Waking up early in the morning isn't always easy for grownups. It's a different story for babies. Most infants are eager to open their eyes because it means they get to see the world anew and explore the all-new surroundings after being cooped up in their mom's tummy for months.
Such is the case for five-month-old Kaden Patrick, who emerges from swaddled sleep with his hands reaching for the skies and a big smile. You've probably seen the now-viral video of his morning routine set to pop music. His energy is so contagious it could make you consider skipping your morning coffee.
According to his YouTube page description, Kaden "starts every day like a well-rested basketball player coming off the bench." If you haven't seen it, watch:
News website InspireMore uploaded the video on its Facebook page, and it has been viewed 48 million times as of this writing and shared close to 650,000 times. The post has garnered more than 734 reactions and more than 191,000 shares.
While the short video entertained many, some individuals fired up the Facebook comments and assumed that Kaden's parents were subjecting him to a practice that's uncomfortable or would even stunt his growth. Kaden's dad, Kent Siri, addressed the comments (repeating it on Kaden's Facebook page as well) to explain why he and his wife, Tar DiDomenico, chose to swaddle their son.
"Kaden LOVES being swaddled. It provides him comfort and security when he sleeps," Kent wrote in a Facebook post. The dad stressed that "swaddling is still very much a pediatrician-recommended method for soothing babies when they sleep," which some healthcare professionals supported on the comments section as well. "So long as the baby is not rolling over himself/herself, it's completely safe," he added.
Kent also explained that Kaden has a strong startle reflex, or Moro reflex, which causes him to jolt a lot at night and wake himself up. The Moro reflex causes infants to arch their backs automatically, extend their arms and legs, and sometimes cry out when they hear a sudden noise or sense a sudden movement while they are asleep. It’s a sign of healthy brain development in babies, and they tend to outgrow it between three to six months.
There are two options to manage a baby’s high startle reflex: keep the baby close to the body as you lay him down on his back to sleep or swaddling. "Since we started swaddling him, he sleeps much better, and he loves it," Kent wrote. He assured everyone that he and his wife did the research and have consulted caregivers to ensure "that we're making the right choices for him based on his own unique development."
Dr. Miko Palo, pediatrician and former columnist in Smart Parenting magazine, agrees. "Some babies tend to sleep better when they are swaddled and not awakened by their randomly jerking limbs, a reflex that babies have a few months of life," she told SmartParenting.com.ph. Most experts advise stopping swaddling as soon as the baby starts to tip or roll to his side, which could be as early as two months or later. It’s different for every child.
Studies that have linked swaddling to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) have also been disproven. A review of studies conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that the increased risk was due to the babies sleeping position -- when they are placed on their side or their stomach as opposed to on their backs -- rather than swaddling.
In the video, before Kaden gets out of the swaddle, he looks snug and comfy in his wearable blanket. Wearable blankets are specially designed to help baby sleep better without using a loose sheet that could pose a danger when it accidentally covers their face while asleep.