Video: How to Double-Swaddle a Baby, but It’s Controversial

August 11, 2019 Updated: August 11, 2019

While some people say that swaddling has been done for generations, others contend that it is dangerous for babies.

One video in question, which has been viewed by hundreds of thousands, is sure to reignite that debate.

In the clip, a nurse shows how to “double-swaddle” a baby with a hood.

However, it’s caused some controversy in the comments section.

As one wrote, “I am a nurse, and you should never swaddle a baby’s legs that tight because you can cause hip dysplasia by restricting their movement there. In the womb it is different because gravity is not weighing them down. And there is no need for 2 blankets unless you are taking them out in the cold! A single wrap would have been sufficient and ensure you do not overheat them.”

“It’s funny I had my kids in the early 70s and I swaddled mine because that’s how they taught us in the hospital and I remember my elder sister, who had her babies in the 50s & 60s, doing the same thing. They didn’t overthink it then, they just knew it was calming for them, I guess,” one person wrote.

Swaddling has been done for centuries and is depicted in artwork from thousands of years ago. Many Renaissance paintings depict Jesus Christ, as a child, being swaddled by St. Mary.

Swaddled babies. Votive offerings from Agia Triada (Crete), Bronze age, 2600-2000 BC. (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)
The Cholmondeley Ladies and their swaddled babies. c.1600–1610 (Public Domain)
Ambrogio Lorenzetti: “Madonna and Child” from the 14th century. (Public Domain)

But according to HealthyChildren, “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that when done correctly, swaddling can be an effective technique to help calm infants and promote sleep.”

The organization recommends new parents to place the baby on their back

“This may be even more important if your baby is swaddled. Some studies have shown an increased risk of SIDS and accidental suffocation when babies are swaddled if they are placed on their stomach to sleep, or if they roll onto their stomach,” it says.

Meanwhile, the website recommends to stop swaddling when babies reach two months of age.

Some experts say that swaddled babies sleep longer, are less fussy, and have a lower risk of SIDS.

According to one report, swaddling has been linked to respiratory infections and hip dysplasia. There is also speculation that it hinders weight gain and prevents walking easily.

“To have them pinned down by a tight blanket doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said Susan Guest, a clinical nurse specialist in Maternal Newborn Care at Mount Sinai. “You need to know that, developmentally, they need to move, they need to be able to put their hand in their mouth,” according to the Globe and Mail.