Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mommyhood 101: Swaddling

In honor of my one year anniversary of being a mom, I thought I'd share a few posts related to mommyhood. I'm no expert on parenting in general, but I can share with you what's worked for Evs.
Products we love, tips we found helpful.
One of the best things about parenting in the age of the Internet (in my opinion) is that it's easy to get a wealth of ideas to try with your little ones. And since babies don't come with an instruction manual, that's a good thing.

Swaddling 101:

For those of you who want the quick summation of swaddling advice, skip to the bullet points at the end.

Evs loves being swaddled. LOVES IT. Some people think I'm crazy for swaddling her for so long, but she just hasn't been ready to abandon it.

We've gone through a lot of phases with Evs' swaddling.

Initially we could use almost any blanket to swaddle. Because she was a weak 6lb baby and wouldn't bust out. Here she is in a nice large muslin swaddler. We have these ones.

Then as she got bigger we moved on to velcro swaddlers, which are harder to bust out of. We were gifted two pink ones (a kiddopotamus and a swaddle me). Everly started out in pink fleece ones. They worked great, but over time she got too long and we had to buy the larger size (pictured here in green).

But she could kind of bust out of that one (because she is skinny and it was really too big width-wise, though it fit great length wise). So we ended up stripping her naked for bed so she wouldn't overheat and swaddling her in this miracle blanket swaddler. She was too long for it so we'd swaddle her with arms in the miracle blanket swaddler, but legs out. Then we'd swaddle her in the green fleece one which wasn't as tight on the arms but kept her legs happy. Phew, did you catch all that? Double swaddle. 
(or as Joe and I would say 'double swaddle all the way...starting to look like a triple swaddle'...what you haven't seen this youtube video? okay never mind, we're crazy)

Moving on...recently it got warm, too warm so we bought a knit version of the large swaddle-me, still double-swaddling. And then, amusingly, one night Everly (who is naked under her double swaddling, remember?) found the velcro on her diaper and undid it. One soaked swaddler later and the miracle blanket was abandoned and thrown in the washer.

Now Evs sleeps in a single knit swaddler and wears pajamas or a onesie underneath (to cut off her access to the velcro tabs).

This has been a great way to transition to help her wean off swaddling. As you can see in this picture (taken today) she sneaks her arms out of the bottom and finds her binky. She's still semi-restricted but can "re-bink" herself if necessary. And she's getting used to some more mobility.
Eventually we'll try what others have suggested and wean her from the swaddle by:
1. Swaddling with one arm out, then
2. Swaddling with both arms out
3. Swaddling only her legs
4,.No swaddle!
(we attempted this months ago and it was NOT time....much much crying night after night)

So in summary here's what we learned:

Quick tips:
  • Almost any blanket will work in the early days, we liked the muslin blankets for summer, but I have a friend who swears by flannel which has more friction and is harder for babies to break free of
  • Some babies hate being swaddled, but some newborns just don't know what they want. At first I thought Evs hated it, but I tried again later and noticed she really loved it---maybe fought getting in but slept more soundly in it. So I think it's a good idea to test it out a few times before deciding -- swaddling really can help a lot of babies calm down to sleep.
  • Swaddle-me type swaddlers with velcro are a great option---they come in fleece or knit, but over time the velcro wears down and doesn't hold as well
  • Miracle blanket swaddler -- this swaddler costs a bit more but you could buy it and have it be the only swaddler you ever need. It can get a snugger fit because there are no velcro sections. And Evs really can almost never bust out of it, even at 12 months.
  • Wean when the baby is ready, you cannot force a baby to ready to abandon the swaddle. Ant least not our baby.
So there you go...more swaddling advice than you ever wanted to know. Hope it helps someone.

Now just watch, our next child will hate being swaddled. That's just how it goes. cute are pictures of a sleeping baby? Love.

3 little remarks:

Andrea said...

Our baby girl is still being swaddled at 7 1/2 months with no end in sight and I am fine with that. We love the cotton SwaddleMe or Summer Infant wraps with the velcro.
How do you get photos of your baby sleeping? I am always afraid to even attempt for fear of waking her ;)

Anna said...

Andrea -- when she was tiny it was easier to get photos of her sleeping (like the first) but now that she's bigger the shutter does wake her. Both the pics here were taken when I had to go in and wake her anyway. The first we had to wake her for church so I took the camera in and snapped a few pics. So wait for those kind of situations and use the opportunity. We almost never wake her up but it's fun to take pictures those times :)

Gina said...

these are all great ideas/tips! good on you for sharing. we had the same issues weaning from swaddling and developed the Peke Moe for this purpose - which may also be useful :)
all the best!

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