Snuggly wrapping a baby in a cloth has been a parenting staple for thousands of years, and has been used by moms and dads across the world, of all backgrounds. Called either swaddling or baby wrapping, this technique is still used today and new parents are likely to see a newborn first being swaddled by nurses at the hospital.
It is believed that swaddling can help soothe the baby because it replicates the feeling of being snugly enveloped in the womb. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that when done correctly, swaddling can be a useful technique to help calm infants and promote sleep. However, there are significant issues of which you should be aware.
Dr. Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP, chair of the task force that authored The American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep recommendations says: “I would stop swaddling by age two months before the baby intentionally starts to try to roll. If babies are swaddled, they should be placed only on their back and monitored, so they don’t accidentally roll over.”
Also, The Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America promotes “hip-healthy swaddling” which allows the baby’s legs to bend upwards and outwards because babies who are swaddled too tightly may develop a problem with their hips. So, if you do decide to swaddle, make sure your baby’s hips can move and that the blanket is not too tight. “You want to be able to get at least two or three fingers between the baby’s chest and the swaddle,” Dr. Moon explains.
There are plenty of beautiful swaddling cloths available, but why stick to a plain wrap when you could have the kind of fun that these parents had?
20 YA THINK?
For parents who are beginners in swaddling, you might want to focus on wrapping the baby in a relatively simple manner and unleashing your creative juices on what’s going on around your child.
If it is suggested that you pour out your heart and soul and share your deep and meaningful thoughts on the background, you could do worse than this. Who hasn’t floated along through their first pregnancy knowing the enormity of becoming a parent in theory only to find themselves smacked around the head with a baseball bat of reality the moment they hold that precious bundle in their arms?
I especially love the fact that the piece used as the background is a swaddling cloth itself.
19 PHOTO OPS
Not all swaddling has been done with cloths and blankets. In some areas of the world and periods of history, babies were actually wrapped in long strips of fabric or knitted items. This technique isn’t a great one for practical purposes, but it is absolutely fabulous if you are feeling creative and want a photo shoot that will produce images to knock your socks off.
Case in point is this little cutie pie, wrapped as a rainbow, nestled in a fluffy cloud and floating on a sky blue background. Who’d of thought that there really was a treasure at the end of some rainbows?
18 YUM SCRUM
We all know that you shouldn’t drink and parent at the same time, but there are no set limits for what levels might make you too intoxicated so how are you supposed to know you are OK to swaddle your baby? I’d suggest that if you have the post night out munchies mixed up with wrapping your baby up for a sleep and they end up wrapped as a sub, then you may be over the limit.
In the interests of clarity, that is not what happened to this baby – he just has creative parents, and you shouldn’t get drunk if you are caring for your baby.
17 A SEASONAL SWADDLE
If you have a baby in the fall, what better way to celebrate than to have your little one wrapped like a candy corn and laying on a bed of everyone’s favorite Halloween candy? This little sweetie in a pile of sweeties is carefully swaddled and posed so we can enjoy those lovely little chubby newborn hands.
Unfortunately, you are not likely to find one of these in the bulk bins of your local store. For a start there wouldn’t be any scoops big enough and just think of the crush to get through the door every time the store received a fresh delivery of candy corn babies.
16 WHEN I GROW UP, I WANT TO BEE
Of course, not all of us who want to be creative are lucky enough to have the artistic gene, or if we do it is vastly outweighed by the number of clumsy and inept genes that fill our DNA. On top of that babies are annoyingly wriggly and won’t lay still when you try to swaddle them.
If this is the case for you, but you are desperate to get something cute going in the swaddling spere, you can find plenty of pre-printed swaddling “cocoons” that will give your little one the cozy feeling and make it look like you have created a smart art piece.
15 MY HEIR
While swaddling usually takes place with a cloth, there’s nothing to say you can’t do it with your hair.
A dad who is known only as Bakari on his internet profiles posted this photo online and captioned it simply: ‘Saturday shenanigans.’ He told Yahoo Lifestyle that he thought to himself, “I wonder if my hair is long enough to put her on my shoulders and securely wrap her there?”
“When she came into this world, there was an indescribable feeling of overwhelming joy,” he continued telling Yahoo. “We’ve had a close bond since she was in the womb. I used to talk to her and rub her mother’s stomach to comfort her.”
14 A POST BIRTH SNACKETTE?
Pushing an entire small human out of your vagina is painful and exhausting, just like spilling a boiling hot coffee on your lap is a bit warm and uncomfortable. When you have gone through this process, the birth not the coffee wearing, you can be euphoric, overjoyed, and in my experience, absolutely starving.
For this reason, I think immediately wrapping your newborn baby as a tasty looking sandwich is a bit foolhardy. It is not unknown for animals to eat their young and any dazed and confused and slightly bleary-eyed new mom could inadvertently consume such a delicious looking morsel.
13 TOO DARN CUTE
Some people are annoyingly talented and appear to enjoy a complete lack of trouble having creative ideas. It is twice as aggravating when those who are blessed with an artistic imagination have also been gifted the talent and skills to bring their ideas to life.
The mom who made this swaddle sac is a case in point. Not only did she think “Hey, you know what? I think I could knit my baby a totally styin’ cocoon, complete with wings and a matching hat,” but she went ahead and created it AND it looks soooooo darling.
Not sure how easy it would be to get your baby in or out of this though.
12 “I VANT TO SUCK YOUR SOOTHER”
What better way to dress your little milk suckler up than as the quintessential bloodsucker himself, Dracula. Although the seasonal window for this to be appropriate is quite narrow, it is tremendous fun and having the vampire cape double as a swaddling blanket is a genius idea.
