Swaddle me this…

Sometime in about 2002, I began to hear rumblings of the latest craze in parenting.  All the Good Mothers, it seemed, were swaddling their babies.  “How very seventeenth century of them,” I mused, but – as I had no children – I thought little more about it. 

A couple of years later, Zachary was born.  I wanted to make sure I was one of All the Good Mothers and I eager to try out the latest trends, even if the last time this particular fad last had been popular was when Martha Jefferson had desperately searched for ways to get her six kids to sleep through the night.  (Actually, come to think of it, Martha herself probably did not get up in the night with her kids, but I’ll bet Sally Hemings practiced the fine art of swaddling.) 

A friend had given us a special blanket designed for Idiot-Proof Swaddling, which was a damned good thing because it was immediately clear to both of us that, when it came to swaddling, we were complete morons.  Whenever we tried to wrap him in a baby blanket like the nurses at the hospital had, he wiggled himself loose in about 4.8 seconds.  But, with this nifty little blanket, all we had to do was wrap Zachary up and Velcro him shut.  We marched bravely forward and began to wrap him in the little blanket.

Damn it if he still didn’t manage to get loose.  Actually, first he screamed furiously, and then he wiggled free.  If he was asleep when we put him in, he woke up, then screamed and busted out.  The kid clearly had not read the manual that explained that all babies like to be swaddled.

Benjamin, two years later, was at least not vehemently opposed to swaddling.  He sort of tolerated it for a few weeks, but we quickly realized it was getting us nowhere.  Our children were obviously Swaddle Impaired.  Or their parents were.

You would think I would have given up completely, and perhaps I would have, but one or two days after Lilah’s birth, it was evident that this baby really liked being burritoed up tight.  When the nurses swaddled her, she settled right down and slept.  I called J and told him to stop at a store and pick up a few more Idiot-Proof Swaddlers, since we had given the old ones away with all the baby stuff.

What I found when I returned home seemed hopelessly complicated.  It involved wrapping each arm separately, tucking in the legs, and then securing the baby with two distinct flaps.  I had to read the directions to figure out how to use this thing.  I was certain we were doomed to failure.

All I can say is that these are the greatest baby item we have ever owned.  Swaddled, she sleeps for several hours at a time.  Unswaddled, she wakes up wailing in a matter of minutes.  They call these things the Miracle Blankets, and I am starting to think it may not be marketing hyperbole. 

I wonder if they make them in my size.

“Babies are extra-terrestrials,” someone once told me.  “As soon as you have figured them out, they change.”  And you KNOW that, between the time I wrote this post on Friday afternoon and posted it this morning, this baby has decided that she cannot abide being swaddled.

13 responses to “Swaddle me this…

  1. We used the Miracle Blanket too! It is like putting your baby in a straightjacket. But she slept so much better with it on than off. Maybe Lilah will change her mind again about it. Babies are very capricious.

  2. So true. You never know. My kids seemed to like it for about a month each. My husband used to call them “baby burritos.”

  3. Alex hates it with a passion I didn’t know he had in him. I think it only works the first day or two, because they don’t know any better. Then the first time you leave them not swaddled for ten minutes, they know freedom and they love freedom.

    That being said, baby burritos are the cutest thing.

  4. Swaddling past the first week of life was always more hype than help for us, too.

  5. Oh well. It was a good run while it lasted, right?

    My kids actually loved the swaddle for at least a month, and as it was one of the only parenting tricks at which I was adept, that probably saved my self-esteem more than once.

  6. For swaddling my sons I stole, er, “borrowed” from the hospital before we checked out a couple of extra receiving blankets. The hospital ones, while certainly nothing to look at, were larger, more square, and thicker than anything I found to purchase. Much easier to swaddle. And the velcro wrappers work well too!

    Could she be outgrowing it already? A sign of confidence I bet!

  7. Little E _loved_ being swaddled when she was teeny tiny. And it helped her sleep so soundly.

    Although we are so glad that she has grown to be such a big baby and strong kicker, it was a little bit sad when she grew too big for the swaddling. After swaddling her snugly at night, we’d find her waking up with both arms free and a leg free. So we had to retire the miracle blanket. (If only she was sleeping as well now… but we’re working on it. Still.)

  8. Sorry about the ET business.

    All my kid wanted to do was sleep in her carseat. We’d buckle her in, snap it onto the stroller base, and make loops around the small apartment. Those were the days.

  9. my MIL made extra long blankets for MQ – knowing they would be better for swaddling our extra long baby, and so right she was

  10. Oh, dear. This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but . . . my dad used to tuck the blankets in around my WHOLE BODY when I was little. My mom would come in afterward to kiss me goodnight and she’d shake her head and tell me I was a “burrito baby.”

    The embarrassing part? To this DAY I will wrap the bedclothes around me as tight as I can (unless it’s too hot out). It still helps me sleep better. LOL

  11. Hilarious! If they come in my size, I’m interested, too! My son was never much of a swaddler, although I don’t think we have a proper equivalent over here. But anything that keeps a newborn sleeping for a few hours with consistency IS a miracle!

  12. I’m sold. I’ll buying one or three hundred.

  13. Beware the Miracle Blanket! It is a lifesaver at this age, we used one every night. But around 5 months you will begin to curse it’s name as your baby will not sleep without it, yet will be able to break free every few minutes. Cue Dr. Ferber.

    Still, it’s worth the sleep you get now.