If you’re expecting a baby you’ve probably been told by everyone to buy as many swaddle blankets as you can fit in your house and if you have a baby already you will know what sound advice this is.
Swaddles are the foundation of literally everything when you have a baby and you can never ever have too many. I thought it might be helpful to give you an idea of all the different ways you can use a swaddle blanket (I am referring to muslin cloth material swaddles here, to me a swaddle is just a super large muslin)
So here are 8 ways you can use a swaddle with your new baby…
1. A swaddle
This might be the most obvious one, as the name would suggest you can use them to swaddle your new baby. Swaddling is the art (and it is an art) of wrapping your new baby tightly in the blanket so that they feel safe, secure and as if they are still in your tummy all curled up.
It’s great for night time as it stops their little hands and arms from flapping around everywhere and scaring them. This is the reason we swaddled Amelia for the first few weeks, however, you will not understand a baby’s strength and willpower until you try to swaddle them. Amelia would break free from my swaddling attempts at least 6-7 times a night, she hated being swaddled but it was the only way she would fall asleep.
As a result of her dislike for swaddling and my piss-poor skills at it I have no photos of my own of Amelia in a swaddle and so I must give a super huge thank you to Matt (@rad_young_things) for being so kind and allowing me to feature his daughter Suki who is expertly swaddles and loving it. Thanks Matt and Suki!
2. Changing mat cover
Whilst most changing mats will be made from a wipe clean material which is great for those inevitable accidents it can be pretty cold on the skin and your little one will be undressing on it so it’s best to cover it with something soft and warm to take the chill off. Plus when there is an accident (and there will be many) you can whip the cloth away and replace it with a new one.
3. Tummy time blanket
Most babies love tummy time and it’s great for them to help build their muscles and strength but they don’t half dribble all over the floor. Laying them on a swaddle blanket can be very comforting for them as they can grab it and pull it and it probably smells like mum but it will also protect your carpet from dribble and sick whilst they practice their wibbly wobbly press ups.
4. A nursing cover up
If your breast feeding and your out and about you can throw a blanket over your shoulder and drap it across you to give a little privacy whilst you feed your baby. Swaddles are light and airy enough that they’re not going to cause your baby any harm and you can still peek inside and check on them. As a breast feeding mother who has never actually breast fed in public I’ve not yet had a need to cover up. I might be brave enough to try it one day.
5. A pram cover
Swaddles make perfect emergency cover ups if you’re caught out in the rain without your rain cover or if you’re trying to encourage your little one to close their eyes and take a nap. You can drape a swaddle over and down the hood of the pram to give them some protection from wind and rain and reduce all the excitement of having too much to look at and explore.
Warning! I do not recommend using a swaddle as a shade cover in the summer, whilst they are breathable it could cause heat to build up inside the pram without enough ventilation and your baby could over heat (and you won’t be able to see) so for summer sun I would still recommend a parasol.
6. Burp cloth
Probably the second most common use for these blankets (that’s why it’s number 6 on my list obviously) is for when your baby has fed and needs burping which will more often than not lead to a little (or a lot) of milky sick. Swaddles are perfect for catching and mopping this up. We’ve recently taken to tying one around Amelia sort of like a cloak at the hair dressers with just her arms sticking out. Get sick on your clothes now little lady…
Babies love having something to hold and chew on, it comforts them and over time they will probably pick out a favourite item that they want to have with them all the time. This could be a teddy or a teething toy but it might also be a swaddle blanket. A special one that isn’t used for sick or poop but it saved only so that it can be snuggled with. You’ll likely still find it in their beds when they go off to Uni.
8. Lightweight pram blanket
In those warmer months when you might not want a heavy duty blanket or times when your baby is already wrapped up in their winter woollies but you’d like an extra layer you can throw a swaddle blanket over them instead of a thick pram blanket.
If you’re thinking you might need some more blankets then you probably do, I can not stress how much you will use them. Here’s a quick list of some of the other things we have used them for:
- Cover for Sleepyhead pillow
- Cloth to catch milk drips when I am expressing milk
- To fashion a skirt for Amelia when she pooped on all her clothes and I didn’t have any spare with me when we went shopping