Nearly all cultures across the globe have learned to snuggle wrap baby in a blanket both to carry them and to help with sleep. Here's a step-by-step guide.
On a recent Saturday, the phone rang and as I said hello, a very tired voice whispered, "I am looking for a postpartum doula." In the background I could hear a baby wailing. I asked her if everything was OK and she told me that her son Josh, who was three weeks old, had been crying for two and a half hours. I asked her if she thought he was sick, and she told me that the doctor had given her some drops for colic, but that Josh always cried that much before she could calm him down.
When I inquired how long he would sleep at each sitting, she said, "Sometimes he sleeps for one whole hour!" I told her I would come over right away, and we'd continue the interview in person. When I walked into her home I found a sweet, tired and disheveled woman with deep circles around her eyes, and a crying baby in her arms. My heart went out to her. I asked if I could hold the baby while we spoke.
Dana handed Josh to me, and as I settled on the couch, I swrapped him tightly into a little burrito, then shushed him and rocked him. He fell asleep within a few minutes. Mom was stunned. "How did you do that?" she asked. "Have you ever bundled him?" "No," she responded, "I thought that would be too confining. He likes to suck on his fist."
The practice of bundling babies and hiring wet nurses to take care of them was widely criticized in the 18th century. Together, with our Declaration of Independence, we began throwing away some of our early traditions including this ancient art of snugly wrapping your baby in a blanket for warmth and security. Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggest that helps babies sleep better.
Parents would then be less likely to put small babies into the more risky stomach-sleeping position. Dr. Claudia Gerard, who led the research team said, "Now we have scientific evidence to support the age-old belief that bundled infants sleep better than unbundled ones." Dr. Harvey Karp, renowned pediatrician and author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, tells us that the initial 12 weeks of a baby's life could be viewed as the "fourth trimester," meaning that human infants are born somewhat prematurely and need the reassurance of the warm womb, which is what makes this type of bundling imitates.
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