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As with the thermometers, the special Grobag swaddling whatsits are an opportunity for the Grobag empire to persuade you to part with even more of your money to buy lovely, stylish versions of things you can buy cheaper elsewhere but don't want to by the time you see the Grobag version!
Swaddling is a very old-fashioned idea (ask your granny) - the theory is that if your baby is feeling uncertain/unhappy, it can be soothed by being wrapped up tightly in a blanket or similar. It's supposed to feel like being in the womb, and think about it - if you've spent the last couple of months of your 9 month tenancy being cuddled and held tight inside your mum, it'll feel great to be back in that sort of situation.
It's a nice idea, but it really only works for young babies. Some babies love it in the early weeks, some hate it any time. It's often worth a try if your baby is inconsolable, and it's certainly much easier to use something like these than to try to use a normal blanket.
The Grobag swaddling whatsit is a piece of thin, stretchy material (with a cute pattern on, of course) that lets you easily wrap your baby (feet first, using the little flap of material, then one long side of the material, tuck it in neatly, then take the other side and tuck it under the baby).
We tried the swaddling route a few times and it was useful on a few occasions. I also swaddled him a couple of times to try to keep his flaiing limbs under control when I was breastfeeding, and that worked quite well when he didn't find it irritating.
I would say that swaddling itself is definitely worth a try, but only you know whether the official Grobag swaddling cloth is necessary/good value for you. It is lovely and light and the material is stretchy and easily-washable. But it does shout "luxury item" and I wouldn't put it at the top of your wishlist - buy lots of babygros, a couple of grobags, lots of muslin cloths, some nappies and other essentials first...
When my daughter was born, the hospital used the same idea with a cotton sheet, nothing else just wrapped in this sheet. So would a cotton sheet do as well, just have to take care not to let baby get too warm.