Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Swaddling :: One of the Best Tricks I Know

There are several products out there to help you soothe your baby when they get a little out of control and need to calm down.  Here at the Cheek house we use a baby straight jacket.  They're really hard to find here in the U.S. but are widely sold on Russian websites.  

Just kidding!

I don't really use a baby straight jacket (or shop on Russian websites).  I do however swaddle my baby so tight that you could compare it to a straight jacket.  I received the SwaddleMe for a baby gift this time around and the greatest flaw is I only have one.  Jonah will spit up on it and it will end up in the laundry basket.  Now, if I only knew how to use the SwaddleMe I'd be up a creek.  Alas, when Carter was born I learned how to swaddle the old fashioned way and used the same technic with Evan.  We use a regular square blanket and it seems to work just as well...almost better because in the middle of the night I couldn't handle the velcro on the SwaddleMe sticking to everything it came in contact with.

If you have a baby, are about to have a baby, and don't do a lot laundry like me here's a tutorial on how to swaddle your baby the old fashioned way. 

Step 1:
Find the perfect swaddling blanket.  My favorite one is a handmade blanket a past piano student gave me.  It's the perfect weight and stiffness.  When the handmade blanket is dirty, I like muslin blankets. I like to double up the muslin blankets to give extra weight to the fabric. Plus, it's harder for the baby to wiggle out of two blankets.

Step 2:
Lay your blanket out flat and fold down one corner.  Tip: If your baby falls asleep feeding like mine does make sure your blanket is already spread out and folded somewhere so it's ready to lay him down.  I like to have mine ready in the crib so I don't have to transfer him a second time.

Step 3:
Center your baby with his head just above the fold.  Make sure they are done stretching and have relaxed their arms.  Some babies like their hands down by their sides and some like them across their bellies.  It can take a few tries to find out just what your baby prefers.  Now, fold one side over his body, tucking it behind his back.  It's ok to roll them slightly to one side so you can smooth out the blanket underneath them.  They won't stay asleep with a big uncomfortable wrinkle under their back.

Step 4:
Take the bottom corner of your blanket and bring it up to his shoulder.  I like to tuck the bottom corner under Jonah's shoulder so he's less likely to unwrap himself. 

Step 5:
Take the last corner and fold it across his body and tuck under his back. Usually this is enough to keep them warm and comfy.  If it's chilly or you think your baby needs the comfort of extra weight have another blanket handy to place on top.  

You're finished and you're welcome.  This is the solution to not being able to place them on their tummies for bed time anymore. 

I tell ya, this works every time, and it was one of the most useful things I learned when Carter was a baby.   Would you believe me if I said Jonah fell right asleep after I wrapped him up?

**If you need a closer look at each step click on the picture to view a gallery of the photos from this post.**
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  1. Not to mention how adorable he looks in his little bundle!

  2. He got a little happier in each step.