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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Baby Burritos

How to swaddle your baby - a demonstration

No, this is not about the new Anne Geddes calendar. This is about how to swaddle your baby so that you don't walk into the room 25 minutes into his nap to find him smiling and waving at you, or kicking around in the crib with his swaddle blanket up around his neck.

Baby T has quite a history with the swaddle. When he was first born, he was content to lay in his little cocoon, wrapped up all nice and tight. He was so tiny, the hospital blanket went around and around, tucked in front... perfect. About a week after we brought him home, we thought it might be a little too hot to swaddle him, so he was free. For about a week. He was a gassy kid. He was constantly drawing up his legs while he slept, and it would wake him up. I decided that maybe he didn't need his arms swaddled, but I would certainly wrap that blanket tight around his legs. During this time, our main form of amusement was watching his moro reflex as he fell asleep and threw his arms out wide over and over again.  Then we decided it was about time we actually got some sleep. Goodbye late night laugh fest, hello Taco Bell. We wrapped up our baby like a little burrito and we were all able to get some sleep.

Until about a month later, when Baby T began to get bigger and stronger. The hospital blanket didn't wrap all the way around him anymore, and I certainly couldn't tuck it in the front. He was so squirmy that his weight didn't hold the end down in the back, and he was constantly wriggling free. Off to the Amazon to get myself some bigger swaddle blankets. (, that is.) I ordered a pack of Aden and Anais muslin blankets, which are 3? 4? feet square. That was the ticket. For about another month.

Then, we would walk into the room when Baby T was supposed to be sleeping, and he'd be smiling and waving. Or hitting himself incessantly in the face. Or flailing all 4 limbs while his face was covered by the entire 16 square feet of the blanket. It was time for more drastic measures.

We tried the swaddle method in The Happiest Baby on the Block, but that totally didn't work for us. Plus, Baby T was getting longer, so we couldn't really wrap up the end of the swaddle blanket anymore. A friend told me about her Super Straitjacket Swaddle method, and it totally clicked with me. One of the older nurses in the hospital had used 2 hospital blankets to do something similar. This method is obviously tried and true. The best thing about it is you can finally put your receiving blankets to good use, since they were too small for anything but a burp cloth once your baby hit 10 pounds. There were VERY few times that Baby T managed to get himself out of this one. In fact, once he started rolling over, he would do it in the swaddle, and then get stuck facedown, unable to move his arms, and unable to roll back over. (This was when we stopped swaddling at night). But little Mr. NoNap still needs to be swaddled at naptime. He is quite the active little fellow, so these swaddling methods are invaluable to us now.

Here's a demonstration of the Super Straitjacket Swaddle:

Big T was not a fan of the Super Straitjacket Swaddle, though. He thought it was mean. But he was an expert swaddler, so he had his own method. I could not figure out how he did it. I would watch him carefully each time and try to replicate his method, failing miserably. Then I finally figured out what was different. On the first pass under the body, Big T was picking up Baby T's legs and passing the blanket underneath. I was picking up his upper body, because I thought picking up his legs looked like it would put strain on his neck. Apparently this made all the difference. Don't ask me why. I am now an expert swaddler as well.

Here is a demonstration of Big T's Super Swaddle:


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