After 40 weeks of waiting, the day finally arrives. For your hours of pushing (or lying on the table having the little freeloader removed) you are rewarded with a tiny squawking bundle. Indeed, the new arrival is so perfectly wrapped that you feel like you are holding a present, or maybe a small, warm loaf of bread, fresh from the oven. You will gaze lovingly at the little loaf, memorizing every detail of their skin, their smell, the little hairs on that tiny head… when in FACT you should be memorizing the exact way that kid has been wrapped, because you will NEVER get it that perfectly again.
Swaddling a baby is a carefully choreographed dance of skill and style. It takes superhuman dexterity to hold down kicking limbs and then origami-fold a blanket to replicate the cramped quarters of your uterus.
You will try, confounded by 2 square feet of fabric and 8 pounds of baby.
You will wrap successfully only to see one small hand wriggle its way up and out within minutes… and if your kids are anything like mine, that hand immediately takes out the pacifier and then proceeds to scratch eyes and soft baby skin with newborn talons.
Fear not, for you are not alone in your distress. Swaddling has been confounding first time parents for years and I must admit that it took having a second before I even became moderately good at it. I remember with my first, “swaddling” him, only to have him bust out within minutes and startle himself awake. I remember sleepless nights, crying because I couldn’t figure out why my little Houdini couldn’t just STAY IN THE DAMN SWADDLE ALREADY.
It wasn’t until my sister-in-law really showed me, that I realized swaddling isn’t for the faint of heart. I watched, heart clanging in my chest as she wrapped him, one wing of the blanket and then the other, pausing to put one hand on him and PUUUUUUULLLLLL that blanket impossibly tight. I thought, it’s too tight! He’ll hate it and be scarred for life and I’ll be paying therapy bills for years and OMGAWDMAHBABY! *faint*
The only thing he did was fall blissfully and completely asleep.
Parents, these kids may be small and floppy but they are tough. Your precious cherub needs the snug, warm cocoon of that swaddle to feel secure. So stop being such a pansy and get in there and swaddle that kid. Pull it tight, tuck it in. Use velcro, wings, zippers, whatever floats your boat. But trust me… if you ever want to get sleep again? Swaddle that kid while there is still time. Because in 5 months when they start rolling over and the swaddle is history? You’re going to want those hours of sleep back that you could have had.
So my story is only ONE CHAPTER of a longer book! (Super Cool, right?) In fact, it’s Chapter 9 in the MAM Blogger Real Parenting Guide, an awesome e-book about how eye opening parenting can really be. The REAL Joys of Pregnancy? Projectile poop? It’s all there!!
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