It's one of the first skills you learn as a mom: how to swaddle. You watch the nurses whip the fabric around your kid so fast that it's a blur. Gingerly you try to repeat their movements, and softly tuck an edge of the blanket beneath the tiniest arm you've ever seen. You kid starts wailing. The nurse comes back in and WHAM!! Just like that, your kid is swaddled and happy.
For some (like my husband and I), swaddling becomes an life-saving way of life, practically an art form. A well wrapped swaddle often made the difference between getting four hours worth of sleep as opposed to just two. If that doesn't sound like a big difference, then you have either never been a mom or you have given birth to freaks of nature that sleep through the night.
Because we were relying on swaddling as a method to keep our sanity in those early days, we wasted a ton of money trying every swaddling blanket under the sun. We tried various sleep sacks (too roomy – he'd wake too early), "miracle" swaddling blankets (too thick, too hot) and an assortment of others (most were the wrong size and he would wiggle out, or they would cover his face). Then we discovered Aden + Anais.
The Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddling Wraps are made out of a super-soft muslin. Muslin is simply a very soft, breathable, thin cotton with a bit of give. These generously sized wraps are the perfect size for swaddling (even past the very newborn stage), they manage to stay in place, and because they are so lightweight and breathable, they won't overheat the babe.
We are well past the swaddling stage (although not quite to the sleeping through the night phase), and we still use these blankets daily. They roll up impossibly small, so I always have a least one in my bag. They have served as an improptu sun shade (pictured at left), picnic blanket, snot rag, towel, peekaboo toy and lovey while on the go, in addition to their usual use as a blanket.
These blankets come in a wide variety of cool color pallettes and designs – some mod, some sweet. I like the chic black and white set — it's perfect for parents that want to keep the sex a surprise. But if you can, buy the four-pack. For a total of $44, it's the best deal (most single blankets are $20) and all four blankets will be well used.
If you really want to be a hero, throw in a copy of "Happiest Baby on the Block" and a loud hairdryer. They will thank you at 3AM when they have finally gotten their little screamer back to sleep by swaddling and playing loud white noise. SSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.