“What I Love” Wednesday – Swaddling
This week’s What I Love topic, I can safely say, we can’t live without.
Even before Ethan was born, we were introduced to the magic of swaddling by our friends Catrina and Aaron. Their daughter, Claire, was a champion sleeper from the get go due to swaddling every night.
Then we entered the NICU and they told us about the importance of making sure he was swaddled at ALL times. Since he was a preemie, this would help make up for the time he missed curled up in the womb. Until he was full term, Ethan’s arms were always swaddled bent up against him to mimic the ‘fetal position’.
Now that we are home, we continue to swaddle him every time he sleeps, except his arms are placed down and at his sides. There are several options for swaddling including the DUDU Swaddle, Miracle Blanket, SwaddleMe, and SleepSack blankets.
It seems like people commonly think babies don’t like to be swaddled, and it makes sense because when wrapped up, babies ‘flight’ against the blanket. Many times they also cry or fuss when being swaddled…you swear Ethan hates it while we are in the process. But usually once he’s nice and tightly wrapped, he becomes quiet and sleepy. Of course there are times he is still fussy and we use the rest of the “5 S’s” (read Happiest Baby on the Block for more info). The key is getting a nice, tight wrap that baby cannot get out of, because as soon as an arm breaks free, Ethan is awake. Without being swaddled Ethan sleeps for maybe 30 minutes, while when wrapped he’ll sometimes sleep for over 4 hours.
We’ve tried four swaddling options:
The DUDU Method goes like this (click image for description):
To use this method, you need a large blanket, preferably of light weight material. I couldn’t find blankets big enough, so my mom made me a few. They are just 42″ x 42″ squares that are hemmed at the edges. My mom used a light weight flannel material and they are beautiful! This method takes some practice, but Angela and Jack Rau, our parenting coaches and good friends, have been teaching us the art of this method and we are finally getting the hang of it. We usually use it during the day, because it’s tricky and doesn’t seem to go well at 3am when our brains aren’t functioning properly.
The Miracle Blanket
Another very effective swaddling blanket is the Miracle Blanket. Catrina got us one for our shower because it was Claire’s swaddle of choice, and we love it.
We call it the ‘baby straight jacket’ because that’s what it looks like! There is no breaking out of this swaddle…it is very solid. We like to use these at night because they are easy, quick, and fool proof. We also like that they are nice and cool because they are made of lightweight cotton.
We have a few of these cozy fleece swaddlers made by Summer Infant. We use very often at night too. They have two little velcro tabs and a leg pocket that makes swaddling quick and easy. They are warm, very soft, and we use them in the middle of the night/early morning when Ethan is conked out and we don’t want to disturb him too much. There is no leg lifting or serious tucking with these blankets, so you can get them on without making him mad.
We used these SleepSacks, made by Halo, while in the hospital. In the NICU, they are all one piece. But when you purchase them at a retail store they are in two pieces. The ‘sack’ goes around the whole body and has holes for the arms…like a vest. Then there is a separate piece that can be used around the arms and shoulders to swaddle. They come in fleece as well as a cooler cotton. The NICU sent us home with one of each. After using them for 6.5 weeks, we got home and thought these would be our wrap of choice, but even the New Born size was too big. And the separate piece for the wrapping just seemed confusing…there are a bunch of velcro pieces that don’t make sense. And since we had three other, better options available, we just quit using these. I also thought these were a pain to launder because of all the velcro.
The SleepSacks are used by hospitals to promote “Back To Sleep” which is just placing your baby on their back to sleep instead of their tummy. I’m sure they are a great product and we just aren’t using them correctly, but we use what works for us!
IF, however, you find the SleepSacks work best for you, they are available at the Safety Stop at Children’s Hospital for $7, as opposed to the retail price of $19. They have the hospital logo on them, but it’s cute! And you save $12.