The most important item in my baby arsenal are those that help babies sleep better. I will spend good money on these things. Now, before we start, you need to be realistic, newborns just are *not* designed to sleep long stretches in those first few weeks (if yours does, from sleepy mamas around the world, we envy you). However, you can encourage your newborn to sleep better by using swaddle blankets correctly. There are just SO many though, and believe me, I've tried almost all of them. In this post, I will break down how to swaddle your baby, what kinds of swaddles are out there, what worked for Mila, and when to transition your baby out of a swaddle.
As soon as your baby is born, the hospital usually wraps him or her up in two super soft hospital blankets. This isn’t just so your bundle of joy looks super cute this is so that your newborn baby sleeps better and more soundly. The moro reflex causes your child to stretch their arms out - and makes newborns feel like they are free falling so it really, really startles newborn babies awake. So, once swaddled nice and tight, hands to their side, baby can calm and feel secure - which in turn results in longer nighttime sleep.
HOW TO SWADDLE A BABY
If you’re like us, you promptly forget how to swaddle your newborn as soon as you get home. No fear -here’s a great tutorial that shows you step by step how to swaddle a newborn baby. Sometimes though, it’s easier to use alternative methods of swaddling other than those super long swaddle blankets.
HOW TO PICK THE BEST SWADDLE STYLE
There are so many types of swaddling devices, and when you’re desperate for newborn sleep, you might just try all of them, like I did.
It is so it’s incredibly hard to pick the best one for your baby since each baby is different - my elder daughter did not like being swaddled, by baby twoneeded it. There are organic cotton swaddle blankets, bamboo swaddle blankets, velcro swaddle blankets, zipper swaddle blankets, and so much more! It can be soo confusing!
Initially, we started using two Aden & Anais Muslin blankets and this great 3-pack of Aden & Anais cotton swaddle wraps I picked it up. I brought them to the hospital with me in my hospital bag, since I knew I’d be changing her diaper at least 10x a day and my husband was a better expert at swaddling than I did. The Swaddle Wraps were great at keeping her hands down. We used this, plus a muslin swaddle on top, for the first 3 or 4 weeks of life. The downside is they stretch like crazy. The swaddle we start the day with by the end of the day is stretched out by night - which leads to my Mila houdini’ng herself out of it. Womp womp womp! So, I was on the hunt to find the perfect swaddle blanket for my newborn baby. The below is written over the period of weeks 5 - 8 of my newborn baby’s life.
WHICH SWADDLES WORKED BEST FOR US?
Here are the swaddles that we purchased in the quest to eventually getting baby to sleep through the night:
Here are other swaddles recommended to me by my moms on Instagram - I didn't personally use them, but they swore by them. Here you go:
So, I truly believe in tightly swaddling helps babies sleep so much better and longer since it prevents the moro reflex which can startle the baby awake. Once you learn how to properly swaddle a baby, the possibilities of swaddling are endless!
WHEN DO YOU STOP SWADDLING BABY?
As your baby develops, their moro reflex diminsiehs. Be sure to speak to your doctor about transitioning baby out of the swaddle at a reasonable age - for us, by 12 weeks. We transitioned Mila to the Zipadee Zip at 11 weeks and we saw dramatic improvements in her sleep once she learned how to become accustomed to this new freedom. She began to sleep through the night (nine hours straight!) by nine weeks with the SwaddleUp. We of course also attribute her sleep toBabywise habits and self-soothing - but more on how our baby began to sleep through the night by twelve weeks later.
How is swaddling working for you? Did your kids like it? Is there a swaddle that you SWEAR by that I don’t have listed above?! Or, do you have a friend expecting a baby who needs tips on how to swaddle her baby? Please share this post - what I would have given for these options when battling newborn sleep!
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