Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Infant ReAction! and Swaddling Techniques

Why is it that sometimes infants are startled by loud noises, and start screaming, while other times they don’t react more than a slight movement of their feet or head?  Imagine if you as an adult could not ignore all the noises and stimuli around you, you would never be able to get anything done! And if babies cannot shut out their surroundings, they never will be able to find peace and quiet!  

Dr. Brazelton, an expert on child development, has developed a Neonatal Behavioral Assessment that is often used right after birth to test infant reaction and habituation abilities. From birth, most infants have an ability to regulate their internal nervous system to find balance even when the outside environment is overly active for an infant.  Listen to Dr. Brazleton demonstrate some of the things he does to test an infant’s ability to habituate, using a light, a rattle and a bell. 

So what can we do as parents to help our infants find comfort in their environment? 

One great way is to wrap your baby in a swaddle.

When babies are born, they are not used to having so much space around them. Often they feel uncomfortable and are unable to calm themselves. One way to help them find comfort and sleep well is by wrapping them up in a blanket so as to imitate the environment in their mother's womb. The following video clip shows two different ways to swaddle your child. 
Remember, ALWAYS lay your newborn on her back to sleep!
Photo Credit
What techniques do you use to comfort your infant?

Sources:  Brazelton, T. B. Touchpoints: The Essential Reference (1992)

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