Swaddling with the hands down at the sides has been done for centuries and in cultures all over the world. Why?
Babies are born with primitive reflexes. The Moro and Rooting reflexes are two in particular that can disrupt your baby’s sleep.
The Moro Reflex is more commonly known as the startle reflex and usually happens when baby is laid down on his back. Have you ever been drifting off to sleep, suddenly felt like you were falling and jerked yourself awake? That’s what the Moro Reflex feels like to a baby. They feel like they are falling, they involuntarily reach out and startle themselves awake.
The Rooting Reflex happens when something touches your baby’s cheek or chin. They immediately start “rooting” around searching for something to suck on. It’s nature’s way of helping baby find food… it’s also a good way to wake them up and frustrate them if it’s just a blanket stroking their cheek, and not food!
Not only can these primitive reflexes cause your baby frustration, their little arms flail about because they haven’t yet developed the motor control necessary to keep them still.
Swaddling with the hands down is the best way to keep baby still, to keep the Moro Reflex in check, to keep flailing arms from fighting with a blanket and to keep the blanket from inadvertently touching the chin or cheek.
And.. a still, non-arm-flailing, non-blanket-fighting, non-frustrated baby is a SLEEPING one!