while allowing for proper hip development. 5 months, parents and caregivers should transition the baby from swaddling to a less restrictive covering for sleep. If the baby can roll over, then it is important for the baby to have use of its hands and arms to adjust his or her head position after rolling over. In some countries, swaddling is the standard treatment of babies.
Swaddling as a medical intervention with a clearly limited indication range is used in the care practices of premature babies or crybabies with brain-organically provable damage. Also swaddling is used for reducing pain in such care actions as collecting blood at the heel. Modern medical studies of swaddling use a form that is considerably shorter and less severe than the historical forms. The results of such studies are therefore to be understood only as assessments of historical practices. The classical study by Lipton et al. 1965 dealt with a modern swaddling form. The researchers described the two main effects of tightly wrapping babies: they are motorically calm and sleep much.