I just had baby number five. FIVE. I’m well seasoned in this mom game and newborns are like second nature to me at this point. I can translate cries easily and change diapers faster than Mark Zuckerburg. I know that newborns tend to want 3 things: Food, clean diapers, and to be cuddled. This is where swaddling comes in.
My previous two babies had an exaggerated Moro Reflex. I am going to guess many of you haven’t heard of a “Moro Reflex” but perhaps know it as a “startle reflex” — or perhaps you don’t know it as anything and just think your newborn is a particularly jumpy little human. The Moro Reflex is a reflex typically found in newborns – usually present until baby is around 3-5 months. It’s a natural response to the feeling of falling, or a sudden loss of support. Baby will flare their arms out, contract them back in, and fuss or cry.
Think about it, when you depend solely on someone else holding you and supporting you, and suddenly you feel like that support is gone, you’d panic a little too. This often happens while babies sleep, and frequently startles them awake. My boys would have this reaction if you even walked while holding them.. Just imagine what nights were like. Until our pediatrician recommended swaddling. It gives babies that feeling of security and combats that reflex action. I knew how to swaddle and did it sometimes, but it wasn’t something I was religious about. Especially at night. All that blanket wrapping and tucking, making sure baby was positioned correctly, things were snug but not TOO snug. Then the moment you aced it, baby would poop and you’d have to undo your efforts and start over again. We found a couple blanket options that were said to make all of this easier.. But they either didn’t fit right or they were just as inconvenient. However, swaddling was the best comfort for our babies when they were in that Moro Reflex stage. Well, that and the feeling of being held.
When baby number five came along, I got an email from Nested Bean asking if I’d be interested in trying one of their weighted swaddle blankets. The Zen Swaddle. I was familiar with the brand (hello: did I me ion I’m addicted to baby products?) but I’d never used it before. The idea intrigued me, but I wasn’t quite sure how it would work for us for a couple reasons. First, I had used Velcro swaddles before, and like I said.. Hadn’t had much luck with them. Second, my newest baby was a “small for gestational age” low birthweight baby. Surely these blankets would be much too big for him, at a little under 5 pounds. Knowing how our previous babies were, however — and the fact that I don’t judge one product on my experience with another — I decided to give them a try.
I have never been more happy with a decision. Ever. When it first arrived, my first observations were aesthetic. It was so cute! I mean, if you’re going to put an adorable squishy baby in something, it should at least be cute, right?!?
The next thing I noticed was the instructions for using it on a smaller baby. WHAT?! Yes!! I followed the directions and was amazed that it fit! Wonderfully. Snug where it needed to be snug, relaxed where it needed to be relaxed. A good, SAFE swaddle for my tiny little man! (Yes. As with all things baby related, there are safe and unsafe ways of swaddling.) I was very happy at this point.
The only thing better was when I got baby to sleep, set him down in his crib, and he slept there for two SOLID hours. I would be lying if I said I didn’t go in and check on him a million times. He’d never slept that long out of my arms since we brought him home!
The Zen swaddle has 3 sections of weighted beans. One on the chest, mimicking a hand resting on baby. Then one on each side of baby. They feel held and snuggled while swaddled. I imagine this is what contributed to his sudden willingness to sleep on his own for that duration of time! It also calms him down, even when I don’t necessarily need him to sleep. Wrap him up into a Zen swaddle burrito, give him his pacifier, and suddenly all is right in the world.
The fabric is so soft. The Velcro is STRONG. (My only advise is, don’t swaddle on something it can stick to. It will stick! Hahaha!!) It works for babies of a wide variety of sizes. It says 0-6 months.. It very likely will last most babies that duration of time! It’s one of my favorite baby staples. Likely a product I will include in baby shower gifts and recommend to new moms! “This! Go buy this! You’ll thank me later!!”
Note: Nested Bean provided me with a Zen Swaddle to review. My opinions are my own and I was not otherwise compensated.