Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Lost Art of Swaddling

We can't go anywhere (ok, we don't really go anywhere, but when we do. . .) without someone pointing out how tightly Stella is swaddled. I like my babies swaddled, and I like them swaddled tight. Don't get me started on the benefits of swaddling new babies. I could go on and on.

Here's how I do it:

I learned my basic technique from my favorite newborn how-to book, "The Happiest Baby on the Block" by Dr. Harvey Karp. It's definitely a must-read for all new parents.

To start, you must choose a blanket. I prefer one made from cotton jersey (t-shirt fabric). It is lightweight and stretchy. My favorite swaddling blanket for Stella is just a piece of fabric that I cut into a square (Squares work much better than rectangles. I use the width of the fabric squared.). It is hard to find a ready-made blanket that is big enough.

1. Put the blanket on a flat surface. Fold down the top point so that it touches the middle of the blanket. Put the baby on the blanket so that her neck lies on the top edge.


2. Hold her right arm straight at her side. Bring the blanket down (very tightly) over her straightened arm and secure under her back (It should look like half of a V-neck sweater).
3. Hold the blanket against her left hip with your left hand and pull the blanket next to her right side very very snug. This gets rid of any slack and makes sure it is tight enough on her right side.


4. Bring up the bottom point and fold under at her chest.


5. Now straighten her left arm against her side and bring the left side of the blanket down just a little bit (to complete the V-neck sweater). Hold it there.


6. Now grab the last of the free blanket very tightly and wrap it straight across her middle (like a belt), under her back and around to the front where it can be tucked. Make sure there is no slack and the blanket is as tight as it can be.


7. Ta-da! A very secure burrito baby.


A few swaddling tips:
*Don't let the blanket touch the baby's cheek. That can set off the rooting reflex. Keep the top of the blanket like a V-neck sweater on the baby's chest.
*I like a lightweight blanket so the baby doesn't get too warm. If I am going outside when it is cold, I layer blankets over the swaddle.

(Sorry that the pictures are kind of blurry. It is hard to swaddle a baby and take pictures of yourself doing it.)

47 comments:

  1. i loved every single steph, from 1 to 7, but especially that first smile. she's so adorable. :)

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  2. that is really cute. we do that at the hospital with all the little babies. but my kids didn't like it at all, they would work so hard to get there little arms out. oh well. love those eyes.

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  3. i meant steP, but i do love you too, steph, even if there were more than one of you. :)

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  4. Stella makes the cutest faces. People always commented about Sophie's swaddles too, but swaddling is definitely the way to go.

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  5. Stella is too darn cute!

    My daughter loved being swaddled. The tighter she was swaddled the happier she was. It's crazy because no matter how hard I tried or practice I never could do a good swaddle...My husband, on the other hand, was made for swaddling. I had to make him come home from work on breaks sometimes just so he could swaddle her. I dreaded having to change her diaper because I couldn't change it without undoing her swaddle again.
    We made it through tho

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  6. Very cute. She looked like she had something important to say about Step 4.

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  7. I love to swaddle my babies. I am so glad I am not the only one. It just seems to make them so happy.

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  8. i cannot lie - i've even used duct tape to keep a swaddle on at night. (on the blanket, people, not the baby!) babies love swaddles, and i love dr. karp's method. but i did eventually figure out that you just have to buy fabric to get them large enough to stay closed when baby gets big. also, a piece of elastic with velcro helps hold them tight.

    p.s. i'm in love with that first pic.

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  9. hooray for swaddling! great way to spread the word and she looks very delicious! mom

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  10. adorable, practical, helpful...everything we need!
    oh, and that quilt she's laying on is fabulous, too!

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  11. what a cutie! she looks very happy w/ her swaddle. :) my favorite part of the post, though, is all of her facial expressions. super cute!

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  13. Stella is so pretty... I love her beautiful eyes!

    We loved swaddling our kids... I think we even swaddled Emma until she was over 6 months old. It is so soothing for them!

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  14. Oh, what a great idea to cut out some fabric! I had a blanket that a friend gave me that was the right kid of fabric but was just a little bit too small. Wish I had thought to cut one myself. What cute baby Stella is. :)

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  15. Stella is the perfect spokesmodel! I'm gagging that you have a blog-stalker advertising on your blog.

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  16. I don't normally post or comment to any blogs. I just read this and it struck a chord with me because I've been there.
    I apologize if the post was misinterpreted in the spirit in which it was intended. Nana, consider the post deleted.

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  17. Stella's expressions are to die for!! I was giggling out loud. Finn hated being swaddled. He would squirm, and grunt, and turn red in the face until his little one-week-old arms broke free. :) He still likes a good arm flail. I can't wait to meet Stella one of these days!

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  18. Those pictures are heavenly cute. Jonah didn't think he ever wanted to be swaddled until he was, then he loved it. We love us a burrito-baby! Dr. Karp rocks, the dvd of the book is the best, I had too much to read already, though I have the book, it is nearly untouched. I took a top sheet and cut it into fourths and hemmed the frayed edges and those are my favorite swaddling blankets for bigger babies.

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  19. Keep posting Stella pictures! These are so cute- you are good at swaddling, I have a hard time keeping the blankies on, I need some of that jersey fabric next time. That quilt under her is beautiful!

