The Sand Man
The most difficult part about traveling with your baby on the mommy train is IF and WHEN they will sleep. Even trying to tackle the topic of baby sleep in one article is not possible. For this post we are going to discuss napping, sleeping, and breastfeeding. Specifically answering the question, "swaddle or not to swaddle?" So read on mama, and let's actually enjoy the ride.
Most every mama knows about swaddling. You take a birthing class, baby class, tell someone your expecting, or just turn on your phone while pregnant and BAM, "swaddle your baby!" But a topic seldom covered or discussed is swaddling and breastfeeding. Before we dive into that, here are the types of swaddles to consider and when to use them.
The Origami Swaddle
Swaddle is by aden + anais.
I call this the "Origami Swaddle" because it's the swaddle that everyone expects you to YouTube while pregnant and figure out immediately after birth. FYI- the hospital blankets are designed in a way that make it MUCH easier for nurses to swaddle. Do not be upset if you receive a swaddle from your registry only to feel like a failure for not instantly knowing how to tuck and fold. This brand makes super soft organic swaddle blankets that are perfect for newborns. But, my advice is to skip it all together if your baby is over 9 pounds, see below for why.
"SwaddleMe" by Summer Infant
For the love of velcro, YESSSS! Thank you for this wondrous swaddle creation. No worrying about not tucking or creating your baby origami swan correctly with these. You stick baby in, fold their arms how you and baby like to have them, and velcro across. I recommend this 100% for your sanity and the sanity of those around you. Unless of course you are just one of those mamas that can instantly do the fold like no one's business, and in that case, you go mama!
Zip Zip Swaddle
"Swaddle Up" by Love To Dream
Lastly, a zipper swaddle pairs with mom and baby like a fine wine. The "Swaddle Up" has two zippers. So you can even change your baby without taking them out of their comfy cocoon. This is a lifesaver for those middle of the night changes.
All in all, I don't have a HUGE preference. My second baby was 9 pounds at birth so the origami swaddle was not ideal, but we still used a couple blankets the first few weeks after birth.
Boobies & Blankets
So the main point of this article is regarding breastfeeding and swaddles. There are not a lot of tips to new moms regarding the topic so we wanted to cover more about it. There is no harm in swaddling your baby and then breastfeeding. The topic comes up due to a couple of factors. The first point brought up is about diaper changes and feedings. What worked for me was to change my sons and then feed. But that is not necessarily how all moms do it. If your baby is a fast pooper, it's probably best to change them after a feeding. But if they are not, then I suggest a diaper change prior to whipping out the boob.
Next point mentioned is regarding free flowing hands and legs. This point really depends on your baby's age and also how they like things. Some babies truly enjoy being swaddled more than others. The best advice is to try a couple different swaddles and keep the packaging and receipts. I am ALL for trying baby products and exchanging depending on what works for your baby. The biggest benefit to the "Swaddle UP" is in regards to the "Self Soothing." A baby self soothes by putting their hand in their mouth. This is most often characterized as a replacement for mom's nipple. Don't confuse this however with the signal for feeding. An early feeding cue from a younger baby will often be their fist in their mouth.
So in regards to breastfeeding...
Your baby wants lots of love from you and cuddles. You can absolutely feed and hold your baby while they are swaddled. The first couple of months will be a lot of learning. You will learn what works best for both of you. If you're struggling with a current routine and it's not better after a week or so, switch it up mama!
Bronze Boobies & Beyond
As your baby gets older, there will be new challenges ahead. BusyTabs will help your baby transition out of their swaddle days and into a fun and mobile world. You will want to watch for signs to stop swaddling and always check the manufacturer warnings once baby is more mobile. A lot of the warnings are about safe sleep and making sure baby will not be stuck on their belly. Remember to always put baby in their crib on their back.
Jennifer Fletcher- Founder- Mother of 2 @NurseMeMama