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Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together. Hello, and welcome to the kids sleep show. My name is Courtney Zentz. Thank you so much for tuning in this week’s episode, we are actually chatting about swaddles. And so, when I get into the topic of swaddle, this is obviously going to be an appropriate podcast for folks with a child really under the age of one. I think from the time a child comes home, obviously, through those first 12 months, there is a lot that happens is it relates to the transition in their sleep needs habits and patterns. And certainly always want to keep that focus around safe sleep. So the first thing I want to talk about is how I as a sleep professional categorize the different swaddles. Obviously, as a newborn, we have what you know, I refer to as kind of that traditional swaddle, which we’ll dive into in a few minutes, we then talk about swaddled transition products, right? So what happens after they’re kind of moving past the initial swaddle into something where they need a little more freedom, but they’re not quite sure what position they’re comfortable in yet. And then we move on to the wearable blanket phase of the first year. So the first part we’re gonna chat about is really from a pre baby situation, right? You go to the store, and you go through your registry, and you’re just trying to figure out, you know, what things you want to put on there as it relates to swaddles because you’re unsure of what your little one is gonna like. So the first part of selecting a swaddle, I think, actually has to do with the position your little one was in in utero,
So when I talk with families about swaddles and what particular product they should be using, one of the first questions I ask is during your pregnancy, were you able to notice whether their arms were up or whether their arms were down. So sometimes you can’t tell. But in a lot of cases, you can see like, if your baby spent the entire nine months in your belly, with their hands up by their head, they are likely going to prefer that position when they come out, right, versus a child who, you know, perhaps spent the entire time with their hands squished together like a little ball, and nice and close to their heart, obviously, they’re going to prefer a little bit of a different position. So understanding the position in pregnancy, I think can be a big sort of eye opener for you as it relates to what type of swaddle your little one may actually do the best with and I’m going to talk about a couple different products. By no means do these have any particular order. They’re really just personal preference. I wanted to select a few to chat about there are certainly a lot of swaddles on the market. But one of the things that I, you know, like to kind of chat about are a few specific ones that I’ve worked with here, that I see my clients using, and that we work together to use with success. So when you come home from the hospital, typically you have that pink and white baby blanket that they give you and the nurses make the swaddling look oh, so easy, and they just snug as a bug in a rug in that little thing. Well, fast forward to two or three days after you’re home and all of a sudden, that is no longer an option. You know, babies breaking out of it. I’m not particularly a fan of having a blanket like that in the crib or bassinet, because again, if it does come loose, it can become, you know, a safe sleep hazard. So I am someone who says, Okay, we’re home from the hospital, let’s get them into a traditional swaddle. If we find that they like it. Many babies do like the swaddle, it does help them feel as though they are still in your belly tucked nice and warm. So the first thing you want to look at again, is that position. Now if your child is someone who spent, you know those times for the for the for the nine months in your belly with their hands up, I particularly fancy the love to dream swaddle. And you will notice the love to dream has the hands up, but still inside of a bit of a sack, right? So there’s that comfort, that tight tightness that closeness, however, their hands are up more so by their head. So you may find a better success with that.
