The ancient practice of swaddling a newborn baby appears to be coming back into fashion in Britain for the first time in 50 years, according to a major retailer.
The trend of wrapping a baby in closely fitting clothing to imitate the conditions of a mother's womb has seen demand for its swaddling clothes increase by 61 percent over a year, Debenhams store said.
"We're seeing a return to traditional values," said a spokesman. "Customers who would once have dismissed practices as 'old fashioned' are now re-examining them precisely because they are old."
Records of swaddling go back as far as the Romans and ancient Greeks.
But the practice began to fall out of favour in the late 1950s with mothers being encouraged to choose loose-fitting clothes that allowed the baby to move freely, the store said.
"While modern research praising swaddling is certainly fuelling the new demand, we also believe that it may, in part, be a reaction to the recession and a desire to return to more settled times," it added.
Experts generally recognize that swaddling can comfort fretting babies and help develop more settled sleeping patterns but warn that mothers should not wrap babies too tightly.