Leading Medical Experts and Researchers AgreeIt is Important for Babies to Have Access to their Hands
Hand to Mouth is a Natural Reflex
• The normal infant has been observed post delivery
to get hands to his mouth within 30 min
• Infants are equipped with the hand-to-mouth reflex
also known as the Babkin reflex
• Many babies suck their thumbs or fingers inutero
Baby able to Self-Soothe by Sucking
• Sucking is the most organizing behavior of the newborn
• Provides for state (sleep/wake) control
• Enhances the maturity of the baby including hand movements and gastrointestinal function
•Baby cues caregiver when hungry by rooting (sucking vigorously) on hands or fingers
An important baby friendly issue – hand position for the baby when swaddled. Leading researchers agree that it is in baby’s best interest to have access to his or her hands when swaddled.
Every baby is unique. Ask your pediatrician about swaddling your baby. Different techniques work for different babies. If your baby happens to get his or her arm(s) out of the swaddle and is unhappy that way (some babies are content with arms out), you may want to try another technique. You may want to try swaddling with one hand up by face and the other down across the tummy or down by leg with elbow flexed, alternating arms each time you swaddle. The third choice is to swaddle with both arms down, keeping the elbow joint flexed and allowing more time out of the swaddle.
Infant researchers state it’s in baby’s best interest to have the baby’s hands accessible to face, however it is your decision as a parent to choose how and if to swaddle your baby.