a child who spent their time with their arms down closer to their heart or down kind of by their side, and you find that there’s most comfort in that for your newborn. You’re going to want to look at something more a traditional swaddle. I particularly like the halo swaddles with the Velcro, and I’ll explain really it has to do with that Velcro. Children wiggle. They move even as newborns and sometimes using things like Muslim blankets. Again, I don’t find that they’re safe. There. also tend to loosen up a bit more. And it can be agitating to a baby who really wants that tight, really sort of strong feeling of comfort and I find the Velcro swaddles work best Halo has a great Velcro swaddle, it’s what we used personally, again, there’s a lot of different models on the market. So I’m not, you know, only advocating for certain ones just kind of talking about my experience. So something with the Velcro helps to ensure that their arms are able to stay down that they’re nice and tight, and that Velcro is not moving. Now, what you may find is you’re kind of unsure, right, so you come in every morning and your little one has their hands as little bit as they can stuffed out of the swaddle, right, almost like a squirrel eating and not, that may actually be a sign that they prefer to have their hands above their head or are a bit uncomfortable with the tightness of the swaddle. So you may want to look at something like in that case, moving to a love to dream, the best thing I can do is save you some money and don’t go by 45 swaddles before they’re born, right kind of try one and see what works, because babies do have a preference and you’re going to end up spending $4,000 on 85, different swaddles till you find the right one. So I would say like encourage you to borrow some from your friends or take a peek and see, you know, kind of just buying one or two of each kind to try them. I do think the Muslim wraps are great for, you know, being out and about and having sort of a versatile option, it can act as a blanket, it can act as a swaddle, right, but when they’re in the crib, I do prefer something that is a bit more defined in space from a safe sleep standpoint. Okay, so those first few weeks of life, you’re really trying to figure out where their position is, where they are the most comfortable and obviously placing them in the crib or the bassinet on their back. Now, I do know a lot of clients have discussed or asked me how I feel about the SNU. And using that particular product. And personally, I’m not a fan of motion sleep, where you’re creating essentially a habit for a child to be straitjacketed in and then use motion to get them to call them I do agree, obviously, with the fact that motion sleep can be helpful. But I also think it can create some pretty bad habits after those first couple weeks of life. So I do say proceed with caution if you’re using that, and make sure that a child doesn’t become solely dependent upon, you know, being straitjacketed in with movement every time they fart so that that’s what they kind of get used to. Again, I’m not saying that it doesn’t work, I’m just saying it. I have seen clients where it creates a bit of a challenge right after those first couple weeks when we’re starting to work more on independent sleep skills.
So with the swaddles, you
kind of have a couple different options as well around, again, tight versus loose,
arms in or arms out, and also weighted kind of use, right, so one of the other swaddles that I like is the nested being it does have a bit of a small weight that is age appropriate based on the weight of a child. And it is meant to mimic essentially some gentle pressure on a child’s chest, right. So they’re sleeping on their back, they have a little bit of gentle pressure, and it can help much like you see, in toddlers weighted blankets can help from like a sensory standpoint, that’s also another nice option as it relates to, you know, the swaddle, so it’s another one that I do recommend, and again, arms in and arms out is something you’re going to have to play with to find what your child comfort is. Okay? The startle reflex is pretty strong for the first couple weeks of life, even through the first couple months of life, frankly. So it’s definitely something where you may find comfort in that now, not every baby is going to like or want a swaddle. Sometimes they will not have a swaddle when they’re born. But you will notice around that kind of three month transition, that that startle reflex is waking them seven times a night, right. So with that case, you may want to look at something like a swaddled transition product. So when we talk about what a swaddled transition product means is that really, they’re they’re kind of getting more freedom, they want some more mobility, and frankly, some kids are actually starting to roll this age, when you transition from a swaddle, right? I typically like that to be somewhere between eight and 12 weeks, the experts in the American Academy of Pediatrics and in studies that are done say somewhere between eight and 12 weeks is appropriate because children can actually start to roll and you don’t want them to roll with their arms swaddled inside because their necks not not as strong. And you want to make sure there’s not a hazard from a sleep space standpoint. So I typically encourage clients between eight and 12 weeks to remove that swaddle and to move into something like a transition product. My personal favorite transition products are first and foremost, the magic sleepsuit from baby Merlin, the reason that I particularly like that is one it does protect the startle reflex right? So It is breathable material, you look like the Michelin Man. But it does still protect the startling, right. So that’s the first component, the next component is actually that you have access to your fingers, which I think is great because kids like to self settle and suck on their fingers. So I am particularly a fan of the magic sleepsuit For that reason, and also it keeps a child you know, safely on their back. When they roll in that they do need to transition away to either the next size up if they’re using the small Merlin or they’ll need to move something like a wearable blanket that we’re going to talk about. The other product that I particularly like from a swaddle transition standpoint, is the zippity zip. The zippity is almost like the flying squirrel, if you will, their hands are still inside, so they don’t have access to their hands. If your child likes their pacifier, that can be a challenge because I can’t sometimes grab it on their own and you don’t want to create a habit of you having to come in to put the pacifier in. Whereas like with the Merlin, they have access from their hands to get the pacifier and put it in. Now I do see some kids in the zippity can grab the pacifier and stick it in their mouth. Again, it’s one of those things that you just want to balance, making sure the pacifier is actually not becoming a habit for you as it relates to swaddles, but
