Swaddling: a love-hate relationship

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Swaddling and the three of us have a love-hate relationship.

Rewind to Alexis birth:

I was so happy that our girl seemed completely content in a swaddle at first. I loved being able to make a perfect burrito baby and enjoyed using the organic muslin swaddles from Bambino Land.

A few weeks later, she got strong and would start breaking out of her swaddles. Even Bambino Land that has less give than A&A swaddles would eventually give in under the determination of a baby who suddenly decided she hates being swaddled. It was the perfect time to try the Miracle Blanket we had laying around, waiting to be used.   I know when I was pregnant I read about this swaddle on a million blogs I was reading so it was obvious to me that I should try it. It’s not called Miracle Blanket for nothing. It swaddles tightly and is super hard to break out of. I actually don’t remember a single occassion where she was able to even pull her arm out of it.

It’s really one of those things that you buy and use until you’re done swaddling. There are no sizes, no confusion- just one swaddle.

It came even more handy when nights got chilly, because it’s made out of warm thicker cotton. It’s not organic, unfortunately, and they don’t offer one, so we always made sure that she had clothes on under it.

The concept of this swaddle is pretty easy. It has two little wings that get wrapped around your baby’s arms to keep them down. Then the shorter outer wing gets wrapped around one side, and then the longer wings goes around and under the baby. This was the easiest most unintrusive way to swaddle for us at that point. Alexis would hate being swaddle when she is awake, so we had to be super stealth about it and only swaddle her once she was deeply asleep and hope and pray that we wouldn’t wake her up. You can read about the blanket  in detail here.

She slept like that for a while until one day she just wouldn’t have it. Swaddling was for babies and Alexis CLEARLY was old enough to sleep with her arms splayed across the bed. So we went with it. And it lasted a few weeks with her sleeping better than while swaddled.

Then all of a sudden, amidst the 4 months wakeful period sleep struggles that showed their ugly head a month too early, her Moro reflex ( or something else that makes her twitch and wake herself up) came back and she started waking herself up by throwing her arms in the air. So came back the trusty Miracle Blanket and we were back to loving being swaddled.

I am telling you: sometimes I feel that babies change their preferences just to send us, their parents, for a loop.

Now at 5 months, we moved onto something else when it comes to our precious baby girl’s sleep, but that’s another story for another day. And for now, the Miracle Blanket sits neatly in the drawer marked “For Future Baby”, because I know we’ll need it if that time comes.


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Disclosure: I was NOT compensated for this post. Miracle Blanket provided me with a product sample to try out. All opinions are 100% my own.

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  • Reply
    Elena C.
    July 1, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    Awww, she’s so tiny and precious on that top pic on the pink pillow 🙂

    • Reply
      July 1, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      Your posts are very timely for me bc I’m often going through the same things. A couple of days ago, my daughter started rolling over from back to belly. I know this means I should not be using the Miracle Blanket any longer but she will not sleep without it. All she does is scream. She can be completely asleep for 20 minutes and wake up to realize she is not in it and it’s back to screaming. Any advice? She is 3 months old.

      • Reply
        Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
        July 1, 2012 at 2:28 PM

        Ok, this is totally my opinion, simply what I would do. I have no idea how safe it is. Try switching to Modswads (i’ll be writing a review on them next week), keeping her in the crib and constantly watching her during sleep (monitor)- that’s during naps. A modswad would give her MUCH more flexibility with her hands than a traditional swaddle, so if she does roll over, she won’t be completely immobile, the crib will provide a hard surface that is hard to suffocate on and the monitor is for obvious reasons. That being said, if your problem is nights, I’m not sure what to do. You can do the above trick until you go to bed too ( unzip the swaddle before you go to sleep) and by then hopefully she’ll be too deeply asleep to wake up from not being swaddled.

      • Reply
        July 1, 2012 at 2:39 PM

        I used something called the zipadee-zip blanket to transition out if the miracle blanket- worked like a charm!! But Elena i love how u say you marked the miracle blanket as “for future baby”- i did the sam ething….i LOVED that blanket!! And they look so cute in the burrito wrap look!! I recommend it to every friend who is excpecting.

      • Reply
        Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
        July 1, 2012 at 2:40 PM

        Also, in case you haven’t tried this- put her in a blanket bag (like the one from swaddle designs or halo), she might need just a bit of confinement to feel secure, even if it’s not her arms. Though from experience with Alexis, “just a little bit” never cuts it. 😀 lol

  • Reply
    July 1, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    My (now) 6 year old HATED the swaddle. He would fight it (at 3 days old) and get himself free and instantly fall asleep with his arms out. I decided to not fight that battle and just went with the sleep sack. My daughter (20mos) was never swaddled because the hospital told me not to (something about breathing restriction) so I never did with her either….

