It's no secret that a good swaddle is all it takes to calm that newborn baby in its fourth trimester. Every good mother worth her salt can surely do this all on her own without the help of a blog.
Except, lies!!!! Swaddling is the devil's milkshake. Swaddling is some secret voodoo that leaves parents stressed, and overhyped, and sends grown adults into a tizzy because it's just not tight enough.
Swaddling should, in theory, help your baby sleep. But more often than not, we end up spending more time forcing this little miracle supposed sleep helper to happen than sleeping.
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Behold: My tips to perfect that swaddle.
1) Have a baby.
2) Buy a swaddle. But probably the wrong one. Someone probably gave you two or three extra ones you didn't even know you needed at your baby shower and you have no idea how to use any of them but decide to practice on a stuffed animal bunny about two days before having a baby. So, you're good.
3) The first swaddle you bought doesn't seem to work. Baby always seems to kick off the bottom part. Move to the second swaddle that someone gave you at a baby shower. This one has velcro. This one works! Success! Sleep!
4) This one doesn't work! Thrash around in your bed for a few minutes until you wake up your husband and ask him to try swaddling the baby.
5) Secretly watch on the monitor while hubby struggles with the same swaddle. Laugh. Eat stale breakfast cookies you find on your nightstand. Feel smug. You're not the only one who's terrible at this.
6) Wake up to realize that somehow your hubby has swaddled and gotten the baby to sleep and is now snoring next to you. How did he even fucking do that? What day is this? What time is this?
7) Carefully study how your husband has been able to tightly swaddle the baby without you even showing him how to do it before removing the swaddle. Vow to never tell him that you hate him for being a perfect Dad all of the sudden.
8) Curse the man who invented swaddles. It must be a man. Just like the man who invented high heels and bras. This asshole has no idea how hard it is to be a woman, and now he's designed something impossible to challenge you every day! Realize suddenly that your hubby could do it. IT WAS DESIGNED BY A MAN THEN!
9) Approach swaddling as if you are a man now. Use more force to squeeze the baby’s arms underneath the fabric. Be rougher. More forceful than your instinct would otherwise suggest. Stand back and admire your handy work, aka swaddle.
10) Drink a celebratory cocktail. Eat celebratory chocolate. Watch a celebratory episode of the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."
11) Feel accomplished. Go to bed. Check on baby one last time before turning in yourself, only to realize that he has busted one arm out of the top of your masterpiece of a swaddle. Whisper yell profanities until the dog looks at you like you're certifiable.
12) Try the man-swaddle-method again. Success. Sleep.
13) Two hours later, the baby has woken with a free arm busting out of the swaddle.
14) After re-swaddling, even tighter this time, text your mother to ask, “How did you swaddle me? What’s the trick?” Become horrified at her response the next morning: “There were no swaddles, and we just let you sleep on your tummy with a blanket in the crib.”
15) Spend the whole day debating whether or not to let baby sleep on his tummy, un-swaddled. You lived. Right?
16) Try letting the baby nap on his tummy, while you sit in a chair next to him for the entire hour and thirty minutes watching him breathe. Once he wakes, totally alive, vow never to do that again.
17) Invest in three more types of swaddles on Amazon Prime that have a minimum of four stars and 100 reviews.
18) New swaddle #1 works. But suddenly baby is almost too big for this size of swaddle. When did THAT happen? Spend another $100 on Amazon Prime ordering every size swaddle.
19) Realize after the additional new swaddles arrive that your baby won’t need to be swaddled until he goes to college. Spend an afternoon sending back most of the larger sized swaddles but keep one. Just in case.
20) Drunkenly tell your husband that you’re pretty sure you’re never going to sleep again.
21) Wake up with a hangover, to realize somehow baby has been swaddled and is asleep in his crib. Promise to thank your husband for letting you sleep again. Do the quick math in your head that the baby must have slept for six hours.
22) Vow to never speak of the sleeping baby because every time you speak of a sleeping baby, he never seems to sleep again.
23) Go to sleep proud, smiling, smug that you have a “good sleeper.”
24) Wake up thirty minutes later to a screaming, hungry, completely un-swaddled baby who is anything BUT sleeping.
25) Panic and grab baby who almost immediately falls asleep on your chest.
26) Bring baby to bed with you, while you ponder the centuries of child rearing where swaddles didn’t exist. At least not the ones with velcro. Where women would wear their babies non-stop. This is how they did it and look at how far the human race has come! When you wake up, you will become a babywearing mom.
23) Having slept, finally, with a baby on your chest, feel renewed about your life as a mother, and willing to give swaddling a try again because even though you slept, you now have a crick in your neck from holding baby all night long.
24) Watch three more YouTube videos and practice with your baby. Baby smiles and laughs for the first time at your worried face. Look at him with awe and amazement at this new development. Cry happy tears. Keep practicing the same move to get him to do the smile/laugh again because you will never tire of hearing and seeing that smile/laugh. Think, this swaddling bull shit ‘ain't so bad.
22) Eat a whole mess of chocolate…
23)… Because you feel guilty about how much time you have tried swaddling and failed and not paid attention to the growth of your baby and he’s already over a month old and how did that even happen, and also feel guilty about how much chocolate you just ate. Eat some more to numb the pain.
24) Vow to never feel guilty about anything ever again. You’re a mom now. You aren’t allowed to feel those kinds of feelings.
25) When your husband comes home to find you in a heap of tears holding a swaddled sleeping baby on your chest and asks you what’s wrong, respond with: “He’s just so fucking beautiful!”
26) Allow your husband to let you go sleep this one off too. Post pregnancy hormones are insane.
27) Rested and refreshed, realize you do have feelings, even as a mom. And motherhood is hard AF. And that you can’t possibly be perfect even at swaddling. And your baby will sleep …someday.
28) Still, buy two more swaddles on Amazon Prime because you are a glutton and no challenge is too great for you!
29) Behold as your baby has somehow rolled over, while swaddled, during a nap. Panic and roll him back onto his back, to which he immediately rolls over again, pinned between the crib bars and the bed.
30) Remove the swaddle. Thank the old gods and the new that you don’t have to deal with that shit anymore.