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Monday, December 28, 2009

Swaddling Your Newborn

When my second son, Sean, was born, I was already well aware that one newborn essential was a good swaddling blanket. Little did I know that it would be a lifesaver.

Sean’s first two weeks were spent sleeping all hours. Then, like a light switch at the 2 week mark, the screaming began. It was all too familiar to us and we knew right away what was wrong. Like my first son, Ian, Sean has a milk protein allergy. I immediately eliminated all dairy from my diet, but unfortunately it takes 2 weeks to entirely work its way from my system and another 2 weeks to get out of his. In the mean time, we were left to deal with a baby that could not be comforted in any way, except to be swaddled.

Not only did Sean spend his naps and night swaddled, for those 2-3 weeks that he was still working the dairy out of his system, he spend the majority of his waking hours swaddled as well. It made him feel warm and secure and minimized the amount he cried.

Most people won’t have to use swaddling for such an extreme situation, but it’s nice to know just how effective it really is.

There are three main benefits to swaddling your baby.

  1. Babies sleep longer- Because baby is used to being curled up tight and warm in the womb, swaddling mimics this feeling and allows them to relax and feel more secure. Also, babies are born with a Moro reflex that can cause them to startle themselves awake. Being wrapped tightly minimizes that built-in reflex.
  2. Fewer scratches- When baby is born, they will likely have long, papery nails that can have sharp edges. Because their movements are jerky and uncontrolled, they will likely scratch their face. Swaddling keeps those arms and hands in nice and tight, preventing those not-so-pretty scratches.
  3. Less crying- As previously mentioned, babies have a built-in startle reflex. The flailing of their arms and legs can scare them, causing them to cry. By keeping their arms and legs tightly wrapped, less crying results!

Our favorite swaddling blanket for Sean was the Snug & Tug. It’s a blanket made specifically for swaddling that features a large pouch that your baby can’t kick out of, and velcro closure to ensure that no amount of wiggling can undo the swaddle. The blanket comes in two sizes and 6 colors. We found that we needed to have at least 2 of these so that there was always a clean one. We did NOT want to have to go a night without one!

Some other fabulous swaddling blankets that we have at Nicki’s are the Aden & Anais muslin wraps and the Moby swaddling blanket. The Aden & Anais blankets come in a 2-pack or a 4-pack. They are super soft, lightweight (yet nice and warm!) and come in a variety of colorful patterns. They are very generously sized and can therefore be used for many other things, such a play blanket on the floor, a burp cloth, or a cover while nursing.

The Moby swaddling blankets are made of stretchy, 100% cotton in a variety of colors. They have plenty of fabric to get a nice, tight swaddle. Each blanket comes with a matching hat for your newborn and a matching drawstring storage bag.

Here is my poor little Sean at a play date with Corey’s daughter, Gretchen. What a difference the swaddle made!

~Annie

6 comments:

Jessica said...

I had heard about the benefits of swaddling and wanted to try it out on my son when he was born (he's a year old now). But after about a week he started kicking out of the swaddle, lol. I don't know how he did it... it's not like it was loose, but he really did not want to be swaddled.

Stassja said...

I have to second the Moby Swaddling blanket, it is fantastic! I received it as a gift when my son was 4 weeks old and thought "Man, I need another baby blanket like a hole in the head", especially since we had two of the velcro style swaddlers. Well as it turns out we didn't nickname him Squirmy for nothing, the kid gets out of EVERYTHING. The Moby blanket is super soft, warm but not fleecy hot, and big enough to get a good wrap as your child grows. We swaddle for feeding, naps, and most importantly night time.

To a PP, I think they all try to get out of it, and meet with varying success, you just might have to get creative with your technique or swaddle tighter. As long as they can squirm enough to get out, it's too loose to really calm them. At least in my humble experience :)

Beccalynn said...

Precious photos! I have to say I just bought one of those things today and my daughter is sleeping soundly and contentedly in it this very moment. AWESOME stuff!!!

Sheila said...

My almost-seven-week-old still loves to be swaddled, and I only do it at night. She sleeps so soundly like that. In fact, the FEW times she has gotten an arm free, she's awake right away and begins thrashing. :) Thought about investing in a Moby, but got the Aden & Anais. Not as keen on them - they're a little big right now, and not much stretch. But, I did make a swaddle blanket out of cotton jersey knit, and we love it.

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