So I was thinking as I swaddled my 5 month old son tonight about how every baby has a different relationship with swaddling. I remember when I was pregnant reading mothering.com and seeing women concerned that they were still swaddling their 10, 11, 12 month olds. Most other mothers assured them that they had been there and done that with no ill effects (what could be an ill effect of swaddling?) and then lots of other mothers said their babies didn't want to be swaddled after the first week or two. Just goes to show you how there really is no mold for babies. Considering what a wide range of normal there is for babies its amazing how many books are sold, maybe it has something to do with how worried we mothers are about our babies being 'normal' or at least in that wide wide range. I worry way too much.
Anyhow, back to swaddling - when I was in the hospital after birth the nurses swaddled Q up so tight. I remember this one nurse, she was a tiny black woman with long dreads who was full of energy and told us lots of stories about her 6! kids and WOW could she swaddle. I almost felt like I had to loosen it when she left. She also handled Q in such a confident way that B and I felt envious of and watched her hands move around with him trying to take note of how to hold him gently and confidently at the same time. This other nurse though... I don't remember much about her except for the fact that she swaddled Q with his arms folded up and his hands peeking out the top of the hospital blanket. She informed us that this was the new way to swaddle and that folding a babies arms to their sides was not actually as developmentally appropriate. She told us about the benefits of swaddling (comfort, security, stop crying!) and that it reminded them of the womb with it's tight squeeze, but I remember her saying that their arms were up in the womb and we needed to recreate that with the swaddle. That makes good sense to me, but she was the only one that did it and honestly, we never even tried to recreate that.
Q didn't mind swaddling in general, those first few weeks he really liked his legs folded up tight to his body (he really doesn't like this now though) and swaddling him was the best way to do that. He was born in february so it also kept him nice and warm. As it got warmer and he opened up to the world (4-5 weeks) we just sort of naturally stopped swaddling him. Around 3 months he discovered his arms and more specifically how to wave his arms. He's very into the arm waving still and coupled with hand sucking and eye poking its easy to imagine that it's not very conducive to sleep. It was also around 3 months that we started establishing a rhythm to his naps and have him nap on his own (swing, pack n play, bed). It occurred to us to start swaddling him again and it worked wonders for him (and us). He started sleeping much longer, much sounder and getting there much faster. We started off with swaddling him with only one arm in and one arm out but over the next couple weeks we learned that it worked so much better with both arms in. I've recently experimented with leaving him out of it but he doesn't last 5 minutes. I find it so strange that we've gone from swaddling to months of unswaddle and now we're all very dependent on swaddling. I think I'm destined to be one of those moms who is swaddling her 11 month old.
I'm definitely the type of mom that likes to give everything a try, in fact, I think I'm just that kind of person. I think it's fun to try the silly new fangled baby devices (although I won't invest money in them usually) and I love the tried and true baby gear as well. While swaddling sounds like a tried and true type thing, there are actually a lot of different swaddling blankets and even books on it! This is all a long and roundabout way of sharing some of the swaddling blankets we've tried and sharing what we thought of them.
the hospital swaddling blanket - it looks tiny to me now! I can't believe he ever fit in that thing. It's strange to me now that a swaddling blanket would be rectangular and not square. I think we used it for a day after we got home and then switched to ones we had bought.
the flannel receiving blankets they sell at target, wal-mart, babiesrus, etc... - pretty much the same as the hospital ones except they're not all broken in (which is nice). Pretty pointless for swaddling blankets in my opinion, but they are nice to have around to roll up to prop up a newborns head or other uses. Also, you can use them in a myriad of cloth diapering situations.
the kiddopatumus swaddleme really seems rather ingenius. It is adjustable and has soft velcro to really keep them tight (and very well trapped). It also has a little pouch to stick their feet in that velcros together with everything else. ours was a gift that I got after he was already well over a month old so I didn't use it in the beginning. I did try it when he was 3 months old or so and it was okay... nothing special though - It was nice that it velcroed but it didn't actually seem to keep him in any better than anything else. I think the ultimate reason we stopped using it was because he didn't like his feet closed up all that much and we had other ones we liked a lot more.
the all hailed miracle blanket is not what I would consider a 'miracle' but it is pretty nice, and pricey! I picked one up on a whim the week before Q was born. I had heard so much about them and felt like I wanted to see what the fuss was about. The first time I tried it, I hated it. It has this crazy long tail on it that you have to wrap and wrap around them - what kind of joke is that? How do you wrap and wrap it around them without help or rolling them over or twisting yourself all around? Anyhow, we set it to the side for a long, long time. But then I picked it back up a month or so ago and gave it another shot and I'm please to announce that I'm a convert. I'm definitely not one of those crazy devotee people who take them as a gift to every baby shower but I am happy that I purchased it. It has a little pouch for the feet (which Q actually doesn't mind) and then two little flaps for the arms and then two big flaps that wrap around with one very very long tail that secures everything. Sounds confusing? here's a visual
ok, that woman makes that last part look easy but I swear it's not. Hmmm, maybe I should have watched that video a while ago.
and now my favorite......
ahhh. The aden + anais muslin wraps. I can't say enough good things about these. Ok, I have one bad thing to say - they're pricey! Not as much per blanket as the miracle blanket by far but still a lot to pay for just a pack of blankets. I'm glad I got them though, and I'd get them again, I'm already thinking about ordering another pack because I sent ours to my beautiful new nephew (and I'm trying to justify getting more to my husband). We used 24/7 during the first month (with a warm blanket outside) and then we've used them for sun shades and to play peekaboo with since then. It's the perfect size for swaddling and the perfect weight, the prints are cute, the warmth is perfect and they are soft and durable (a hard combo to find). We use them every night and for every nap, I actually just got one of their sleep sacks in the hopes of weaning Q from the swaddle but he likes both at the same time so far.
I pretty much just wanted to write this blog to declare my love for aden + anais, but I felt I had to qualify my declaration by sharing our swaddling journey and the variety of things we've tried. That and the house is quiet with both boys asleep at 9pm on a saturday night and what's a mom to do but write rambling blog posts about swaddling blankets? I used to be cool right?