Newborn Swaddle and Blanket Options
If you read my post on crib bedding safety issues, you learned that a fitted sheet is the only bedding you need for your newborn baby. So, are there any blanket options I recommend for newborns?
Let's begin with room temperature. The room your newborn sleeps in should stay within 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. With that temperature range, I hope you see that you do not need a heavy blanket for a newborn. They easily become overheated, so a lightweight two-layer system works okay. You will know if your baby is getting overheated if they are sweating or red. If they are too cold, you will observe their hands losing color or getting bluish. My best advice is to keep them fully covered with lightweight materials.
Now, what should your baby wear to sleep besides their diaper?
A wearable blanket is called a sleeper. Sleepers are full body PJ's that have sleeves, legs, and usually feet. If you put your baby in a gown, then you may opt for a wearable blanket sack or bag. The sleep sacks have arm holes or sleeves with a neck hole, and the legs are free in a sack bottom. Then they zip up or down to close. Another option for clothing is dress your baby in a cotton sleeper or bodysuit (onesie), then use a wearable blanket or swaddle as a second layer.
If you cloth diaper, I recommend using the diaper and t-shirt combo with a fleece or micro-fleece wearable blanket option. Sometimes you have leaks in cloth diapers, and keeping cotton items away from your baby's bottom will prevent them from wicking moisture to their trunk. Fleece does not hold moisture, so it will not wick moisture, and it will stay dry. Along with that, I recommend using fleece fitted sheets for bedding to prevent moisture wicking. This combination will ensure that your baby stays dry while you are figuring out the right amount of cloth and covers to use to keep up with your baby's needs at night. I have cloth diapered for four years now, and this is the best recommendation I can give.
Swaddling also helps your newborn sleep better during the first two months. (Note: The National Task Force on SIDS does not recommend swaddling past 2 months of age due to some babies being able to roll over at that time.) Swaddling is wrapping your newborn's arms snugly so they can't easily move them. Do not make the mistake of trying to wrap their legs tightly, as you can hurt them.
There are so many options for swaddling that I will just mention your options and considerations for each one. Remember that a swaddle would be considered your second layer of clothing for a newborn. Keep that in mind so you don't over or under-dress them for sleep. You might consider dressing your baby in a cotton sleeper or bodysuit for their clothing when swaddling as a second layer.
Finally, I cannot emphasize safety enough. Make sure you use swaddles that are appropriate for your baby's size. Unlike other baby clothes, do NOT size UP on swaddles. Though you will see recommendations all over that swaddling is great for babies up through 4 months of age, the National Task Force on SIDS does not recommend swaddling beyond 2 months because some babies (like my active little guy) can roll over at 2 months old. To transition your newborn away from swaddling AND keep your baby from waking themselves up with flailing arms, I recommend the Zipadee Zip transition swaddle.
Since all babies and moms are different, I recommend getting at least one of each kind of swaddle to try out versus investing in a bunch of one kind, only to find out that it doesn't work well for your situation. Note: There are NO affiliate links in this post.
I have an upcoming online webinar class on gentle sleep training for newborns so that they can sleep 6 to 12 hours straight through by 4 months of age. Once my family's move settles out, I will announce a date. Meanwhile, check out the overview for Newborn Sleep Success.
For those of you with newborns, which swaddle did you find worked best for your baby?
I hate to admit that I have always hated money. I thought I didn't need much of it and even tried to live a minimalist lifestyle to prove it while single. I did fine as long as a crisis didn't happen, like car repair bills or a trip to the dentist. But, was I really doing fine?
When I met my husband to be, I instinctively was relieved to know that he thought a lot about money, lived below his means, and proactively managed it. He even had us go through a Dave Ramsey financial peace course together as part of our courtship. I learned a lot, but still struggled with being confined to a budget and saving for the future crisis (am I the only one that hates planning for bad things to happen??). Besides, the cash envelope system did not jive with my habit of not carrying any cash on me.
Fast forward to married life, working part-time, and pregnant with my first child and my struggles with money culminated with my dear husband announcing that we had spent over $600 in a month on food, and we needed to figure something out. Granted, I was going through some pretty extreme cravings - vegan spinach gourmet pizza from Italia Restaurant, fruit roll-ups, and waffles. I was shocked at how out of control I had gotten, especially knowing that I used to spend only $150 a month during my minimalist single days. Even I had to admit that something had to change, but what's a freestyle money person like me supposed to do??
I really liked this new system because it felt like I was getting more money to spend everyday versus seeing money just get used up and still not having a frame of reference of how much I could spend to make it through the month. It allowed me to freestyle spend while keeping me abreast of where I was at in relation to my "budget" each day. So, if I wanted to eat pizza, I watched my spending to make sure I was accruing a positive available balance. If I spent a lot at at the grocery store for the week, then I just waited till I was back out of the red to start spending again. By the end of the month, I knew where I stood in relation to our food budget goal.
