Did you learn to swaddle your baby from the nurses in the hospital? I had never even changed a diaper before my son was born. I had definitely never wrapped an infant in a receiving blanket.
My son was born by c-section after a grueling 32 hour labor, nearly a two day delivery! My wife had absorbed all the natural birth beforehand. As we went through our pregnancy week by week, we spent our evenings in natural childbirth classes, we had a birth plan, and a Doula. We were going to be natural parents and set our child on the path for healthy living. We had even booked the preeminent natural birth friendly Ob-Gyn in Nevada. My wife actually had a birthing tub in the hospital room. Our natural birth friendly hospital provided this for a mere $600, in cash, up front. We were a natural birth task force.
Things have a way of not going as you expect. When we arrived in the recovery room, my wife could not get up or do much, and there was my baby boy, needing care. The nurses were very helpful, they taught me two swaddle patterns. I bet every first time father in America learns to swaddle with same blanket. That thick white receiving blanket, with blue and red lines. That blanket is not absorbent the way you'd like it to be, and it is not soft. That standard issue hospital swaddle blanket is also not big enough for most babies. Somehow the nurses can do it, but I struggled.
I liked the square top swaddle wrap with both baby's arm inside, that way the baby can touch their own body. This aids in self-soothing and helps baby sleep.
I have noticed in recent years many people seem to favor what I have always called the diamond swaddling technique. When you wrap your newborn baby this way you fold one arm inside, the other (usually the left arm) between the layers of the receiving blanket. This gives the baby leverage to pull the swaddle unwrapped, and prevents self-soothing. Helping your baby to soothe themselves from the start can set you up for fewer sleep problems later. Those sleep regressions are no joke!
Our first little one was born 9 lb 8 oz, and he was an active infant, even on the first day. The hospital told us that, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, any loose blanket in the crib was a SIDs (sudden infant death syndrome) risk. Loose blankets or stuffed animals in the crib could slip over babies face, and cover their mouth or nose. They also taught us to use a snug swaddle to control the Moro (startle) reflex. The Moro reflex is what causes your baby to jerk themselves awake, flailing arms and legs. The problem was that every time I swaddled my baby he would wiggle or push against it, and it came unwrapped. The whole point of an infant swaddle is to control the Moro reflex without putting a loose blanket in the crib. What they often don't tell you in the hospital (but they should) is if you swaddle incorrectly it can cause dysplasia of the hip. They also often forget to tell people not to swaddle wrap their newborn baby if they are in a car seat. I tried to follow the nurses instruction step by step but it was really tough! Ever try to make a baby follow directions?
When the swaddle blanket came unwrapped at first I thought I needed a larger one. We had those big muslin "Aden and Anais" swaddles with us that day. I find muslin to be a little too rough for babies skin, but it is the classic swaddle and often available in swaddle sets. Also I found all that extra material to be well more, it came loose anyway which increases the risk.
When we got home we dug through baby shower gifts. We found a "Miracle Blanket" and a "SwaddleME". I could not figure out how to use the "Miracle Blanket", despite hours watching YouTube videos. It is some sort of complex blanket wrap but I did not get it. The "SwaddleMe" almost worked. Our son woke himself by flailing his legs, the sleep sacks in general do nothing for that. Also, he barely fit, it was way too small. To solve the fit problem we went to the store and bought 4 or 5 "Halo" brand sleep sacks, one every two weeks or so. Buy Buy Baby sold at that time for $49.99 each. We never tried the Woombie, or the "Love to Dream Swaddle Up Original”, or any of the others.
I felt it was a scam, why couldn't it adjust, baby items should be adjustable! An easy to use baby wrap should last from the start of baby swaddling to when you stop swaddling, it should go from birth to blanket. Why can't a sleep sack do the hip dysplasia safe legs up frog position like a traditional swaddle blanket, in addition to the legs down hip safe position? How hard could it be to make something versatile like that. It is not like baby personalization like that increases risk. Especially large babies, baby boys and baby girls, often need a womb like sleep position.
I will tell you exactly how hard: It took me two years, 11 prototypes, and a second child, our beautiful baby girl to test our final version. I did all that work to end up with the simplest looking invention ever. The AdaptiFIT is unique, the outer material is soft touch, but it adheres to velcro. The inside is soft natural cotton. Cotton wicks sweat away from babies sensitive skin. Cotton also breathes, to keep babies comfortable. I wanted it to accommodate the baby and the parent, to adjust to different needs. You can swaddle any baby any way you want. If your baby likes tight, loose, arms in, arms out, arms up, arms down, you can do it. If your baby likes legs up, legs down, legs out for cooling, you can do it. The AdaptiFIT relieves the anxiety of swaddling because it holds onto itself as you go. You can stop at anytime and it stays put. Because it self-sticks your baby will soothe instantly. It does not come unwrapped if you move the baby, or carry them around, and it does not come unwrapped is baby wiggles. It never becomes a SIDs risk, it cannot slip over your babies face. As your baby grows you can transition from using a swaddle pattern to get your baby to sleep to using the AdaptiFIT as a wearable blanket. I was even able to make it available in cute prints!
I know there are many options these days for how to swaddle your baby, and there is also no shortage of advice, all the way from Happiest Baby to The Journal of Pediatrics, but I know from hard-won experience and a peacefully sleeping daughter of my own that if you try ours you will get your baby to sleep more easily, get more sleep, and have a happier baby.
I learned to swaddle, change diapers, and feed a baby in the hospital after my wife's emergency c-section. We tried to do a natural child birth but things often don't go the way you want. Traditional swaddle blankets come unwrapped and swaddle sacks are not adjustable enough, so I invented a better way.