For many years, it has been thought that wrapping a baby up tightly in cloth, also known as swaddling, would stop the baby’s self-expression’ and hinder the child from learning how to control their movements. Now this practice, that is as old as the nativity itself is, according to new figures, back in vogue for the first time in nearly half a century.
Some childcare experts now believe that wrapping a child in this way mimics the pressure that a baby feels while in the womb, and creates a increased sensation of security. The demand for this trend is so high that sales of swaddling clothes has shot up by more than 61% in the past year alone, so new research has revealed.
Swaddling is an age old practice where new born babies were wrapped tightly within a cloth, thus restricting their movements, and is recorded as far back as 4000BC, to the Ancient Greek and Roman times. When new theories regarding baby development took hold in the 1960’s it virtually disappeared as mothers were urged to dress their baby is clothes that allowed movement as they grew, such as babygrows.
A study in the British Medical Journal that was published in 2009 also deemed it potentially dangerous and reported that 25% of babies who succumbed to cot death had been swaddles at the time. The problem here is that cot deaths are so rare, the sample they used for the study was very small, and the NHS branded the risk as coming from an unreliable study.
The trend has returned with such gusto that Debenhams, the major high street retail chain, now have a separate section on their website for swaddling clothes. This contains a varied selection of both blankets and other wraps that can be used to swaddle new born babies as well as keep them warm.