Our number one recommendation to new mamas and dads is swaddle, swaddle, swaddle!
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One thing we were not informed of when we took Aiden home was that he should be constantly swaddled — like all the time! I’m not sure why we didn’t put two and two together because that is how he was at the hospital, but we didn’t. The day after we took Aiden home we left him unswaddled and we paid the price that night. He did not stop crying from 4pm-1am. Once we swaddled him and did the 5 s’s from Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby on the Block he stopped immediately and we were able to calm him to sleep.
It turns out there is a fourth trimester (the first three months after they are born). During this time it will benefit you to make his life as womb-like as possible including keeping him swaddled for most of the day.
However, Aiden is a strong little baby and an escape artist. It seems that the fussier the baby the more need for them to be swaddled. So, we had a month long search for the perfect swaddle. We went through many versions and some would work one day but not another, but eventually we found a routine that seems to work.
We have used the Woombie exclusively at night since Aiden came home. The Woombie is like a sleeping bag for baby. It works great at night because there is has a zipper and a snap so there is no way Aiden can escape it by getting his hands out from the top. It is also very form fitting so the startle reflex doesn’t bother him, but he can still move his hands up by his face which he likes.
If your baby really likes to have his/her hands up by his/her face there is also the Swaddle UP which might work well for your baby.
We used the Miracle Blanket during the day during the first month. This was great because it uses the baby’s weight to keep his hands by his sides. We didn’t use it as much in month two when Aiden was a little bigger because he was able to get his feet out of the pouch and it would wake him up. In reading the reviews this seems to be a common complaint.
Another technique we used before the Miracle Blanket was the Houdini Swaddle, which is a method of swaddling that can be done with any swaddling blankets you have. It is similar to the Miracle Blanket where it uses the weight of the baby to hold down its arms by its sides. This method worked most of the time, but eventually Aiden figured out how to get his arms up by his chest and then could break out.
We didn’t love Swaddleme in the first month because Aiden was able to get his hands out of the bottom of the Velcro and it would end up looking like a cape (see picture above) and we were worried it might strangle him when he slept. He would also still wake up with the startle reflex because his arms were out. In month two we tried it again and it fits much better. He seems much happier and his hands don’t come out of the bottom. Moral of the story? This is a great option for a larger baby!
We love the Zipadee Zip (check out this post). It is meant to be a transitional swaddle, but we have used it a lot in the first couple of months. We usually put it on him when we take him out in his car seat or if we go to visit friends/family. His arms are free and there is enough fabric at the bottom that we can separate his legs to buckle him in the car seat.
We also plan to use it at bedtime when it is time to transition him from the swaddle.
What is your favorite swaddle?