Swaddling, a cloth for bleeding

It is often served so beautifully: howling baby? Go swaddle madam! From the earliest antiquity children were stiffly wrapped in cloths because it was thought that the body would grow properly. In addition, it was easy, you put your baby down difficult and did not have to worry about it anymore. But is swaddle really that good for your baby?

Where does inbakering come from?

From the earliest antiquity children were stiffly wrapped in cloths because it was thought that the body would grow properly. In addition, it was easy, you put your baby down difficult and did not have to worry about it anymore. Older babies were also complicated on the side of the field where the mother was working, so they could not move and did not crawl away. Wrapping was therefore also for safety reasons, children could not hurt themselves.

Scalding and skin irritations

No thought was given to the fact that the baby was lying in his own urine and stool and that this was going to be brewing considerably in warm weather. The cloths were not changed often at the time and serious skin irritations were quite common.
In the Middle Ages, swaddling was also applied in our country, because it was then thought that it protected against nasty diseases such as the plague and to help heal injuries during birth. The wrapping helped - according to one's opinion - against crooked legs, umbilical fracture and provided a straight posture and firm shoulders.

Cripples and humpbacks

As a result of the tight swaddling of the infants, some doctors started calling in the mid-18th century because nowhere did they see so many cripples and hunchbacks as in our country! Research among the Indian population, where swaddling from tradition was applied, showed that children developed more hip dysplasia. This while this deviation hardly occurs in countries where babies are traditionally carried in a sling on the mother's hip, for example in Africa. At the end of the 18th century, the swaddling became out of favor with the people from the higher classes. Families from the working class did not have this choice, after all, work had to be done and swaddling ensured the safety of the child. In the Dutch countryside people remained faithful until the beginning of the twentieth century.


In the 70s of the last century, swaddling was no longer applied. It was not recommended by the health centers because of possible hip problems, reduced development of motor skills and to promote good bonding between mother and child.
In the 1990s, however, swaddling was again used more and more in motor troubled babies and in crying babies. A district nurse explained the basic principles and you could get started.

Research into the effects of swaddling

Nowadays it is the intention that swaddling is officially included in the guidelines of the consultation office. I find this a troubled development. There are so many hooks and eyes, mothers have to take into account so many things and it can only be applied in a very limited period of time. After the maternity period up to 4 months and then it has to be finished again. It seems to me that counseling agencies want to offer parents tangible handles to prevent excessive crying. And what is more tangible than wrappers? Other solutions, such as searching for the cause of crying or intensive counseling, take too much time or are simply unknown to the employees of the health centers.

Only concrete way

Apart from a comfort briefcase, swaddle is the only concrete way that is offered. Due to the dangers associated with this, this must be done under good supervision. With the swaddling in, the consultation office meets parents who feel the need to take action themselves to reduce the excessive crying of their child. All in all very understandable, only you will stifle the crying by wrapping your child so firmly that he no longer has room to move.
And for this old-fashioned form of symptom management, many of the current nurses have to be on course, while this time could also have been put into better supervision of mother and child and searching together with the parents for the real causes and solutions!

Rural research

The national survey showed that swaddling only adds value to seven weeks and then only in combination with rest and regularity.
National research into the effectiveness of various interventions in babies who cry and whine in the Wilhelmina Children's Hospital in Utrecht, showed that swaddling has an added value of up to seven weeks in combination with rest, regularity (stimulation reduction). The latter results in the same results in the weeks thereafter. Note excessive crying 2007: Although both interventions lead to the same result, the application of rest and regularity always has priority over swaddling. Swaddling must be done safely in terms of hip dysplasia and cot death and must be completed again in time. Peace and regularity does not have these limitations.

Adds little

Last summer Bregje van Sleuwen came with her PhD research into swaddling:
A regular and predictable pattern of activities reduces the excessive crying of babies within a few days. The swaddling of these babies adds little. This is what biologist Bregje van Sleuwen says in her doctoral research that she carried out at UMC Utrecht.

No effect

The swaddle of crying babies has no extra effect on top of the regularity schedule. Only in young babies from one to seven weeks does the crying decrease significantly more with the inbreed group. But in older babies of eight to thirteen weeks, crying declined more strongly in the regular group. Van Sleuwen: "The swaddling has no added value; there is a small effect measurable among the young babies, but a difference of ten minutes per day is not clinically relevant. "

The dangers of swaddling

Improper swaddling can inflict great damage to your child, such as hip abnormalities and can even be life-threatening if you swallow your child too loosely or too tightly. (cot death) In addition, swaddling is more likely to cause problems of attachment and the natural reflexes in breastfeeding are disturbed or impeded if the child is swaddled. But the "hunger signals" of the baby are also suppressed. Rest and regularity are disturbed by swaddling because in the few months that swaddling is allowed your child also receives vaccinations and then swaddling again is not allowed.

When not swaddle?

Medical reasons - or contraindications - to prevent a child from being baked:

  • (Increased chance of a) dysplastic hip development
  • Fever
  • First 24 hours after D (K) TP, HIB or other vaccinations
  • Severe respiratory infection and / or tightness of the chest
  • Preferential posture due to a deviation in the spinal column

Special circumstances

In the following situations, a baby may only be invaded with the permission of a doctor:

  • Many spit or reflux nutrition.
  • When spitting is a result of unrest, swaddling can be applied.
  • If the spitting has another cause, a baby may not be swaddled.
  • Eczema.
  • In general, a child with dry eczema can, but a child with wet eczema not be swaddled.
  • Neurological abnormalities.
  • Baby of drug-addicted mother.
  • Pre-and dysmature born babies.
  • In hospital in fetal position in shawl. At home in shawl or swaddling cloths and always in the supine position!

