Confession: I didn’t know much about swaddling babies until I had one. I saw the swaddles in the baby store that were pre-made with Velcro and designs & registered for a few. I knew babies liked to be swaddled for warmth & security & I also knew that loose blankets weren’t an option because of SIDS. I didn’t put much thought into it – I just figured that they were something everyone put on the registry.
Then Harrison was born and the first time I held him, he was wrapped like a baby burrito in the generic hospital baby blanket with a little cap & squinty eyes. Later that day, the nurse showed us how to swaddle him with a blanket, no Velcro or snaps needed. We practiced & practiced & eventually got it right. But my little boy had reflux & wanted to be held constantly & was born in cold weather. So we modified the swaddle a bit to fit his needs. We used mostly flannel blankets (but for the next baby, I’m splurging on muslin!).
First step is to do the basic swaddle with a flannel or muslin blanket. Make sure it’s good & tight. Then take a thicker blanket & fold it in half. Wrap it snug around baby’s middle & legs. Make sure it is super-snug. I don’t know why it worked for Harry, but my guess is that it a) kept him warmer & b) the snug fit created the illusion that he was being held. Maybe it even helped calm his reflux by creating pressure on his belly? I don’t know, but he would instantly calm much easier when he was swaddled this way.
Another swaddling tip? The Double Swaddle. Do the basic swaddle with a thinner blanket. Then do a second swaddle with a heavier, warmer blanket. I am partial to those big fluffy ones sold in Target. That, of course, is completely up to your comfort level. We only used this with naps but we also were not worried about SIDS. But it was awesome on those cold winter days when he was just a few weeks old.
Did you improvise with the swaddle at all?