Getting a present is great – and there’s no better gift than having a new child placed into your arms. Most gifts are lovingly wrapped before presented. One smart thing you can do for your baby is to wrap them up with love… and a swaddling blanket! Babies love the closeness and warmth of the womb… then they burst into our world of light, sound, freedom to move their arms, and feel drafts and breezes. It’s all so overwhelming for their fresh senses. Swaddling does so many smart things for your baby:
- Keeps them warm without the danger of blankets in the crib or bassinet
- Protects them from scratching their faces with their little nails
- Keeps them from “startling” themselves awake with arm movements that they can’t control just yet
- Gives them the snug and comforting feeling they were used to in the womb
- Helps them avoid restless movement while they are nursing
- Has a calming effect on an upset baby
- Helps them sleep longer (of vital importance to me if you remember my last post on the difficulties of “sleep training“!)
My little guy was a Houdini in the hospital receiving blankets, and I found he was an even better escape artist once we got home and tried swaddling with our smaller receiving blankets – nothing worked! He would fight and cry and struggle when I tried to swaddle him. I gave up for a few weeks. Then I read more about the benefits of swaddling, and decided to try again. This time, I used some nifty products that were helpful.
First, I remembered the strategies from watching The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Karp – he discusses the benfits of swaddling and the other “S’s” in great detail. It was an amazing video when you see him calm screaming babies in seconds!
The SwaddleMe from Kiddopotamus (see photo above) was a tremendous help because it’s a convenient sack with flaps that fold over the babies arms and Velcro shut. I found that while he still struggled a bit at first, after a few times in the SwaddleMe, he started to get used to it and it actually became a cue for him to settle down and go to sleep – as a side benefit, nap times are not the long drawn out affair they used to be! The Velcro closures and pocket pouch for his feet really made the swaddling work for my baby, because now he didn’t come “unwrapped” all the time! I also tried out the Halo Sleep Sack which had a similar effect; the Sleep Sack has a swaddling Velcro wrap with a separate “wearable blanket” underneath. Both swaddlers were extremely effective at getting my little guy safely bundled; I ended up going out and buying a larger sized swaddler when he outgrew them because I didn’t want to give up swaddling just yet (or the peace and quiet of a long nap time!).
Before, when I wasn’t swaddling my LO, he would only nap for about 20-40 minutes at a time, and very fitfully – it was exhausting running up and down stairs to put the pacifier back in while trying to do the laundry! Now that I have been swaddling him regularly for nap times and bed time, he naps from 1-3 hours and has been consistently sleeping 7+ hours at night! It’s truly a wonderful thing! 🙂
So – take those little gifts from God and their ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes and treat them like the lovely present they are – wrap them up snug and safe in a swaddle!
Enjoy each moment!
Do you know of any other swaddling benefits or products or have a success (or failure) story about swaddling to share?
PS: This post previously appeared on my short-lived SmartBaby101 WordPress blog before I decided to stick with Blogger, so… maybe you’ve seen it before… if not, just ignore me! 🙂
DISCLOSURE: So far, no company has given me ANY compensation for mentioning their product in this blog entry.