• Emma

To swaddle or not to swaddle?

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

Swaddling your new born baby is a world-wide, centuries old tradition where babies are firmly wrapped in a light sheet or blanket with their arms and legs held closely to their body. But why do we do this?

montessori and swaddling


Babies are born with a set of involuntary reflexes whose purpose, biologically speaking, is to help them survive:

  • The Moro Reflex, also known as the Startle Reflex happens when your baby is startled by a loud noise or when they are put down faster than they were expecting. Babies will fling both arms out to the side, as if trying to balance themselves and then bring their arms back together across their body.

  • The Rooting Reflex happens when your baby feels something touch the side of their face and quickly turn their head in the direction of the breast or bottle.

  • The Sucking Reflex happens when your baby feels something touch the roof of their mouth. This sensation makes them start sucking. Many babies also have a hand-to-mouth reflex alongside this one, which is why they often find comfort by sucking their hand or fingers.

  • The Crying Reflex is nature's way of ensuring your baby gains your attention when they need it (such as for hunger, discomfort or pain).

  • The Grasping Reflex happens when any object touches your baby's palm and they firmly close their fingers tightly around it. In nature, this was once a crucial skill to have as baby monkeys had to grasp their mother's fur whilst being carried.