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  20. I echo all the comments before me. Love it, love it, love it. I took your advice last time when you told me about Happiest Baby. You are right. Very good reading and so helpful.

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  21. You obviously hit home with this post! That book is the best... wish it didn't take me until my 3rd to find it. I also swaddled Oliver until he was 6 months old and was kind of sad when he could sleep without it (he looked so precious). My niece-in-law has found a pattern for making triangle blankets that seem to work great. Hoping to get that pattern.

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  22. what a pretty model she is!

    great info! you do it much better than the nurses at the hospital.

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  23. Each phase has Stella making darling faces, I love it. And I was happy to learn a new way than the two ways I learned to swaddle. Handy!

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  24. I am a friend of Jill's and love this post! I am not a pro swaddler, but am having a baby in May...how much fabric do you cut to make the right size for swaddling?

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  25. Hi:-) This is Seans wife Amy. Your baby is too cute! I decided to check out some of Seans cousins blogs today. Very fun! Hope to meet you all soon! By the way, I have always loved the name Stella!

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  26. i can't get enough of that first picture. i just want to kiss those cute cheeks!

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  27. Tyler was looking at old posts last night while we were in the hospital (long story... I'm fine)... and he commented that those pictures of Stella are some of the cutest baby pictures he's ever seen. What a doll!

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  28. One of our pet peeves is seeing little babies flapping in the breeze (i.e. unswaddled) Colleen taught all our girls. I'm not sure that I would have thought of duct tape, but it sure makes sense.

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  29. I love the swaddling how-to, and I don't have any babies anymore! My daughter is a swaddler. I am a swaddler by nature, but never mastered the technique to the level of art that you have achieved. I will practice on my grandkids. May you be blessed with many more newborns to swaddle in your childbearing years!

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  30. I know this is an old post, but I had to say good for you! I learned to swaddle from my mom who was a pro at babies and it saved my sanity with my first baby. The second didn't necessarily care for it, but he was so laid back it didn't matter. My cousin's wife had a baby not so long ago-- a very fussy baby and she thought I was magic b/c I could get him to stop crying and go to sleep...sister, it was the swaddling!

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  31. Hey, i totally believe in swaddling, too. And I totally agree that the cloth should not touch or rub against the cheeks of baby, i learnt from my mistake. But, may I ask - what is the size of swaddle cloth you have in this picture. I have not found the ideal size sold and the one you showed in these pictures look like the perfect size to me! Thanks and would appreciate a reply!
    Carol

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  32. What a great blog and what an ADORABLE baby!!!
    -Krystal

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  33. We have 'burritoed' all five of our kiddos and always got lots of 'comments' too....To me nothing is cuter than a little baby burrito, except for maybe a little naked baby bum...now that is cuteness at it truest!

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  34. We have 'burritoed' all five of our kiddos and always got lots of 'comments' too....To me nothing is cuter than a little baby burrito, except for maybe a little naked baby bum...now that is cuteness at it truest!

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  35. Can you name some of the benefits of swaddling and how old you can/should do it to. I have a friend who thinks its mean, and if the baby wants to wave its arms around it should - its their first. I know its good but I cannot convince them. L

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  36. Hi, I'm new to your blog, and this is the cutest post I've ever seen lol. If dh and I are blessed with a kid or two I will definitely give this a try, thanks for brightening my day!

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  37. We bought swaddle blankets at Target for our little grandson. He loves being swaddled too.

    http://amandaniel.blogspot.com/2011/01/rooted-cedar-james-talstra.html

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  38. Well, I found you from the 21 Day Challenge (I am doing it too) and stumbled across this post. Wow, the rooting reflex is something that I never realized! I am on my second baby (both swaddled often) and will be more careful about that.

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  39. I love to swaddle babies I think they look and feel so secure. My 4 month old grandson is now just a little too big to swaddle, makes me sad, they grow so fast. I am saving these instructions for the next baby, they really look like the best I've seen,thank you so much for posting them. By the way, your baby is adorable, so squishy cute!

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  40. Thank you for sharing this! I linked to this post on my blog:

    http://creativitybynecessity.blogspot.com/2012/02/make-your-own-baby-layette.html

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  41. Fantastic, all my kids were wrapped (swaddled) and they loved it, it was an instant soother. Its still big here in Australia (where I live) but a lost art in the UK (where I'm originally from) I tried to talk my sister into doing it with her baby but she wouldn't listen and now she has a two year old on her hands that doesn't sleep and doesn't know how to settle himself..

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  42. What a wonderful blog! I'm def a swaddler :) just 1 question what tipe of material do you suggest for summer(hot Africa). I want to swaddle my 4 month but I'm worried he find it to warm.

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  43. I just finished this book and it has saved our sanity as we tend to twin preemies
    Please refer this book to other parents (new or old - I'm the grannie)

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  44. OMG what a cutie. Oh wait, are talking swaddling? Sorry I got distracted.

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  45. Swaddling is not cute, but dangerous: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-24710090?ocid=socialflow_facebook_bbcnews

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  46. Lovely baby! But, http://scholar.google.gr/scholar?q=swaddling+hip+dislocation&hl=el&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ei=jXcrU9SmF4j8ygP31IBQ&ved=0CCsQgQMwAA

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