The giant square of material with multiple essential functions …
Image: Aden + Anais website
Before DamBaby (DB) arrived, the one item friends repeatedly advised us to buy was muslins*. Not to be confused with muslims. Apparently, it would be impossible to have too many. “Get a dozen.” “Get 24.”
Confused by the Netherland’s selection, by chance we bought a pack of Aden + Anais muslin swaddles in London. The sweet shopkeeper looked at the pack of four, with their pretty star motif, and cooed with delight. “I’ve bought these for all my Grandchildren,” she exclaimed, “They’re fantastic and last for years.”
I was sceptical how essential some giant squares of soft cotton could be. But we’ve used them constantly since DB’s first day. Under the guidance of our Kraamzorg, our initial method for putting DB to sleep was a tight swaddle, followed by tighter tucking under a blanket in her co-sleeper. Swaddling feels a bit biblical, or like elaborate baby origami (if you want to see how to swaddle a baby, watch this baby centre video). But it was essential for us, blessed with a baby whose arms span like a Dutch windmill, neatly hitting her own face in the process. Without this arm-pinning, Moses-like technique she’d have woken every few minutes, crying as she punched herself yet again.
When we’re not using swaddles for … well, swaddling … they’re multi-purpose cleaning cloths. The husband and I live with one of these draped over our shoulder. They’re ready protection during burping, or rapid mop-up of random milk projections. You’ll often hear one of us yelling dramatically; “swaddle! I need the swaddle NOW!” They also make handy blankets over bouncy chairs, car seats, or us. So, yes, you need more than one. We only have four. But I’m debating getting more.
I love Aden + Anais swaddles. They’re expensive, but they feel beautiful and the material gets softer with washing. Given we wash them every couple of days, it makes them worth the price.
You can actually buy these in the Netherlands – they’re called inbakerdoeks. In Amsterdam, head to department store de Bijenkorf.
*Muslin is actually the name of a cotton fabric rather than a product name per se. That’s probably obvious to everyone else, but I had no idea pre-baby.
Are you a baby swaddler or do you have other sleep secrets? And how many muslins do you think parents need?!