Saturday, January 19, 2013

Product Review - The Zen Swaddle

Hey readers! I don't generally do a lot of product reviews, but the folks at Nested Bean reached out to me through Twitter and offered to send me one of their Zen Swaddles to try out with the captain. As you may remember from my 5 Things I Forgot About Having a Newborn post, at that point we were getting about an hour a sleep every night. So we were willing to try about anything. Since Stevie is the one who has been using it, I asked her to write up a little review. Thanks for reading!


P.S. This is an unpaid review. They only sent us the product.

Hi readers! Stevie here. (Mom, wife, sometimes blogger). Remember that time John said something about wishing that hospitals would have given dads a class on making babies into calm burritos? (It is somewhere in Captain's birth story if you'd like to find it.) Well they really should have taught moms, too. Because we both suck at it. We never really needed to learn it with Duchess because she hated it. Like, screamed at the top of her lungs hated it. But Captain is another story.  He loves it. But that doesn't change the fact that John and I are absolutely horrible at it. If there were an infomercial for the swaddlers, John and I would be the ones in the beginning of the program who completely and embarrassingly mess it up.

awake baby
You call this swaddling? Let's stay up a while and talk about it.

Enter: zen baby. Ok, actually it’s Zen Swaddle by Nested Bean but the idea is the same. Zen Swaddlers make zen babies.

We got this bad boy in the mail right about the time that the Captain was moving past his I-sleep-all-the-freaking-time stage. He was starting to wake more at night and wanting to be awake and hang out. He would only sleep if I was holding him. Great for bonding. Bad for sleep.

Aside from handy Velcro that make it into Swaddling for Dummies, the idea behind the Zen Swaddler is that it actually has little pads that act as weights. It puts light pressure where the baby would feel if being held. So basically it’s supposed to mimic the sensation of mama holding the Captain without mama having to stay propped up in bed doing it at all hours of the night. Love you, son. Love you too, sleep.

The first night we used it, this was my Facebook post:

facebook status

It actually worked. Before that, the Captain had been getting up every hour to two hours to feed or just need to be held because he got out of his pitiful attempt at me swaddling him. The night we started using the Swaddler, he slept three hours straight. After that, started sleeping four hours straight at night. It’s been bliss. (Until he got sick, but that wasn't the swaddles fault.)

I was a little afraid it was going to need some fancy washing because of the weight packs but it’s actually machine washable. Which is good because Captain likes to christen things by throwing up all over them. Not kidding. 

The only bummer at this point is that he's already mostly grown out of it. It's supposed to fit up to 4 months but the Captain is a pretty big dude (over 8 lbs at birth and 12 lbs by his one-month check up). So we're a little bummed that we won't be able to use it much longer but it's been fabulous for the time we've had it. Good on you, Nested Bean. Good on you.

To summarize:

  • It worked. 
  • Captain liked it. 
  • I got more sleep.
  • $40.00 seems a bit steep. I could have used an extra one for extra pukey-poopy nights, but that could get expensive. 
  • It already seems like Captain is growing out of it, but we got it a month after he was born. So if you're going to get one for you or someone else, get it before the baby arrives. 
We don't really have a rating system, so I give it three green triangles and a half eaten, fresh banana. 


Mom (Stevie)

If you'd like to learn more about the Zen Swaddle you can go here


  1. My husband found the best swaddling technique. My son, 6 months now, still loves to be swaddled. Step-by-step directions may not translate well with just words but I'll try! Start with a big blanket or quilt. Not twin size, but definitely toddler bed size. Fold one corner down at an angle so it makes a triangle. Go about a quarter of the way down. Fold that piece back up on itself so that about 4 inches overlaps and the rest is a triangle above the blanket line. Place the baby so the tops of his shoulders are at the top of the doubled section of the blanket (head on the triangle). Grab one side of the blanket bring it over the baby securing arms as you go, then grab the other side. Don't be afraid to roll the baby one way or the other. We roll Shane so we can pin the blanket under him. He loves this swaddle!

  2. We teach the swaddling technique here in Colorado. It definitely takes lots of practice to do it. I recommend watching the video or reading the book "Happiest Baby on the Block" which will show you exactly how to do a tight swaddle. It also goes over 4 other methods of soothing a crying newborn (the 5 S's--swaddling, shushing, side lying, swinging and sucking. If you make sure to put the Captain's arms by his side and pull the blanket tight and tuck it under his tushy he will be less likely to squirm out of the swaddle. Don't swaddle with the arms bent!!! You are very crafty Stevie so I know that you could probably revise the Zen Swaddle to fit the Captain--maybe by sewing it onto another larger blanket. Many babies outgrow the comfort of swaddling by about 3-4 months anyway.

  3. Have you investigated the Woombie? My friend used it with her baby girl and they both slept better for it. Woombies come in all sorts of fabrics, firmness (ie Lil Houdini for extra wriggly babies) and sizes.

    Anyway here is the website - if you're interested. I wish you all the very best and hope you get longer sleeps soon.

  4. "Lil Houdini" - heh!

    I don't think it matters that he'll outgrow the Zen Swaddle soon. If he learns to sleep for longer periods of time through using it, it will train him to stay asleep for those longer periods forever after instead of waking up every 1.5 hours. Glad you're getting more sleep!

    I love your (and Dad's) blog posts--keep 'em coming!

    Mother to a 3-year-old and 11-month-old

  5. We use the First Years swaddle blankets. You put the baby in the pouch, pull the left side over the baby, pull the right side over the baby. And they come in different sizes.

  6. You just convinced me not to have any more kids. I don't think i could survive that whole not sleeping thing again. im still going through it and my kid is 1 now.

  7. My baby has been on Honest diapers since she was born. They are soft, quilted, and worked really well for watery poop. I would love to keep her on Honest. When she outgrew size 3, I bought small packs of size 4 diapers for her to try. They fits babies well. They are smaller, thinner and softer
    Jessica Alba Diapers