I hope you are better at managing money than I am. I really recommend this budget calendar exercise as a great first step to budgeting and controlling your spending. Mr. Coleman recommends putting the calendar up on the fridge. I eventually preferred to use one of those little pocket calendar books. Check out his book to learn more about money management - Winning with Money by Aaron Coleman. Note: These are NOT affiliate links.
What budgeting tools do you like to use?
Ovulation Predictor Kits can be quite helpful in cross checking your fertility awareness charting. Let's learn a little bit about what they do and their limitations, and how to tell when they are positive.
During your menstrual cycle, various hormone levels are high at different times depending on where you are in relation to ovulation day. Ovulation day is when an egg is released. If sperm is present when the egg is released, fertilization can occur. Ovulation predictor kits test for Luteinizing Hormone, a hormone that spikes up to a couple of days before ovulation and triggers the release of the most mature ovum (egg).
There are a couple of big drawbacks in depending on ovulation kits for timing intercourse to achieve pregnancy.
The reality is that you are actually fertile (sperm can live in you) for about 5 to 6 days up to ovulation day. You can know that you are fertile if you check your cervical mucus each day. It changes from sticky (infertile) to egg white (fertile) to signal when your body is approaching ovulation. Ovulation predictor kits only figure out the tail end of that time period.
For women who have long cycles or irregular cycles, it is hard to know when to make your investment in ovulation predictor kits count. If your cycles are very regular, I recommend starting to test using ovulation predictor kits 22 days BEFORE you expect to get your next period. If your cycles are very irregular or long, I highly recommend cross checking your cervical mucus, so you can start testing with an ovulation predictor kit when your mucus begins to transition to egg white quality. Checking your cervical mucus is part of Fertility Awareness Charting, a practice I highly recommend to every woman, whether you are trying to get pregnant or trying to avoid pregnancy. It helps you really get in tune with what's going on inside your body. I offer a free report to help you get started with Fertility Awareness Charting that I will mention at the end of this post.
Another option for women with especially long or irregular cycles is to use the 22-day recommendation above based on the shortest cycle length you have had in the last 6 months. You are keeping track of when you start your period, aren't you?? I hope so. You need this information in order to help you figure out when to start using ovulation predictor kits.
In general, whenever you start using ovulation predictor kits, keep testing until you get a positive result. If you are cross checking your cervical mucus, you should observe a change from fertile to infertile mucus within about 3 days of a positive ovulation test result.
For women with very long cycles, I recommend to keep testing beyond that point to make sure that your body is not attempting ovulation multiple times and failing to do so. Let's look at some used OPK results that I have to learn how to read them.
In the image above, I have 5 days worth of results. Note that on day D, I did not test. These are "old" readings, so they are not considered truly accurate, as you should read your results within 3 minutes of taking the test. I did that when I took them, but you can still see the contrast in the results even with using these "old" tests. Let's see what they reveal.
Let's be clear that you do not ovulate more than one time during a cycle, BUT your body can try to ovulate multiple times if it is unsuccessful at it. This is what I am currently going through, as I mentioned, because I am breastfeeding. I hope you see why it helps to cross check ovulation predictor test results with other fertility signals, especially if you have irregular cycles or long cycles.
If you are interested in learning more about checking your fertility signals, please visit my website Most Fertile Days, to join my Bonded From Birth Email Club and receive a complimentary copy of my FREE report, Enlightened and Empowered through Fertility Awareness.
Are you trying to conceive right now? Do you use ovulation predictor kits? Which kit brand do you like? On what day do you try to start testing?
I remember planning for the arrival of my first baby and feeling pressed to make his room as cute as can be. The crib of course became the focal point of the room. Looking through the baby store advertisement circulars revealed pictures of showroom ready baby rooms, but there is a big problem with those pictures of cribs dolled up with a comforter, skirt, and bumper. They are not compliant with infant sleep safety standards.
You see, the safest bedding for a baby is a fitted sheet. That's it. All those pretty coordinated items, like the matching blanket and bumper are not recommended by the National Task Force on SIDS. In fact, those items put your baby at risk for SIDS. What's SIDS? Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It's when a baby dies in their sleep for no apparent reason.
I know, I know - those are the decor pieces that define the theme of the room! Well, for all you budget conscious mamas, the good news is you can save your money and bypass all that crib decor. Proudly tell interior design whiners that you are giving your new baby the very best - the safest sleep environment. If by chance, you have already purchased a bedding set for your crib, I encourage you to keep it off of the crib even when your baby is not in it. Why? Because you will be SO tired during those first few months that you do not want to risk you or anyone else (grandma, dad, helpers, etc.) accidentally or unknowingly leaving any bedding or items in the crib with your newborn.
So how do you make sure your baby is warm and covered at night? I'll talk about blanket-alternative options in another post, so stay tuned! Meanwhile, read the American Academy of Pediatrics updated guidelines on SIDS here.
What theme did you choose for your baby's nursery?
Hi, I'm Inga!
Welcome to my new blog. After much studying, getting my Childbirth Educator certification, and having two babies of my own, here I am again - sharing with you all the lessons I've gleaned and skills I've mastered in preparing for motherhood.
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