Medical Definition of Infant in swaddling

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

Infant in swaddling: The symbol of pediatrics and child health. Also known as the della Robbia or the bambino. The infant in swaddling was chosen by the Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as its symbol in the early 1930s and has since become the international symbol of pediatrics. The design was derived from that of one of ten terra cotta sculptures done by Andrea della Robbia for the Ospedale degli Innocenti (the foundling hospital) in Florence. Della Robbia was given the commission to make these plaques in 1477. The practice at the time was to swaddle a child for about the first 3 months after birth but della Robbia's models are thought to be about 18 months old, probably because the medallions were to be viewed at a considerable height from the viewer and a larger child would be better seen than a small baby. The artist did not enclose the arms in swaddling but in all the medallions, save the one chosen by AAP, he swaffled the feet. In that one, della Robbia partially exposed half of the thigh and the legs and feet. Why della Robbia did this is unknown.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018