Chapter 9: Swaddling :: The Baby Straight Jacket + a Giveaway!

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. Straight jacket

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.

Not to scare you or anything. Swaddle Fail - StraightJacket Of course then there are those kids that HATE the swaddle. And for you? All I can offer is my sympathy. Good Luck!



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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  1. Sarah Petersen says

    I was informed by my husband that I kept saying “I’m an idiot” (during transition, I’m pretty sure, though we weren’t quite clued in about that then). There was a lot more going on in my head at the time; I’d opted to deliver naturally, and was thinking about an acquaintance we’d just heard from who had had her baby the day before and had gotten an epidural, slept all night and woke up to push, etc. So I was thinking about how most people go that route, and maybe I was kind of dumb for wanting to go natural. Apparently that translated to chanting “I’m an idiot.”

    For what it’s worth, #2 is due in a week and a half (and I suspect she’s coming sooner) and I’m planning to go naturally again, so other than transition, I was happy with my choice. We’ll see what kind of crazy stuff I say this time, though.

    • says

      Sarah that’s AWESOME. And no, you weren’t an idiot. I did it both ways and to be honest? They were both physically and emotionally hard, but obviously in different ways. The second time was I dropping a LOT of F Bombs though. Good thing she came quickly!

      • Sarah Petersen says

        Oh, I don’t actually think I was an idiot! But I do think it’s hilarious that that’s how my brain apparently distilled all the stuff I was thinking about and experiencing at that moment. The funniest thing is that I have absolutely NO recollection of actually saying that, just of the more complicated thoughts in my head.

  2. amy pugmire says

    My hubby was trying to comfort me during a contraction and I screamed at him and told him to never touch me again!

  3. Lindsey D. says

    My first labor was 43 hours and I was starving. My husband made a covert trip to the vending machine but made the mistake of coming back in with the smell of Starburst on his breath. I told him if I smelled food again I would karate chop him in the throat.

    • says

      Yeah, Brian wanted to go get dinner while I was in transition. I took everything I had not to staple his, AHEMS, to the chair. Good thing he didn’t leave though, because my daughter was born like 30 minutes later!

  4. Jessie C. says

    I am sure lots of swear and alien language came out from me at that moment. One thing I remember saying was yelling hubby to stop coaching me breathing.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  5. says

    I can’t remember much of what I said during labor- but I was shocked when I thought it was a girl and they announced it was a boy! :)

    chambanachik at gmail dot com

  6. Tamar says

    I went into labor 6 weeks early, so it wasn’t funny but was totally me, the workaholic, who said “I am leaving the hospital, I am going back to work until the baby is ready.” (I stayed and he came out the next day)

    actually, for my second, I told jokes the WHOLE time with my doctor and the staff about anything and everything. Wish I remembered what I said. That was a fun night :)

    • says

      Oh my gosh Tamar – a) I can’t believe you went back to work!! You are a savage :-) And your second time sounds a lot like mine!! Until the contractions started to really hurt… then I yelled a lot and dropped a ton of F bombs :-)

  7. Wild Orchid says

    The funniest thing wasn’t so much what I said, but when my water broke at the hospital in front of my husband, I was laughing so hard at his facial expression and fluid just kept coming harder each time I laughed. I guess you had to be there!

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  8. Debra Ford says

    My girlfriend told me she fired her husband during delivery as her coach….he was not being helpful. I thought that was so funny

  9. D SCHMIDT says

    The funniest thing I said during labor is that I had just remembered the yogurts I had in the fridge were about to expire and I needed to go home to collect them.

    • says

      Um, post labor, when the kidlet was being weighed,bathed etc, my comment was “hide the beer”, because my hubby had brought me a beer to enjoy afterwards :-) The first beer in 9 months and it tasted like HEAVEN.

  10. Scott Martin says

    My wife said, “Get this doctor out of here. He doesn’t know what he is doing!” He has been her OBGYN for years and delivered our first baby.

  11. says

    The funniest thing my friend said to her hubby during labor was, “It’s all your fault! And no No more babies!” It was their first child and they were planning to have 4 before she went to labor!

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  12. meredith says

    You hear a lot of funny things working in the hospital on labor deck – best was ” its like a hurricane” in reference to labor

  13. joni says

    I was so upset that they were going to have to do an emergency c-section, I said the “f” word and I never never swear. My hubby was so embarrassed, but we laugh about it now.

