Here’s a story, of a girl named Brady… my firstborn, to be exact. Who, like most babies, was sprinkled on the way out of the hospital with the dust that makes nighttime sleep a myth. Before we left the hospital, the nice nurses taught us this lovely method of wrapping her up like a little burrito, approximately the size of those they serve at Chipotle. We had also learned that method in our baby birthin’ classes. I was confident that if given a blanket, I could wrap a baby. Only, nobody had explained to me why. They said things like, “this will calm her down” or “this will keep her warm,” but I thought there were so many other things that would keep her warm or calm her down, and while baby wrapping seemed to be a neat party trick, I wasn’t sure when or why it was important to use it.
Fast forward to about a week after we’d arrived home, and approximately that long since we (and she) had last slept. I was at my wits end. In fact, I was beyond my wits end. I was writing postcards to my wits end telling it how much I missed it. I called my mother in a full-blown panic, “MOM, SHE WON’T SLEEP! WHY WON’T SHE SLEEP? FIX THIS!” My mother, who is accustomed to this type of alarm from her youngest (and most dramatic) child, went immediately to the nearest bookstore and raided the baby sleep section. I don’t know if that section exists, but it should. It should exist for this exact type of situation. She dropped the books off for me and they sat on my coffee table staring me down. I knew the answer to how this baby was going to sleep was hiding somewhere in those pages, but I was tired. I called my husband who was on his way home from work, and gave him his assignment: “Read these books for me, and tell me what to do… I am going to try to sleep right now, because the baby looks groggy.” While I logged about 45 minutes of fitful rest, Mr. Lindstrom skimmed each book looking for what was going to work for us. When I opened my eyes, he shook a book at me, The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp. “Colleen, we need to swaddle her. Not just that, there are four other things that start with S that we need to do, too!” I swear to you, if he had told me that we needed to hang her from a crane by her toenails, I would have called the first 24-hour crane rental service I could find in the Yellow Pages. Suddenly, swaddling and these other S words sounded much better than the one S word I was saying.
And thus the love affair began that very evening with our first successful swaddle. A good sleeper was born. And since, we have produced many good sleepers, all thanks to Dr. Harvey Karp. In order to get the true essence of swaddling and the five S technique, you really must read the book. I also recommend reading the book because it gives you very important guidelines for swaddling safety. Adhere to them. Take them seriously. Swaddling is a wonderful tool in helping your child adjust to life outside the womb, but just knowing that is not enough, you must learn about it to be sure that you are using it properly. I am so passionate about the swaddle, that my gift to new moms in my life (sorry to blow the surprise) is a swaddle blanket, and swaddler (I prefer the Summer Infant Swaddle Me brand, which I layer on top of a swaddle blanket for security), and a copy of the Happiest Baby on the Block. Without fail, every mom gets this from me, along with a handwritten note promising that I will school them in the ways of the swaddle. Each and every hour of sleep I have logged since 2005 is credit directly to Dr. Harvey Karp.
See, the Twinstroms in a restful sleep while swaddled exactly one week old. I probably should have been sleeping, myself, but instead I was taking pictures. (Another of the 5 Ss is "sucking," which you can see, they are doing blissfully on their pacifiers.)
Here’s the greatest news for you today, you can enter win a Swaddle Blanket for your own baby or a baby in your life just by heading over to It’s My Baby Blog and following the directions. It’s easy, I promise, and goodness knows, the gift of sleep is priceless! Good luck!