Shortly after the birth of our twin boys four months ago, I embarked on an epic quest spanning two continents in search of the perfect swaddling blanket. Don’t get me wrong: nearly any appropriate-sized piece of material will do for basic swaddling (in the book Baby-gami, Baby Wrapping for Beginners, author Andrea Sarvady even describes how to swaddle a baby using a paper sack). No, my search was for a swaddling outfit that would work well while doing something out of the ordinary with twin infants, such as spanning two continents while flying economy. Hey, there’s a lark.
Before departing Beijing on our journey, I purchased a pair of Halo SleepSack Swaddles. Sleep sacks are great for babies around 4 months and older, but for infants, the best thing is when you can wrap them up tight as a straitjacket so that they do not wake themselves up while flailing their arms around uncontrollably. Halo’s swaddling effort is an attempt, however feeble, to make their SleepSacks work as swaddling devices, but they fail miserably when it comes to simplicity. There is too much material, too much noisy Velcro (nothing wakes a baby better than the sound of that stuff ripping open), and the things kept bunching up in the back. Once we got the USA, and a Babies "R" Us, the Halos were relegated to use as crib padding. To reiterate, Halo SleepSacks are good, Halo SleepSack Swaddles are not.
Next, we tried a pair of fine looking swaddle blankets from Cocalo. These looked great. Unlike other brands, Cocalo didn’t assume that parents want everything for the baby to look babyish. Instead, Cacalo’s products come in stylish colors and patterns. I also appreciated that the area for the baby’s head and back had extra padding. And although there are four places to apply Velcro, Cocalo was the only brand I found that used “quiet” Velcro so that sleeping beauties are not disturbed if you need to unwrap them. Unfortunately, our boys kept slipping down inside the Cocalo swaddle blankets. I suspect they were a tad too big for the Cocalo brand. But hey, the kids looked great while bunched up inside them.
Finally, I happened upon a pair of swaddling blankets from SwaddleMe. For their design, SwaddleMe used a small footprint with little spare material to get in the way of sleep while somehow still managing to leave room for babies to grow. Each piece only has three Velcro points which, when applied deftly, can immobilize the most jittery of babies all night long. There was no extra padding as the entire piece was made of lightweight cotton (I bought the summer versions), but the price was the most affordable of all the brands I shopped.
I suspect they are reasonable enough (starting at USD 11) that it makes sense to just order them from Amazon or the like in the USA and pay for the shipping cost if you cannot find the brand in Beijing. For over two months, we used them exclusively whenever putting the twins down to sleep and they were easy to use on the flight back to Beijing too.
SwaddleMe is hands down my choice for the perfect, no-nonsense swaddle solution. Still, if you need advice on how to bundle up your new baby in a blanket or a paper sack, feel free to contact me. I’ve had way too much practice lately.
Photo by Flickr user abardwell