Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Burrito Babies

I have a ton of friends who are either pregnant or are have just had babies.  I think the next several posts will be on all things baby.  This one is about swaddling.  Ever heard of it?  Know what it is?  Know why babies like it?

Swaddling means "to bind (an infant, esp. a newborn infant) with long, narrow strips of cloth to prevent free movement; wrap tightly with clothes." (from http://www.dictionary.com/)

Babies just came from a very snug and cozy environment where there wasn't a lot of room to move around.  When they are born they don't have control of their muscles so they arms and legs tend to flail around.  This can make sleeping very difficult.  Swaddling an infant comforts them and makes it easier for them to sleep.  It helped all 4 of mine anyway.

There are a few different ways you can swaddle the baby.  This is what worked best for us.  Once they get older you can swaddle with the arms out.  Some of mine liked this and some of them didn't.  You can swaddle a baby until they don't like it anymore.  A friend of mine swaddled her baby until she was almost 8 months old.  She wouldn't sleep unless she was wrapped up tight.

1.  You will need a blanket.  I always used a receiving blanket.  It works best if it is square.  If the blanket you are going to use is not square, just fold one edge down until it is.  If your baby outgrows this blanket, just use a bigger one.
2.  Fold the top corner down about 1/3 of the way.  This is where your baby's head will be.
3.  Put your baby onto the blanket.  Make sure they are changed and fed before you swaddle them or you will have to undo them in a few minutes.  (sorry about the naked baby doll.  None of my kids are little enough to swaddle anymore and I couldn't find her clothes.)
4.  Fold either side over the baby and tuck the edge under the baby.  This will keep it secure.
5.  Take the bottom corner and fold it up.  If it is too long and will cover the baby's face, just fold it down a little bit.
6.  Take the other side and fold it over the baby.  Wrap it around and under the baby.
And that is how you do it.  Now you know why we call them "burrito babies".  :)

You can also buy swaddling blankets.  I have never used one, but I have several friends that have used and loved them.  As far as I know, they all work pretty much the same.  Here is an example.

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