For the past few weeks, Julia has been resisting the swaddler and has been breaking out of it at night, thus getting her arms free. The problem is that when her arms are free, then she startles in her sleep and that wakes her up and she hasn’t yet learned how to self-soothe to put herself back to sleep. (I know that sleep training is designed to make them learn how to self-soothe and that eventually she will need to learn how to put herself back to sleep but right now she hasn’t figured it out… and I’ve watched her on the monitor when she starts to cry if she’s unswaddled–her arms and legs flail around so much that she can’t figure out how to get her thumb in her mouth, she can’t yet pick up the pacifier to put that in her mouth, and she just gets so worked up that there’s no way she’d be able to get back to sleep!) When Julia was first born, the hospital (and some friends of ours) taught us the importance of swaddling and taught us how to swaddle using basic swaddling blankets.
The problem with swaddling blankets is that there’s no real way to attach them, and they’re very hard to get tight enough that the baby feels secure and cozy. They also become undone very easily. So, at the beginning, we used Halo Sleep Sack Swaddlers from Pottery Barn Kids. (A friend of ours gave us one for my Baby Shower and after we used it the first time and realized how amazing it was, we bought 2 more!)
These worked great at the beginning because she still wasn’t strong enough to break out of them. They work kind of like a continual release sleeping pill–they helped her get to sleep and stay asleep! I remember the first time we put her in one of the swaddlers, it was after her bath… she was all worked up and when we put her in the swaddler she immediately calmed down and was happy just lying on the changing table looking around at everybody. (This was our first weekend home from the hospital–my mom was staying with us and Ken’s parents were in town to meet the baby. We got some great pictures of her while she was calm and alert!)
Eventually she started to grow out of the swaddlers–they do make them in sizes “Newborn” and “3 months” and the ones we had were size “Newborn.” Now she is too long to fit into them anymore, so Ken ordered a couple in the next size up. The material is slightly different on the new ones we bought, so it’s hard to get them as tight as the ones we had from Pottery Barn, but they worked pretty similarly.
The problem we’ve been having for the past few weeks, though, is that she breaks out of them–when she gets worked up and gets her arms out, then she can’t get back to sleep. I know that eventually she needs to learn to put herself back to sleep on her own but my mommy instinct was telling me that she still needs to be swaddled. So last night, we put her in the Miracle Blanket that a friend of ours let us borrow. We had used it a few times before with success, but it’s kind of a pain in the butt to put on her. It basically looks like a straight-jacket!
Anyway… last night I put her in her Miracle Blanket and put her in her crib to sleep after nursing her… she slept 7 hours, woke up to eat and then slept 3 more hours (at which point we had to wake her up so I could feed her before leaving for work… who knows how long she would have slept if we didn’t wake her up!)
So the moral of the story is TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS! I just feel like her startle reflex is still very strong and that she still doesn’t have good control over her arms and legs. Swaddling helps her get to sleep and stay asleep. So last night that’s what we did, and it worked!