Physical removal

Swaddling causes physical removal between mother and child and therefore increases the risk of a disturbed bonding relationship.

Various studies show that an overly crying baby also poses a threat to a healthy parent-child relationship.
The word 'also' seems very significant to me in this respect! Why opt for swaddling if this is also a threat to a healthy parent-child relationship? If excessive crying is a threat to a good bonding relationship and swaddling does this then you are on the wrong path. Parents with an overly crying baby need help, help in the form of counseling, possibly an explanation of rest and regularity, understanding of an expert by experience and someone who knows how to get behind the cause of the many crying. Imagine you are going to swaddle your child for a few weeks under the guidance of a district nurse. Your child continues to cry horribly even after swaddling and applying rest and regularity, could there not be a medical cause? What if you find out afterwards that your child, for example, already has an ear infection from his birth that no one noticed or because it could not be detected by the GP? If you then have the luck that the pediatrician sees this after further investigation and you have a satisfied baby after a week of antibiotics, how would you feel afterwards about swaddling your child in the preceding weeks?

Motor restless

Or are you going to swaddle because your child is so motor agitated that he always wakes himself up? And after a few weeks, do you discover that your child's restless motor skills are an expression of KISS syndrome? In a child who is crying a lot and spits a lot in case of unrest, swaddling is also advised. Then I wonder who determines that your child spits out of unrest? What if your child spits from painful reflux symptoms and is thought to be unrest? Reflux can be treated well and you will see that your baby no longer cries too much. I should not think that children with a hidden reflux be swaddled in, this form of reflux is hardly noticed in the beginning, but your child cries very much of the painful, burning acid in his esophagus. It is also stated that one should not swallow in neurological abnormalities. And what about the neurological disease RETT syndrome? With this deviation, the development seems to proceed normally to six months!

Pain is suppressed

All these examples show that you try to suppress symptoms of anxiety, displeasure and excitement (or worse of pain!) While your child is crying or being restless with reason!
Ria Blom is probably most associated with swaddling with her name. On her website www.debakermat.nl we also read when a baby may not be swaddled:

  • In the maternity period, swabbing should not be started.
  • A baby may not be swaddled after 6 months
  • A child with hunger may also not be put to sleep. It can happen that when swaddling fatigue wins from hunger and the child falls asleep. Then the hunger is not noticed. Is then again a number of times much too little drunk (due to poor drinking technique and / or too little supply) and the child continues to sleep due to increasing fatigue, despite the hunger, recoiled, then there is danger of dehydration. The child may suffer and start drinking worse, which means that breastfeeding does not start or diminishes.

On the website www.veiligslapen.info you can read this text:

Old times

Swaddling dates back to ancient times, when man was still living under primitive circumstances. In the Middle Ages it was also customary in our country, because people thought it protects against nasty diseases such as plague and smallpox. Since the age of ten, wrapping a baby has gained some support in the Netherlands; many immigrants have always been accustomed to it. According to the proponents, it would be beneficial for a baby, but until now, the usefulness and necessity are mainly assumptions of which the correctness has not been demonstrated convincingly. Swaddling is not recommended in the Netherlands.

Back in the womb?

If you read all this, we can assume that swaddling entails big risks and that there are few times when it is safe to embark on. Perhaps this is due to the fact that it is an old-fashioned way of symptom management. It is often said that the child feels comfortable because it is in the womb again, I ask myself: Why should a child back in the womb? Your baby was born and must, in any case, be maintained in the world. He does this through the love and care of his parents. Swaddling prolongs the process of becoming a fetus while your child could attach to his parents at that time and should be developing. In addition, the sensation that the child experiences in the nurturing uterus seems totally incomparable to the feeling that swaddling gives. That would be the same comparison as that between a warm soothing bath and a straitjacket!

Animal world

If we look at the animal world for a moment, we do not see that other mammals pack their youngsters in any way whatsoever.
Each mammal is the first to seek the safety of the mother and the nipple, in this we do not differ from other mammals. Skin on skin contact and the heat of the mother's body, that is what infants need after their birth.
Exceptions aside, a baby in his cradle or bed needs a sleeping bag and enough to put in the blankets. He then still has enough freedom of movement but is nicely tucked.

Why is it still being swapped?

If you have a crying baby or an overstimulated / restless child, then you are prepared to stop crying or dissatisfaction. You want your child so happy to see and sleep well in his own bed. When swaddling is suggested, you are initially inclined to think; would this finally produce the desired effect? Can it be that simple?

Psychic benefit

The great psychological advantage of swaddling plays a major role in this. You as a mother can now actually do something to solve your child's problem. You no longer have to stand on the sidelines with a helpless feeling. No, you can go to the store for the best cloths and (!) To get started. You can take concrete action and you will be well informed by the health center. The days before you are busy convincing yourself that this is the best for your child and swaddling from the middle ages is an old use to bring babies to a halt. In addition, you read everything about the attempts to swaddle other mothers. You read the for and against arguments and although you find it a pathetic idea to swaddle your child, you hope it will help in your case anyway.


The right swaddling of a baby contains many rules, good guidance is important and even then there is a certain risk. In addition, the time in which it is allowed to be swapped in is so short that parents are not helped with this and all restrictions make it extra difficult. Research shows that the added value of swaddling in addition to rest and regularity is negligible. Rest and regularity alone have more effect, also in the longer term. Parents should receive more guidance in identifying the cause of and seeking solutions for the many crying. If it turns out that there is no actual cause, at least no medical cause can then be started with calm and regularity to apply. Which still does not mean that you let your baby cry for hours alone!

Fortunately, in most cases, the modern parent says: I want to know the cause of the many crying and not just fight the symptom by restricting my child in an unnatural way in his freedom of movement!

Video: Colin Dye God in Swaddling Cloths

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