Posted by: babybumper | September 6, 2010

Bundle of Joy? Is the Baby Bundle Best?

Skin-to-skin verses Swaddling

Swaddling a baby creates a great calming and sleeping environment. I love Dr. Harvey Karp’s fascinating work laid out at Swaddling a baby encourages calmness, and sleep. Just as a newborn was “tightly woven” in the womb, babies sleep longer and are easier to calm when swaddled.

Burrito baby and skin-to-skin baby have completely different environments to work with. Swaddling is good for sleeping; skin-to-skin is good for learning, bonding, eating, etc. A baby burrito is a wonderful alternative when skin-to-skin contact is not possible, or when encouraging a baby to go to sleep or stay asleep. Skin-to-skin and swaddling have entirely different functions, and are not created equal. But both are useful. Skin-to-skin is especially superior for a newborn baby.

A Newborn Baby Burrito

  • Will cry more, as babies are in distress without their mama
  • Will have a challenging time staying warm
  • Will have more difficulty breathing, and with circulating oxygen
  • Will require more oxygen supplementation
  • Will have a lower blood sugar
  • Will not latch on as well
  • Will draw out as much colostrum from the breast
  • Will not gain weight as easily
  • Will not be as attracted to breastfeeding (leading to a decreased milk supply)
  • Will be colonized by different bacteria than the mother (so may get more infections)
  • Will not have the optimal brain development

What do you think? Anyone noticed differences between skin-to-skin and a burrito baby? Is swaddling your bundle of joy because of the calm environment it provides? Have you experienced the benefits of skin-to-skin contact? When does skin-to-skin work best? When does a good swaddle work better?



  1. Skin-to-skin always worked good for us when our son was a newborn. I tried swaddling a few times after watching The Happiest Baby on the Block, but I wasn’t very comfortable with it, I felt so distant from my baby (I write about this experience in my blog if you are interested). Babywearing has been a great alternative for me.

    • Interesting comment! Truly, Babywearing does provide much of the same calming action of the 5S’s, but also neurological stimulation, and connection with the one who carries. What did you think of my posts about babywearing? I enjoyed your blog!

      • Thank you! I liked your babywearing posts. Your quotation of Dr. Sears appeals to me: “The womb lasts eighteen months: Nine months inside mother, and nine months outside.” I guess I feel like it too, that’s why I don’t stop at four trimesters.

  2. […] because she was so small, the little girl had difficulty keeping warm, although they kept her bundled in warm blankets. One hour after birth, a nurse checked the little girl’s blood sugar, as babies […]

  3. […] I work, many nurses are still accustomed to receiving a baby to a blanket, and keeping that baby bundled, although scientific evidence boasts the benefits of skin-to-skin contact. Imagine the inhibition […]

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