Guest reviewer Janet Butler-McPhee is a proud Nova Scotian and recent transplant to Toronto (but confesses her heart still belongs to NYC). She is the proud newbie mom of one sweet baby girl, and currently on maternity leave from her non-profit communications work in HIV and human rights. Janet spends most of her days making googly eyes at her four-month-old while singing show tunes – always in perfect pitch, of course. She hopes – in a non-pushy way, obviously – that someday her children will appear on Broadway and dazzle the masses, thus fulfilling her own personal dreams. Janet received one pack of Perlimpinpin‘s muslin swaddle blankets.
Full confession: I am a total newbie at this whole mommy thing, with less than four months under my belt at the time of this writing. My desk job in communications probably makes me more qualified to write this review than does my actual mommy experience. But if I’ve learned one thing in my short tenure as mom, it’s that swaddling is key for my baby . . . and my sanity.
I learned how to swaddle straight out of the gate, with an in-depth tutorial from my midwife (shout out to midwives in Ontario – they rock!). Before I even knew if my kid was a willing “swaddle-ee”, I could tie a teddy bear into a swaddle straight jacket like nobody’s business.
As it turns out, Miss Maeve loves to be swaddled. Nay, needs to be swaddled. It’s basically the only way I can get her to sleep and, as such, is the single most important parenting strategy I’ve learned to date. But I’ve also learned the hard way that a good swaddling job lives and dies by the quality of the swaddling blanket. It is from this vantage point that I set out to review the Perlimpinpin swaddle blankets sent my way by the lovely Mommy Gearest.
Perlimpinpin is an award-winning Quebec-based company, and I am always thrilled to support Canadian-made products. At $30 for a set of two 100 per cent cotton muslin blankets, the price is comparable to other premium brands that I’ve used.
I decided to kick gender stereotypes to the curb and order the two-pack of swaddling blankets in “Oiseau Bleu” – I confess I am suffering from pink fatigue, though “Lion Rose” (the “female” option) was nice enough. The blue and grey-brown designs I received were sweet and simple: one a nice geometric design and the other decorated with little birdies. Super cute, and since Miss Maeve can’t tell me her taste just yet, these suited me just fine.
After several washings, the Perlimpinpin swaddles still looked quite new with no fading whatsoever.
The blankets themselves are quite large in size – even bigger than some other brand-name swaddlers – and plenty big for a nice, tight wrap. Though the instructions note that five per cent shrinkage is normal, I thought it might be slightly less than that when I washed the blankets the first time. I didn’t notice a lot of stretch, which is normal with muslin, and that can be a plus or minus depending on your school of swaddling thought. (Hint: You’ll learn my bias when you read through to “The Gaffe.”)
The fabric used in the blankets is quite breathable, and because April/May in Toronto was a bit of a gong show in terms of weather fluctuation, I was pleased to note that the swaddlers seemed to provide just the right temperature no matter the goings-on outside. (To be clear, we’re trying to be green by avoiding jacking up the heat or the air conditioning with every whim of our beloved Canadian weather.)
The major issue I had with these swaddling blankets was twofold: first, the fabric remained quite stiff despite several washings; and second, there is not a lot of “give” in the fabric for ease of swaddling. The first is an issue for me only because when I compare the softness of this fabric to other swaddles I have used, the Perlimpinpin swaddle isn’t my preference. It just isn’t quite as soft.
The second issue I had stems from my preference for swaddles that have a little bit of flexibility, as I find this makes for a tighter swaddling job – thus preventing my little Houdini from escaping overnight. I can imagine those who prefer muslin fabric or swaddles that aren’t super stretchy (or who are using it as the outer blanket of a double swaddle) would really love the Perlimpinpin muslin swaddle blanket. It’s just a personal choice (in my case, dictated by my daughter who much prefers a fabric baby prison that’s on full lockdown at all times).
[Editor’s note: I personally LOVE muslin because it’s light and thin but temperature-regulating; however, Janet’s right: if your baby prefers a really tight swaddle – remember, not too tight! – then you should probably look for something with a bit of Lycra in it. But if you’re double-swaddling, muslin is an ideal outer swaddling blanket.]