Saturday, 27 July 2013

Kate, George and Swaddling

Kate Middleton, and her muslin swaddled Prince George have generated quite an interest in the ancient practice of swaddling. Retailers are seeing a huge increase in swaddling muslin sales as a result of what will probably become known as the George effect.

But Kate isn't the first celebrity mum to swaddle. Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts and Peaches Geldof are all swaddlers.

Swaddling is the practice of wrapping infants in blankets or similar cloth so that movement of the limbs is restricted.

swaddled baby

It is thought that swaddling can help babies feel secure as it recreates the restricted space of the womb. This may help them sleep and also help prevent the baby making his ‘moro’ reflex.( Waving out the arms and crying because the baby feels like he is falling when he is no longer held).

It is no surprise that Kate chose muslin for swaddling in the current hot weather. The open weave of muslin allows air to flow around the baby preventing the baby from overheating.

swaddling muslin
Swaddling Muslin available from Bunny Bumpkin

There are conflicting views on whether swaddling is a good or bad thing but like most things moderation and a bit of common sense is probably the best approach. Swaddling may help settle a restless baby but I’m sure you would not want your arms and legs restricted for long periods of time.

Also don’t wrap the swaddle too tight. Allow enough space for the elbows to move if the hands are by the side. As soon as your baby is able to roll, don’t leave your baby unsupervised in a swaddle as if they roll onto their front they could get into difficulties breathing. Alternatively you can leave the hands by the face in the swaddle. Some experts argue that  this increase the risks of the baby pulling the blanket over their head but it is quite safe with muslin as it has air holes.
To swaddle or not to swaddle is a choice for the individual mum but what can’t be disputed is that the royal baby looks gorgeous wrapped up in his swaddle.