I’d better share my swaddling tips before I completely forget what it’s like to have a newborn:
- Find a big blanket. Most receiving blankets will work for the first month or two, and then your baby will go through a growth spurt and you’ll realize that he’s busting out of the swaddle because there’s not enough blanket to let you make the swaddle tight enough. I have friends who’ve found big blankets elsewhere, but the only one that I could find was at Babystyle.
- Experiment with the top fold. We found that making a deep fold that was off-center toward the left was the best way to ensure a long tail for wrapping. But your swaddling technique might be different, so keep trying something new until you find a fold that really works for you.
- In the same vein, Experiment with baby’s position. I used to put my babies a little lower on the blanket and then do a half-fold across the body in order to really get their arms into the swaddle.
- Consider leaving baby’s legs unswaddled. It’s usually arm-waving that startles baby awake, so when Alex and Tyler grew in length, we stopped pulling the blanket up. We didn’t have a lot of blanket to work with anyway, after the deep fold at the top.
- Make it tight. This was a little scary at first, but watching The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD helped a lot. The tighter the swaddle, the better baby will sleep.
- Keep at it. A couple of weeks after Alex was born, we gave up on swaddling and were perfectly miserable from lack of sleep (all of us). But only a short time later, my friend Marilyn convinced me to give it another try and Alex finally slept like, well, a baby. That is, not for long, but he actually slept. Which was a huge improvement.
Don’t forget to utilize the other S’s from the Happiest Baby on the Block: side or stomach position, shushing, sucking, shaking (jiggling, really). These techniques will soothe any baby if done right, and they’re especially great for dad to master since he can’t just latch baby onto breast.