I thought I was a pretty good swaddler. “Tighter,” I would admonish people who tried to help me. “Make it really tight, or they’ll wiggle out!” Both of my kids have some pretty serious flailing arms, and don’t sleep at all well unless we swaddle the crap out of them. But they’re getting bigger and stronger, now. And for many nights in a row, Daniel in particular would wake himself up either in the attempt to get an arm free, or by whacking himself in the face with said free arm. Not cool.
Moms of twins to the rescue.
So, I’m at my MOT Support Group meeting a few weeks ago, and an awesome woman with two-year-olds hears that I’m having swaddling issues. I’m not ready to give it up, says I, but they have defeated even my best swaddle. Two napkins and a corkscrew later, she had demonstrated my new favorite trick. I think she learned it back in the day from a nighttime nanny service she hired a few times.
I’m telling you, this was a life-saver. I really do think it helps my kids sleep for longer stretches, because it isn’t getting loose and tempting them to wiggle those arms free. It kind of feels like a straightjacket, but I can’t argue with results. In fact, I will keep doing it as long as I can. I fear the (rapidly approaching) end of my swaddling days. But that’s another post for another day.
Without further ado, I give you the UBER-SWADDLE, demonstrated with the help of my lovely assistant, Rebecca.
1. This requires two blankets. I use a large waffle-knit blanket (which had been my main swaddling blanket of choice, anyways) and a regular flannel receiving blanket. Fold down one corner of the waffle blanket, and fold the flannel blanket in whatever manner you like to make it a nice, long rectangle. Lay out the blankets thusly:
2. Position beloved baby with neck/shoulder along the top edge of the waffle blanket. Top edge of flannel blanket should be right at the armpits. Feel free to take a break and smooch baby cheeks, toes, or the like.
3. Take the left side of the flannel blanket and thread between baby’s arm and belly.
4. Take same side of blanket and fold around the arm and tuck under baby’s back. Flannel blanket needs to be long enough that, after this maneuver, it probably reaches almost to the right arm. Baby should be lying on top of the blanket tail to help hold it in place.
5. Repeat with right side. The two tails of the flannel blanket will overlap underneath baby’s back.
6. Now, swaddle as you wish with the waffle (outer) blanket. I take the left side first, bring around and tuck under baby’s back/butt.
7. Bring up the bottom corner to the right shoulder.
8. Bring the right corner around, and pull nice and snug. Smooch swaddled baby.