I’d like the swaddle transition to happen somewhere around kind of three months of age round 12 pounds. Typically, that’s where you’re starting to notice that startle is getting a bit stronger, but also the mobility is what they’re looking for. Right, you’re gonna find that your child spent nine months in your belly, and they were up against something right. Kids often want to wiggle themselves around in that crib or bassinet until they’re up against the side. And it’s because they like the comfort of knowing something’s back there. So I do say, you know, kind of let them be if you’re finding, they’re always in the bottom left corner of the crib or bassinet, leave them and actually throw them a bone and actually put them there when you put them down for the night because they’re going to spend 25 minutes and exert a bunch of energy trying to get there on their own. So I do like the Merlin and the zippity. For that reason, if you’re using the love to dream, they do have a transition product as well, that actually allows the arms to zip off so you can kind of slowly do one arm out, and then the next arm out, but they’re still in that wearable blanket. They’re comfortable, you know, they’re feeling nice and cozy. And so that is also a great product, one that I like around children who want a lovey in the crib from a swaddle transition product, but obviously under the age of one it’s not safe is the bit of kitteh it is b ITTAK idda. The vindicator is basically a sleepsack that also has a lovey on it the lovey is positioned properly from a safe distance to the mouth, so that there’s no hazard as it relates to sleeping with this wearable blanket wearable lovey. But it still does give your child something to kind of self settle with that is again from a safe sleep standpoint. Okay. The beautiful part about the transition from this transition type swaddle into something like a wearable blanket also means that at this point in a child’s life, right? Generally, after about six months of age, they’re figuring out their position, they’re starting to figure out if they like their belly, if they like their back, do they like their sides? You know, what does it look like as it relates to their sleep space, and also when you should transition them from something like a bassinet into a crib? If they’re not already in the crib? I do, again, see that there are different guidelines around where a child sleeps, what they sleep in. And it really it’s a personal preference. But there’s no right or wrong answer as long as the safe the sleep space is safe, right? So when you’re looking to transition to that wearable blanket, and they’re in the crib, I love the use of those for long term because actually, baby starts to climb, that wearable blanket is going to help them slide right back down that crib so that they’re not able to start jumping out and you know catapulting from a safety standpoint out of the crib. Okay, there’s a lot of different options as it relates to the swaddles that you can use, and how it all comes together. And there’s really no one right answer, okay, you have to find a product that is going to work based on your child’s personality, their sleep preference, and also ultimately, safety in mind. Right? Again, I do find that around eight weeks, it’s the appropriate time for a child to transition. And, you know, to get them in that space where they are ultimately going to be you know, the most comfortable when a child does flip on to their belly. At some point, it is appropriate to make sure that whatever product you’re using, that from a guideline standpoint is safe to be used when they’re on their belly. So for example, if a child’s flipping in the Merlin, they’re no longer able to wear that because it’s not Safe so you have to either transition to the next one or get to a wearable blanket, you know as the next phase of transitions. The whole first year is a lot of transitions, you’re going to find something that works and then ultimately baby’s going to kind of outgrow it within a couple weeks. Totally normal. You know, so use this as a foundation for the initial bring home from the hospital and what ultimately from a swaddle standpoint, is going to work best with your family. Okay, so if you have any questions I do host a weekly live q&a out in my facebook group called slumber Made Simple, and every couple weeks I’m also kicking off my savior sanity sleep boot camp. It’s a five day kind of free boot camp for all parents of all ages, newborn infant toddler and school aged children, where I dive into all the different components of sleep, the main inhibitors as to why your child isn’t sleeping, and we get down and dirty into the details of all of it. It is unlike anything you’ve ever done, especially for free I give away a ton of information, downloadable support, and really education on what’s happening with your child to ensure that we build great sleepers for life. So definitely tune into that and it’s out in my facebook group slumber Made Simple. If you are struggling with sleep, I am always here to help
and thank you so much for tuning in to this week’s episode on swaddles. Hopefully you have found it to be helpful, and encourage you to have some sweet dreams and I look forward to seeing you around. Thanks so much. Have a great day. Hold on one more thing before you go. As a valued listener of the kids sleep show, I want to help you build a great sleeper not just in the times you’re listening to the show. But all day every day. Every week of the year. I have a new Facebook group called slumber Made Simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support, laughs and the latest in sleep research to build a family that is rested and at their best day in and day out. If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community that’s tiny transitions.com forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search slumber Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.