  14. Shannon says

    I didn’t say anything funny but I looked pretty funny…I was a hot mess walking those hallways and I couldn’t have cared less!

  15. Stephanie Larison says

    I was induced with my daughter and I was lying there in the hospital bed when I heard a huge pop sound from inside. It scared the hell out of me, and I jumped to sit up in the bed and said to the nurse in there “oh my god, either you just opened a pop, or I just popped”. She started laughing and came over, sure enough it was me. :)

  16. tina reynolds says

    During my first I was asking for other ways to get the baby out that didn’t hurt like new procedures :)

  17. Betty C says

    When the nurse asked me to time my contractions I told her I couldn’t stay awake long enough to time anything. I had been given meds to help me sleep through the early labor but it went much faster than the doctor expected.

  18. Erica Best says

    a friend said When midwife was examining me, internally, she said my baby had a lot of hair. I responded by asking ‘Really? What colour is it?’

  19. Michelle S says

    Not really “funny”, but as soon as my little one came out I asked my husband if she had a lot of hair (bc I had heartburn the entire pregnancy).

  20. Tabathia B says

    Probably that I was having hot flashes, I was so hot and the nurse had to turn on the fan
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  21. gina says

    I dont remember saying anything particularly funny in labor, but when our son was born my husband cut the cord on the wrong side of the clamp and I remember jokingly telling him the baby was only here for mere seconds and he was already putting him in harms way.

  22. Ellie W says

    The only funny thing I remember saying while in labor was that I was never going through this again. And that was while I was in labor with the first of my three sons. I obviously did go through that again

  23. Kerry says

    It’s not really what I said, but what I did with the cool rag my hubby was using to “sooth” me. I didn’t want anyone touching me with all of the pain I was in. So I grabbed the rag from him and slapped him with it:)

  24. says

    While my sister was in Labor with my niece she had advanced quicker than her nurses thought she would and they were telling her to literally “hold the baby in” until the doctor got there… Right before the doctor walked in my sister was yelling “WHERE IS MY DOCTOR? I’M PUSHING AND HAVING THIS BABY WITH OR WITHOUT HER.” It cracked us all up because that is SO unlike my sister.

    • says

      That was SO me! My doctor told me to breathe through the next contraction. My daughter had other plans and pretty much SHOT out. I started yelling F words and screaming about how she was COOOOOOMING… the doctor came skidding around the curtain with his hands out like he was going to catch a football. ;-)

  25. Heidi Back says

    My first baby was a swaddler. It almost always calmed her right down!

    I was so lucky. She was the easiest baby ever, even my labor was a snap.

    I was induced at 5pm and much to my doctor’s surprise, delivered her at 7pm. He was just checking me to see if I was dilated far enough for the epidural. He was in the middle of telling me about a drug they could give me in the IV, if I wasn’t and if I really felt I needed something. I think he thought I was kind of a wuss for calling him in already. Anyhow, he’s telling me about the effects the drug might have on the baby if I chose them while he’s checking me to see if I dilated yet when all the sudden he tells my sister to grab a leg and starts shouting for nurses. Funniest thing I heard- Him yelling I need a pan, someone get me a pan, She’s coming NOW!!
    I never did get an epidural of course, I got a 600 mg Motrin.

  26. says

    I don’t recall anything I said but my sister in law Selina grab my brother’s hand in labor and screamed: “I want your finger off so you can feel my pain”. She grabbed his hand (with his wedding ring) so hard it swelled up for days.

  27. susan smoaks says

    My friend told her husband that she hated him because he had done this to her. it was hilarious!

    susansmoaks at gmail dot com

  28. Leah Shumack says

    During labor? Nothing as I had an emergency c-section so it all went by quickly but I was told over and over that I’d have a small baby. When they pulled her out my midwife was like OMG she’s HUGE!! Was almost 9 lbs

    • says

      Isn’t it so funny how they tell you that your baby is large/small and they’re usually wrong. My second was almost a week late and they kept saying how HUUUGE I was and how HUUGE she was going to be. Ha, all 7 pounds 6 ounces of her.

  29. says

    My dad declared loudly that I was a deformed alien when I came out all pink and cone-headed and the doc had to correct him to calm down my mom who had not seen me yet! LOL

  30. Betty Dennis says

    I could always breath thru contractions and never felt that need to push. The first baby, I had back labor for awhile. Amazing what a difference it made to have my husband apply pressure to counter. And he mentioned how sore his arm was but the nurse told him to man up. I appreciated that

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