Some times the experts do know best.
We studied up a lot on the best childcare techniques and theories before Gem was born. One of the things we kept coming across over and over again was the 5 Ss – 5 soothing techniques that when used in combination should help to calm a stressed out baby.
The basic concept behind these techniques is duplicating the environment in the womb to make baby feel safe
- Swinging – motion
- Shushing sounds – soothing sounds
- Side or Stomach – for holding, not for sleeping
- Sucking – pacifier or bottle or breastfeeding
We dutifully went through the steps when Gem was fussy, and swaddled her every night when putting her to bed. All of the steps seemed to make her feel better except swaddling. Swaddling made her mad. Since the purpose of these steps was to relieve her stress, we thought why keep this up? So we stopped swaddling.
There was no major fallout from excluding that step, but I stressed a bit on colder nights. I couldn’t think of a good way to keep her warm since loose blankets in the crib are a no-no.
Then a couple weeks ago we went to a reunion from our childbirth class to meet everyone’s babies, and touch base on how we were all doing. We got to talking about the 5 Ss and how helpful they are, and I mentioned how Gem really hates to be swaddled.
“Our’s does too,” replied one of the dads, “but we swaddle her up every night anyways, and she sleeps like a rock.”
So I thought I’d give it another try. She started screaming while I was wrapping her up. I wrapped her anyways, and told myself I’d step away where she can’t see me and let her go for 5 minutes; then I would reassess what to do next. She was passed out in less than 2 minutes. Now that we’ve been doing this for a while, she doesn’t even fuss every time I wrap her up – and she doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night as often either.
One of the things about swaddling a baby who is bigger than newborn, is that the receiving blankets are completely worthless. The receiving blankets are much to small to swaddle a baby over 12 pounds.
Grandma to the rescue.
My mom went to the fabric store and picked out several different patterns of flannel. The bolts are roughly 3 feet wide, mom had them just cut the length to match the width so they were square. Then she did a quick hem around the edges.
These blankets are pretty much all we use anymore. The little receiving blankets make great burp cloths, but to snuggle up with baby, we use the big flannels. They have been a life saver.
Wrap her up like a burrito, and my baby sleeps like a Gem.
One year ago: The Great Tree
Three years ago: Little Highlander