In the last few decades there has been a revival in the practice of swaddling babies. An example is a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, (May 14, 2013) A Better Night’s Sleep for All that provides the latest information about baby swaddling to prospective parents. The subject of swaddling is juxtaposed with the subject of infant death syndrome (SIDS). A correlation is then made between SIDS cases to unsafe sleep environments. From there, the article goes on to discuss better methods of swaddling. The reason given for swaddling is that it provides “a better night’s sleep for all.”
The article is a typical manifestation of the emotional plague in operation in everyday life. The association of swaddling with SIDS has the effect of frightening people into swaddling their infants. The reason to swaddle, to insure a good night’s sleep for all, is given to justify the practice with a “good intention”and to provide the parents with a clear conscience. Nothing is said about the importance of the child’s spontaneous movements for it’s emotional health and natural development. Nothing is said about the harm that restricting these movements does to the infant.
The reason for this upswing is twofold: First, mothers today are in less emotional touch with themselves and are in need of good advice. (More and more “experts” are in the market to give it.) Second, in today’s anti-authoritarian, overly permissive society, people have less muscular armor and therefore are generally more anxious than they were in the past. For many, having a baby is fraught with anxiety and prospective parents need to have their anxieties brought under control. Armoring their babies by swaddling them gives parents comfort and a sense of security.
Until mothers and fathers are in better emotional contact with their own and their children’s emotional needs, there is no hope that there will be any genuine improvement with the way newborns and babies are brought up.