We knew very little about swaddling before Leighton. She roomed in with us at the hospital, and we never sent her to the nursery. Occasionally, a nurse would come in and wrap her up in what looked like a flannel Ace bandage. There was my pride and joy - a sleeping cremini mushroom with a scrunched little face.
Leighton, by design, is not a particularly colicky baby. In fact, I imagine that Dr. Weissbluth (of Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child fame) would say she is four parts easy baby and one part fuss. Still, for her first eight weeks on this planet, her "flail reflex" kept her from sleeping peacefully without intervention. (It still disrupts her on occasion). Early on, a friend gave us a video called The Happiest Baby on the Block that illustrates how to wrap your kid like a burrito and then shush, shimmy and swing the little peanut to sleep. It looks easy enough, but the whole deal doesn't work without a proper swaddling blanket.
Child experts frighten new parents out of their minds about SIDS - and I'm not saying it isn't a legitimate concern - I'm simply eluding to the fact that my fear of SIDS escalated to a fear of blankets in general. We had cozy cotton blankets from Gymboree and Tea Collection and a thousand of those fleecy blankets that you get for "congrats on your new baby" type gifts. These were all too thick and scary and sweaty for me. Plus, none of these, regardless of quality, could hold a swaddle. The inexpensive flannel rectangles would work if they were actually big enough to wrap around my baby. Bummer.
In the video, Dr. Karp made it look so simple. I was inspired to test his methodology. I perused countless websites and couldn't seem to find thin, soft blankets large enough to swaddle Leighton. During my pregnancy, I had squirreled away a huge list of links for products - nuggets that interested me. I went back to that well, remembering that there was a blanket website that had caught my eye initially because it looked fancy and took a hit on "organic".
Since we stopped wrapping Leighton up at night, we have used them as crib sheet savers, burp cloths, pacifier holder-inners, sun shades ... you name it. Spitty on it - throw it in the hamper. Pee on it - throw it in the hamper. And, you just toss another one in it's place. Honestly, these are a few of my favorite things.
Leighton nutches on Soothies and has trouble keeping them in as she dozes off. I was accustomed to running over and plugging it back in every few minutes. Now, I wad up one of these blankets and prop the Soothie in. She can breathe right through the blanket if it moves, so I don't worry about smothering her either.
Aden and Anais blankets get softer and more wonderful as you use them. I don't think any parent should be without a stash of these fab finds. In fact, we have eight and I would like four more because Leighton is becoming quite a little drooler.
One recommendation I have is to choose either pastel designs or just plain white. The more design on the blanket, the stiffer it will be to start out. And, much of the joy is derived from the sheer softness. When I put Leighton down for a nap or for bed, she always has one of these swaddlers in her grip. "Get cozy" I tell her as tickle her face with a corner and tuck her in.
Our standard shower gift for first time parents (Yes - we have a "standard gift" that our freinds have come to expect) is a four pack of Aden and Anais blankets, The Happiest Baby on the Block and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. We have yet to disappoint - especially with the blankets.
This product review conforms to the Fuss Formula.