If your little one starts to get a bot tetchy while he’s out trick or treating with mom and the older kids, you can just wrap him in his cape and rock him off to sleep. The only thing to question about this photo is “why are his little pointy fangs on his forehead?”
11 RABBIT OR CARROTT?
At first glance, this little one is a cute little carrot, but it only takes another millisecond to realize that it is a pair of rabbit ears adorning her head and not some springy carrot top leaves as you might expect.
So, although this took a lot of skill and creativity to make, I am left with the mental image of a giant carrot that has consumed a rabbit, a bit like a snake swallowing another animal whole, and all that’s left are the bunnies ears. Or perhaps that’s just me, and I have spent too many nights up with the kids lately.
10 THAT MUST HAVE HURT
This specially created pineapple swaddle sack and hat are adorable, and the photo itself is both pretty and precious at the same time.
It is reasonable to assume that one or both parents of this little fresh fruit is from Hawaii, or maybe he was just made on a Hawaiian holiday. Either way, the addition of the “Made in Hawaii” crate and the sandy base make this photo an adorable and clever one. Let’s hope for mom’s sake it wasn’t all designed to commemorate the sensation that she gave birth to a pineapple, although that’s not far off from how it does feel.
9 SWADDLED TOGETHER
Twins might be twice the work but they are also twice as much baby to love, so one thing balances out the other, and this is such a beautiful image, it just had to make the list.
What an excellent idea to swaddle the babies and then lay them together and tie their swaddling cloths together. It’s like the photographer has in someway recreated that special bond they shared growing in the womb together. A regular photo with them side by side would have been a nice but average one, the bow takes it over the line into exceptional, don’t you think?
8 PHILOSOPHIZE THIS
If you think you may have just given birth to the child destined to become the first Übermensch, then perhaps this swaddling wrap would be perfect for you. Will this baby grow up to be the Superman that creates their own meaning and values without reference to outside influences? Probably not, but then they may just like the words of the quote and not be familiar with the philosophy of Nietzsche.
Instead, even if they don’t agree with the thoughts of Friedrich, will this baby’s parents have a beautiful keepsake to forever remind them of how perfect their child is? Absolutely.
7 TAKE ME WITH YOU DADDY
Alyssa, the photographer who captured this image said:
“I had the pleasure of meeting Baby Israel and his mother for a model session to test out the new USMC swaddle sack! He was such a tiny little peanut and super sleepy. Mommy fed him, and he fell into a nice deep sleep (or as newborn photographers like to call it ‘milk coma’)”
Luckily for Alyssa and mom, Israel spent well over an hour in the land of nod, so they were able to capture plenty of images, including this one in a swaddle sack designed to pay tribute to his father.
6 ON THE SHELF
This little one is carefully swaddled in a snug and warm blankie. The look on his face, however, is one of pure puzzlement. He looks mildly bemused by the fact that he has been wrapped up and then lay down on top of a dresser, and who wouldn’t be?
Who among us has not wanted, at some time or another, to be able to put our child away for a little while, relax, rejuvenate, then unpack them again when we’ve recovered a bit? Of course, this isn’t possible, but that is the first thing I thought of when I saw this picture.
5 EAT FRESH
There do appear to be a large number of swaddling photographs that involve food, and of those foodie pictures, a pretty high proportion of parents seem to want to wrap their babies as subs, burritos, and sushi.
This photo is especially darling because mom or dad have gone to the trouble, not only to swaddle baby as a sub but to also add some tomatoes and lettuce, thus encouraging their daughter to consume plenty of fruits and veggies from a young age.
I’m sure I would buy take-out food more often if there were a chance of ordering a sub like this one.
4 NOT TO BE COOKED
As we are checking out the foodie swaddles, we had to throw in this tasty looking little Hosomaki.
With the flourishing popularity of sushi bars, is it any wonder that a parent or two would like to swaddle their pride and joy as their favorite seaweed wrapped treat? “Look,” mom could say “I’ve just pushed this little being out of my belly, and now I have dressed him up as something I would like to put into my belly.” Then again, maybe she shouldn’t say something like that, it may just be the kind of comment that could raise an eyebrow or two.
Of course, not every swaddle needs to be centered around animals or food; some parents have an altogether different focus they wish to bring to their swaddling game. Football.
If there is a football lover in your home, then this swaddle might appeal to them. A hybrid style of swaddle with a sack-like pouch at the bottom, giving lots of room for healthy hips and the wrap-over section to ensure baby’s arms are snugly contained.
With this specially designed and made football swaddle you can package up your precious bundle and take a run down the field. Just remember not to get too overexcited and punt what you are carrying. People tend to frown on that kind of thing.
2 IT’S A SEA THING
What could be cuter than dressing your tiny baby up as a mermaid? This beautifully knitted swaddle pouch and tail were created to provide maximum snugness, maximum comfort, and maximum awww factor – and it delivers on all three. Even the headband is beautifully made.
There is nothing quite like a sleeping baby with their hands near their heads and their chubby little arms up by their faces, looking all cuddly and like you just wanna pick em up and squeeze them and sniff up all of that new baby smell. Oh, sorry, that got away from me a little bit there!
1 AND FINALLY
To wrap up (geddit?) our rundown of gorgeous babies swaddled as vampires, hair decorations, mythical creatures, and foodstuffs, here is a seemingly more straightforward photo. The background, the swaddling cloth and the ribbon in the girl’s hair are all understated because nothing should detract from the magnificent double swaddle that these pretty little packages are wrapped up in.
Getting one baby off to sleep, enveloped in their blanket and laid down for a photo session is difficult enough, but getting two of them sorted at once, and then swaddled together like that – this mom deserves a medal for her brilliance.