THE ART OF SWADDLINGBy Angelique Villaraza Dominici
Back in high school we had a class called Baby Care, where we learned how to swaddle a pretend baby doll. It was fun, like origami.
The real thing is far from that easy experience. Stumbling through new motherhood, lack of sleep can wipe away all the steps of folding, tucking in and soothing a wailing infant. I found myself trembling from fatigue in those first days, trying to recall how all those hospital nurses managed to so expertly swaddle my infant in two seconds flat.
Swaddling babies in breathable muslin is a centuries-old tradition known to soothe babies and discourage spontaneous movement during sleep.
Today, this practice is revived and made more accessible to the modern mom through the efforts of Raegan Moya-Jones. She was born and raised in Australia, but when she moved to the United States to raise her four children, she discovered that the cotton muslin swaddling blankets of her native homeland simply didn’t exist. The blankets she found were made from flannel or fleece, which can raise a baby’s body temperature.
Raegan was convinced that American mothers needed better swaddling blanket options. By improving on the conventional Aussie swaddler with stylish designs and eye-catching colors, she felt she could bring a fresh, modern perspective to the art of swaddling to the US, as well as encourage sleep safety and decrease the risk of SIDS through the multifunctional uses of breathable muslin.
Along with a business partner, Raegan introduced the first aden + anais product collection in 2006, igniting a new trend in stylish and safe swaddling blankets that has since won the approval of new parents, pediatricians, and celebrities, such as Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Sandra Bullock and Kourtney Kardashian. In 2008, she became the sole force behind the company and continues to expand and evolve the brand with innovative new products and exciting partnerships. Today, aden + anais is sold in over 20 countries worldwide.
She has not only established one of the most successful baby care companies in the world, she has also been instrumental in raising global awareness for the health and well-being of babies, including SIDS and touch deprivation. Through aden + anais’ collection of 100% breathable cotton muslin products, her highly successful book, Swaddle Love, and the not-for-profit organization, The Swaddle Love Foundation, Raegan has made the ancient act of swaddling a modern practice for new parents.
In 2009, Raegan published her first book, Swaddle Love, a candid and practical guide to the history, science and techniques of swaddling. It also chronicles her personal journey, from her role as a new mom upon the birth of her first daughter, Anais, through her role as a business entrepreneur. Helping new moms navigate through the many personal and professional challenges they face, Raegan has become an identifiable authority on parenting and a valuable resource for many women with infants.
Raegan also initiated The Swaddle Love Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide babies in the overcrowded, underfunded orphanages of developing countries with the most basic of human connections—touch. While writing Swaddle Love, Raegan’s research included the effects of “touch deprivation” in babies. She learned that holding babies and comforting them with hugging and rocking fosters a healthy parent attachment, aids with early socialization, and enhances a child’s ability to focus and learn.
During this time, she and her husband were also exploring the possibility of adoption. Through adoption materials they discovered that the conditions of many orphanages contributed to the touch deprivation of babies. They established The Swaddle Love Foundation in late 2009, in hopes of eliminating touch deprivation of babies in orphanages around the world. Foundation funds will pay for local women to work in understaffed orphanages to ensure the babies raised there are never denied the most basic of human connections, a comforting touch.
For more information on aden + anais, Swaddle Love, or The Swaddle Love Foundation, please visit: www.adenandanais.com.
If only I had this book a month before giving birth.
September 15, 2011 by Guest Writer