Your baby won’t tell you about it, but she really loves clean swaddles and cool soft wraps. These snug baby items give the newborn a sense of security and warmth. Your swaddled bundle of joy is far less likely to be disturbed by her startle-reflexes, the little jerks she experiences in her sleep. Swaddling your baby may considerably help calm her down if she is over-stimulated.
That is just how important swaddles and baby wraps are. So it’s important to give them the very best of care and maintenance like any other gem in your coffers. You’ll want to keep the swaddles in the best shape so they can continue to keep your baby toasty as her internal thermostat prepares to kick in.
Many new moms, however, wonder how to go about this whole business of caring for swaddles. You just need to look online to realize this; a lot of forums on the Internet are packed with questions on this topic. New moms take to the forums to ask whether they should wash baby swaddles. Should they wash everything before they use on the baby? Should they hand-wash or machine-wash the items? Which detergents should they use?
If any of these questions sound anything like your own, then you’re in luck. In this article we try to provide the answers so your heart that’s full of love for the baby can find peace.
Let’s have a look at the do’s (and don’ts) of maintaining and caring for baby swaddles and wraps.
For starters, these baby items are made of soft and delicate fabric. We highly recommend that you avoid pilling them. Rather, keep them nicely in a wash bag or other suitable bag to prolong their life.
Your baby wraps need a fair bit of washing. It’s important that this starts right before you use them on the baby to get rid of whatever chemicals they may have. You’ll find some swaddles that come ready-to-wear right out of the box, but it’s a good idea to wash any type of wrap before its first use. You’ll even find that woven wraps are more enjoyable to use after a wash and dry.
Subsequent washing is way more important. You ideally want to get rid of every germ. And the swaddles attract quite a bit of germs so to speak. People will want to hold your beautiful baby and you won’t be able to tell how clean their hands are. The kid may sneeze, or people handling the wraps may cough on them. There are simply so many ways swaddles and wraps can attract germs.
Babies have sensitive skin, and germs can easily irritate them. You don’t want that to happen, so it’s important that you keep the wraps clean and germ-free at all times.
But how do you go about washing these items?
This will depend on the materials comprising the swaddle or wrap. Different materials have different requirements and manufacturers always provide the right care instructions for each item. It is best to follow these instructions to preserve the fabric.
For swaddle blankets, you can always find these instructions on the instruction labels sewn into the side of the blanket. You’ll need to see if you can wash the swaddle or wrap in cold or warm water.
If your baby wrap is a blend for instance, you’ll want to follow the instructions that apply to washing the more delicate fibers. More specifically, a wool or cotton wrap requires the instructions for washing wool.
Some manufacturers will recommend that you use water in a certain temperature. This will make a difference as far as the fabric’s lifespan is concerned. However, for others, you may only want to go the warm way as a matter of preference. Or, warm water would be a preference when you want to remove more sticky or oily components that stick to the fabric.
Here are some general rules of washing the baby item
1. Wash each wrap using cold water of about 30 °C or warm water of about 40 °C to 60 °C depending on the maximum washing temperature the manufacturer has specified.
2. Do not use the wrap or try it on your baby before first washing. The wrap or sling must shrink to its designed weaving density and length for optimum use.
3. Do not wash the swaddles and wraps together with clothes with sharp elements such as zippers. Such sharp elements may pill the material and damage it.
4. The right detergent, any day
It is best not to use bleach, dryer sheets or fabric softener with your swaddles and wraps. Instead, wash the swaddles with a gentle liquid detergent that contains no optical softeners or brighteners. Dreft is my all-time favorite laundry detergent, but soap nuts are equally great for wraps or for swaddles and cloth diapers.
Wash baby wrap/sling in small amount of washing powder for babies. Liquid laundry detergents tend to make baby wrap fiber a bit too slippery. You’ll want to be able to tighten your baby wrap, and slippery fabric may make that less possible in some wraps and slings.5. No chemicals, no fragrance
The detergent you use on your baby’s items should be low scent or have no scent at all. Dreft for instance is a synthetic detergent with no bleach or harsh chemicals at all. You may be thinking about preserving the fabric, but the baby’s skin is even more important. Any harsh chemicals in the detergent could cause skin irritation to the baby.
Perfumes feel like a good idea but they are not for the baby things. They could potentially trigger allergic response out of the baby.
Obviously, some babies will be less sensitive than others. They might not even experience any side effects if you use your regular detergent on their swaddles. However, it would mean that you experiment with your standard detergent; use to wash some clothes and have your baby wear them for about a week. You’ll know if your baby is cool with the detergent if you see no irritation following the experimentation.
Like washing, drying the washed swaddles equally affect the fabric lifespan. Different fabrics will be more tolerant to different levels of heat. Nonetheless, you should never dry them at high heat.
For 100% cotton swaddles and wraps, it is best to let the item dry naturally or on low air. This is the surest way to prevent cotton from shrinking. Both washing cotton on hot or drying it in the dryer may cause the fabric to shrink. So if you don’t want to lose a few inches off your wrap or swaddle then you may prefer the tumble drying or low air drying.
Be sure to not to use a dryer sheet. You may, however, use untreated dryer balls; they are wonderful for softening swaddles and wraps in the dryer.
The popular thing to do is air dry all wraps. Simply hang them on the line and let drying happen.
Some basic care procedures for swaddles and wraps
An important part of the proper care for any item is to know and master the procedure for doing it. So here are some procedures to help you with washing your swaddles and wraps.
Start by filling a basin with warm water and add about .5 fl. oz. of the laundry detergent (dreft for my case).
Mix the water and the detergent, meanwhile using your hand to gently agitate the item you’re washing. Let it soak there for about an hour. Some color may appear in your water. Do not fret about it, this is a normal thing.
Then run cold water through item to rinse it until there is no more soapy water. Then squeeze the water gently out of the fabric.
Once this is done, hang the item to dry. You could lay it flat or tumble dry it on low. All these will depend on the instructions on the item.
Daily machine washing
First, set your machine to a normal cycle. For colored items, select cold. For white swaddles and wraps, go instead for hot.
Be sure to snap all snaps and zip all zippers before you put the items in the washing machine. This helps prevent these fastenings from snagging. Also, for the same reason. Once done, promptly remove the items from the washing machine and tumble dry them low.
Stubborn stains: pre-treating
Caring for babies can get messy. Babies can get serious stains on their clothing. To spot clean any such stains, mix a chlorine-free bleach with water; this creates a pasty substance. Take this substance and rub it gently with a toothbrush or stain brush into the stain.
Alternatively, you may want to soak a stain. Simply fill a basin (or sink) with hot water and bleach (chlorine-free). Soak the stained item(s) for a minimum of one hour. Then rinse the dirty water out. You may have to repeat the process depending on the stubbornness of the stain.
There will always be minor differences in the care and maintenance procedures. Whatever the case, the tips provided here should apply across the board.