    And yes, Elena…You hit the nail on the head with the “they change their preferences to throw us for a loop” because its absolutely true. It (unfortunatly) gets worse as they get older….one day they will eat something and the very next day they will hate it….2 weeks later, they love it, the next day? hate it. Socks? sure…love the socks….the next day, meltdown because we hate socks. Ponytails? yup…Auntie can put in ponytails but YOU cant…..(sticky point in my life now….she wont let ME put in ponytails but she will sit there contently and let my sister put them in)

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      July 1, 2012 at 8:26 PM

      I’m learning that. Not to get too excited when I think something is working! My husband always says:”Oh don’t get your hopes up! You know our Lexi” 🙂

  • Reply
    July 1, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    I loved the Miracle Blanket. It was totally amazing. Then, at around five months, my son started breaking out of it. So we fashioned a make-do miracle blanket out of two gauze A+A blankets- you fold one like a traditional swaddle blanket, with one corner down, then the other you fold into a long strip. You place the long strip blanket at the top and wrap it under the baby’s arms, like the wings on the miracle blanket. Then you swaddle the baby up tightly in the other blanket. I am not sure if this is making sense, but I’m sure that if you look at a miracle blanket, you can figure it out. You might like this option, b/c then you could use your organic gauze blankets since the Miracle Blanket does not have an organic option.

    We swaddled our son until he was nearly 7 months and we used to joke that we would do it till he turned 18- then he flipped himself over onto his belly totally swaddled one morning. He had been rolling back-to-belly for awhile, but we thought that since he couldn’t use his arms while swaddled, we were safe. Not so! So then we had to teach him to sleep unswaddled. This went surprisingly well- we were totally unwilling to do CIO, so we expected this to take many months, but it was actually less than a week. I can’t really take credit for this- I swear that some babies are born good sleepers, others just aren’t. Parents who have good sleeping babies write sleep advice books, parents who don’t desperately buy them. He’s now taking 2 2 hour naps in the day and sleeping 12 hours straight through the night just in his crib wearing footie jammies, nothing else.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      July 1, 2012 at 8:22 PM

      “Parents who have good sleeping babies write sleep advice books, parents who don’t desperately buy them. ”
      OMFG, too funny!

      I find sleeping books in our case to be mostly bull. I see how the suggestions can work for some babies, but the books just don’t know Lexi 🙂
      That being said, I did take a few tips from Pantley and it made a bit of difference. Not as much as she promises but enough, since nothing else worked.

    • Reply
      Angie Menegay
      October 13, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      How did you “teach” your son to sleep unswaddled and not using CIO? My daughter is 6 months old and she’s outgrowing the swing. She also won’t sleep unswaddled and she can roll back to tummy. My husband wants to train her to sleep in her crib with CIO and I just don’t have the heart for it, but I have no other options :-(.

      • Reply
        Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
        October 13, 2013 at 5:21 PM

        While you’re waiting for Taryn to answer, there are PLENTY of gentle options that don’t involve CIO.

        Check out Jay Gordon or Elizabeth pantley methods.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    Yup, I tried the sleep sacks and the zipadee with no luck. I will look into what you mentioned. Thanks!

  • Reply
    July 1, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    This makes me smile because I remember the swaddle on/swaddle off time all too well (my daughter is now 2). She had a very strong moro reflex, and mild reflux when she was born, combine that with nursing every 2 hrs ’round the clock, we were all zombies. So I tried swaddling. First with a receiving blanket – which she broke out of by the second night. Then with the Miracle blanket – which she hated because her arms were pinned in. We found our sweet spot with the Woombie – a stretchy swaddle with a double zipper (!) for easy diaper changes. It was organic, and and came in different strengths. She was in one for naps and bedtime until she rolled over at 4 months. Then we went to a sleep sack, but continued to swaddle in the early AM to by a few more hrs of sleep:). Good luck with your girl – she is an absolute doll!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      July 1, 2012 at 8:19 PM

      That’s exactly what we ended up doing, but instead of a Woombie we use Modswad which is the same company and swaddle but made out of organic bamboo. It works the best!

  • Reply
    July 1, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    I’ve entered for this amazing looking swaddler, but I’m hear to say that I love this blog! I love the giveaways, and all the updates! I’ve mentioned you on a blog post, and even added you to “My Pregnancy Pages” page on my blog, the highest of honors I know haha. Anyway, thanks for this great blog. Fingers crossed on winning!

  • Reply
    July 2, 2012 at 6:56 AM

    So cute! But are you aware that it is recommended that you don’t cover your baby’s head when they are sleeping indoors? They are not able to cool themselves down with a hat on. Overheating has been implicated in SIDS cases and hats also present a suffocation risk for a baby if it slips off. Maybe you have just put it on for the photos but it might be worth noting this in case people don’t realise the risks.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      July 2, 2012 at 7:08 AM

      Thanks Jen!

      We would only put a hat on when she was little after a bath, since our house can be cold with the air conditioning. Since newborns loose most their heat through their heads, it was important. This was for naps only.

  • Reply
    Buttercup Baby Store
    July 2, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Your blog is great with so much useful infos for new moms. Congrats on your new baby and being a mom! Alexis looks beautiful in her miracle blanket and that pink pillow! Check out our page as we may have many more baby products you may like!

    • Reply
      July 3, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      Just checked out Modswad – one of the babies is a friend of a friends kiddo!! So funny! At any rate – the Woombie design was the best for us – swaddled without totally constricting her arms AND it was so easy to get her in and out of of. She loved it! Will most definitely buy some newborn sizes when we think about #2!!!!

  • Reply
    December 4, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    Love your blog…recent discovery and going through old posts. Out of curiosity, what is the pink pillow, Lexi is laying on in this post’s pics. Is it a Boppy pillow?

  • Reply
    June 10, 2015 at 6:05 PM

    My little one was fighting the swaddle and waking up a lot, so I had to stop swaddling him. I switched to a swaddle transition blanket called Zipadee-Zip and that worked great. I recommend it.

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