Swaddling, Babywearing & Other Newborn Stuff

Swaddling, Babywearing & Other Newborn Stuff

I don’t think I fall into a category or type of parent. I’ve read the *whispers* Gina Ford books recently (well 2 of them) and the rest of the time I wing it.
I have done aspects from all over – I’ve co-slept with Shy, worn her in a carrier for about a year (but I can’t stand wrap slings as I just find them impossible), I have tried the 7 minute crying method, I have also let her fall asleep on me. Depending on her mood, my mood and the situation I do what feels right for us.
Only this year have I enforced a routine which has already changed twice to suit our needs – this was because she was waking up in the night constantly for months, and staying awake for hours. We were all exhausted, moody and TRMan & I were at our wits end. In the last few weeks, I’ve completely cut out her daytime nap which I can admit is not easy at times and downright hard work at others BUT she now sleeps through the night MOST nights and we are all getting a better nights sleep and waking up in happier moods.

This post is about a few things that I have heard mentioned since being pregnant again, the choices and options available and what I will be doing myself. It isn’t a manual or a rule book. It’s just me giving my opinion combined with any necessary facts. There are many things I have done or allowed that are frowned upon somewhere and not advised. I’m not telling anyone to go against that advise – I just did what worked best for Shy and myself.

Swaddling, options & how to:
When Shy was newborn, I swaddled her. Not with anything made specifically for swaddling but with her blanket. It lasted for a few weeks until she decided she wanted to sleep on her side and then on her front (note: not advised). I like swaddling. For anyone not comfortable with baby sleeping on them (something else I also did and don’t regret) swaddling is a great way for baby to feel secure and safe; a similar feeling to being in the womb still.
There are many options for swaddling including blankets called swaddle wraps, swaddle shells & extra large muslins made ideally for lightweight swaddling. Aside from the specifics, you can use a normal blanket if you know what you’re doing and it works just as well (in my case but I did have my mum to show me what to do). Each of the specific swaddle items have their own ways to help swaddling:
Swaddle wraps are made in a specific shape to help you swaddle in about 4 simple steps.
Swaddle shells have a zip on the front, take 2 steps to use and are my favourite choice for Baby L this time, although I am not keen on the zip.
Large muslins are really like using a blanket to swaddle, but are really lightweight like any other muslin which some people prefer.

There is a lot of information about swaddling – some negative and some positive. It’s up to each person to make their own informed choice. If it is something you are interested in, I’m providing this NCT link on information about swaddling and how to do it. I think you can find most of the information you need to know there.

Baby carriers, wraps and slings:
Baby wearing is a term I only learnt after having Shy. To me, it was just putting a baby in a carrier because it’s sometimes easier than taking the pushchair out etc. I went on to learn some people “wear” their babies around the home etc to get things done. A lot of baby’s like to be carried around this way as it keeps them close to their parents, providing comfort and lots of skin to skin contact.

Two different carriers; Two different ages

Since having Shy, I’ve learnt that the carrier I used wasn’t good for her hips although we had no issues because of it. I will be using a carrier again with Baby L but know now that the best carrier’s will come underneath to near enough babies knee’s, providing more support and keeping baby in a better position. There are quite a few options to choose from for me personally, but have found they all cost over £100. My personal favourites are the Stokke MyCarrier, the Manduca carrier and the ErgoBaby carrier.

I can’t provide much information on wraps or slings as I haven’t had much experience with either. I do have one stretchy wrap carrier which I got quite late on with Shy and I found it to be the hardest, most frustrating thing I ever tried to do. I believe it would probably be a lot better with a small baby but I just don’t think it’s worth the hassle.
Again, I don’t know much about slings except there are many choices and I like the look of ring slings if I was to use one.

I love the Babywearing UK website as it’s informative and laid-back. Take a look for information and resources on babywearing, plus pictures of all of the above mentioned ways to babywear.

Other things I’ve learnt in the last 3 years:

  • We won’t be using a cot bumper this time around as I’ve learnt they can be very dangerous and it also drove me mad last time to be honest. Here’s a link for more information on safe cot sleeping via NCT.
  • We will be co-sleeping and using a moses basket with Baby L as I did with Shy. For more information on co-sleeping, I found these links from BabyCentre & Mumsnet useful. Once again, please try to remember that what works for one baby or person doesn’t work for everyone.
  • We are still deciding on 2 different brands of bottle for formula feeding. After a very failed attempt at breast feeding Shy and the problems it caused for a few weeks afterwards, I’m 98% certain I will be formula feeding Baby L from the get go. I toyed with the idea of giving the first feed from breast and then going onto formula, but I don’t want to encourage my milk production so will be speaking to my midwife about this at the next midwife appointment in a few weeks.

TRMan has been really open to ideas and suggestions and we generally agree on pretty much everything. He’s very accommodating to not just what is best for baby, but what is best for me as well which I really love and appreciate.

I hope this post has provided some information and insight into just a small selection of the many choices to be made when it comes to babies and parenting. Feel free to comment if I missed anything out or you have any information available about anything mentioned!