By Baby Jogger Australia
Midwife Cath invented ‘Cath’s wrap’ many years ago - a style of wrapping that is safe and makes baby feel safe and secure after he is born. ‘Cath’s Wrap’ was invented many years ago and is a style of wrapping that is safe and makes the baby feel safe and secure after he is born. When babies are in utero, they only have the uterus to bounce off and they never feel any fear as their movements are buffered by the strength of the muscular uterine wall.
Once a baby is born, there is so much space, cold air and no security around them that they stretch their arms out in a startle reflex to find security from the uterus, mother or any object they can hold on to. The baby has only known his movements to be buffered by the uterus.
For a baby to be wrapped properly he must have two things –
- His arms must be able to move just like he was in the uterus.
- His hips must be capable of full movement
- And his legs able to freely move.
Cath’s Wrap allows all of the above and to achieve this you will need plenty of wraps, usually as big as 1.2 x 1.4 m. Some wraps are too small and as the baby grows, the wraps become too tight and restrictive. This is detrimental to the baby’s hips and legs - so the bigger the better.
I wrap babies for all feeds and all sleep. For feeds, usually up until around 6 - 8 weeks but I wrap the baby prior to every sleep and then sleep only till six months. Babies love to be wrapped.
Don’t be fooled by the wriggling and stretching - that is exactly what he did in utero! Wrapping babies and placing them on the back actually provides them with stability and comfort to help him sleep. It's important to remember not to place a wrapped baby on his stomach as this has an increased risk of sudden infant death.
It's also important to not overdress or overheat the baby when they are wrapped. My rule of thumb is in summer dress light and wrap in a light muslin wrap. In winter, add another layer of clothes to the baby but still wrap in a very light muslin wrap
The time to stop wrapping a baby is when they are rolling continuously during floor time during the day. At about 6 to 8 months, babies automatically will roll over onto their tummy to go to sleep. This is okay, but you must not wrap the baby or have any sheet or doona in the cot.
Often babies are very active and move a lot while sleeping in their cot. As adults, it's hard to look at a baby in a cot with no blankets over him but he knows no different and as long as he is dressed appropriately he will be warm.
This is another reason why babies should not be wrapped once they start rolling and moving. Blankets and sheet donors also are a risk to babies as they can hold the blanket and then they put their hands up over their head and inadvertently smothering themselves, so tragic and avoidable.
When your baby is in the pram, wrap him when he is asleep and wrap to play when he has had a feed and back in the pram. Avoid putting muslin wraps, sheets or blankets over the pram while taking the baby for a walk outside.
Some babies love to be wrapped and in fact it is a queue for them to both feed and sleep, that's how important it is to wrap a baby.
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Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.