Meaning of swaddling clothes

swad'dling clothes"

Pronunciation: [key]
  1. clothes consisting of long, narrow strips of cloth for swaddling an infant.
  2. long garments for an infant.
  3. the period of infancy or immaturity, as of a person, or incipience, as of a thing: Nuclear energy is still in its swaddling clothes.
  4. rigid supervision or restriction of actions or movements, as of the immature:Also called new nations that are freeing themselves of their swaddling clothes.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.