Calling all Swaddlers!!!

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a joyous holiday!

I’m really struggling lately because there are things I want to post about but this still doesn’t feel like an appropriate forum as they are all to do with Muppet. I really miss the sense of community I had when going through infertility on this blog. I wish I had a place equally as supportive to help along this path of motherhood.

That being said I REALLY need some help I don’t know where else to turn. So this is a question for all mothers out there who have swaddled their babies. Muppet has been swaddled since she was born, and in turn she has always been a great sleeper. Up until recently she was sleeping 6-7 hours at night before taking a bottle and going back to sleep for another 4-5 hours.

Then the ear infection hit. Double ear infection to be more precise. It’s greatly affected her sleeping. But I can handle getting up more than once to feed her during the night, and she is getting better. My problem currently lies in swaddling. At 3 1/2 months Muppet learned to roll from her back to her tummy. A week later she rolled from tummy to back so she is on the move. I’ve always heard that you should stop swaddling when they start rolling as they could roll to their tummy in their sleep and then not have their arms available to push themselves up if their face is in the mattress.

I put off the transition because we were traveling and every time we’ve tried to unswaddle her at night it has been a disaster. But now I’m running out of excuses. We are home, her ear infection is fading, and we want to be able to move her to her own room at 6 months and I don’t think I’d feel comfortable doing that if she is still swaddled.

So last night I decided we were gonna do it. Instead of her swaddle I put her in a sleep sack and off we went to bed. She went down easy and the first hour and 45 minutes she slept great. Of course this was the time that J and I were still up though. We went to bed and within 15 minutes she was squirming and startling herself awake and clawing at her face with her hands. I tried to comfort her by putting her in bed with me but it did no good. The longest she slept after that was 10 minutes and it was with her binky in her mouth. If it fell out, all bets where off.

I gave up around 1 am. I hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep, my child was screaming because she was so tired and could figure out how to sleep, and J had to work in the morning. So with my head held low like a defeated dog I wrapped her in her swaddle, gave her a bottle and straight to bed she went.

Now I have no idea what to do and I’m terrified to try again. At this point I will be swaddling her when she is in kindergarten. I should mention I really don’t want to spend money on all these fancy sleep suits or stuff like that. We are kinda minimalist that way which really puts us in a rough spot.

So any mothers have any suggestions on how I can ween her from the swaddle while still getting a little sleep? How did you do it?




Filed under Baby Girl, Sleep training, Stay At Home Mom

21 responses to “Calling all Swaddlers!!!

  1. If she is still startling herself awake at night she might not be quite ready to stop swaddling yet. That said, i would suggest not swaddling her during nap times, as a start. I have also read that you can wean them from swaddling by swaddling with the feet out, and then the arms one at a time, and then stopping altogether. Not yet a mom, but I’ve done a lot of reading, and I’m a former nanny. Good luck to you!

    • That is what is so wierd…she has never used a swaddle for naps and she does just fine! In fact yesterday before we tried to un-swaddle her for bed, she took a 2 1/2 hour nap. Longer than she went last night! I’ve heard about the 1 arm at a time thing though, maybe I’ll try that.

  2. Wow – a roller already! My twins, now 5.5 months old, can sort of kind of roll from stomach to back…but not the other way around. Impressive! Therefore, I don’t know how much help I can be but I can offer my support. We just sleep trained the twins about 2 weeks ago, ditching swaddles, ditching rock n plays, and putting them in the same room in cribs. Many changes. In regards to swaddling, I spent a week or so leaving one arm out of DS’s swaddles during his naps. I would rotate between the arms. As for DD, I put her in the Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit, because it’s still very heavy on her body and still stops that reflex. But I know you mentioned not wanting to buy anything else which I understand.

    So I’m afraid I’m not too much help – if the reflex is still there, she would do best in something heavy, or keep swaddling until it’s gone. But if the reflex doesn’t seem to be the issue, I would do what the other commenter said and do one arm out during naps as a start. Or, swaddle her for the first part of the night but then when she wakes up to feed, assuming she’s still very sleepy, unswaddle her then and see if she’ll go the rest of the night without.

    • I’ve read about the Merlin Sleep suit, I’m also looking into the Zip-a-dee-zip. But again, I’m not sure if I want to spend the money. I’m not 100% sure if it is the startle reflex still, but she was raising her hands up to her face a lot and that was the issue. It’s like she doesn’t know what to do with her arms when they are free.

  3. I need to echo future soccer mom, because Muppet rolling over is a huge milestone! So impressive.

    Honestly, I wish I had some concrete advice. Grey was super nervous about swaddling, so the most we ever did was burrito the Beats from the waist down. This has always left their hands free. So transitioning to sleep sacks has been easy for us.

    One product I hear others rave about are the Merlin Magic Sleep suits. Supposedly these are great transitions for infants that love to be swaddled by are now rolling over. Again, I have no experience with this, but it’s something worth checking out.

  4. Trisha, We transitioned our babe to Merlin’s Magic sleep suit once he started rolling and it has worked like a charm. However, I’ve just started moving him into the sleep sack when I change him in the middle of the night. He is better able to self soothe and fall back asleep again in the sleep sack. He won’t go to bed without Merlin’s suit though.

  5. roadtofertility

    I could have written this post! Went through the same exact thing with one of my boys! He is five months and we tried to transition him out of swaddling and it was a horrible failure. We tried for a week, but he simply would NOT sleep. So we said, to heck with it, and went back to swaddling which has worked. I know people swaddle their babies for quite some time, but given your concerns I understand why you want to stop. A blogger friend recommended the “Merlin Magic Sleepsuit” which is supposed to help them transition from swaddle to non swaddle. Another friend recommended the Snuza, which is like a monitor thing (with good reviews by the way) that you put the baby that alarms if they stop breathing..that way if she sleeps more comfortable on her tummy, with the Snuza you could put her to sleep that way and have a sense of peace. Anyway, all in all, I wanted to let you know you’re not alone, your concerns are legitimate..we are going through it too, but just ended up giving in to swaddling. We don’t swaddle super tight though, so he can get his hands out if necessary.

  6. My girl was quite a bit older when she started rolling so we didn’t have quite the same experience but I used the Velcro swaddleme swaddles and I started leaving one arm out for a week or so then left both arms out and then sleep sack. It worked pretty well for us. Does your girl roll in the night? I would be tempted to keep swaddling if she isn’t since she is so young still she may need the wrap. I also heard and read about the Merlin suit but for me it was pretty expensive and I didn’t know if it would work for us so I decided not to buy it and just use the swaddles we had and modify it. Good luck!! And for the record I always check in with your site so I’m always up for mommy questions ask away 🙂

    • This is what I’m considering at the moment. She is still pretty young and she hasn’t attempted to roll in the swaddle yet so maybe I could buy some more time. I’m just so confused. I found a Merlin Sleepsuit on Craigslist for pretty cheap so I might see if it is still available.

  7. I had to stop swaddling my son who is about the same age as Muppet because I live in Australia and it just got too hot. It was a crap few nights. We got there in the end. Now he won’t sleep swaddled and we had to get sleep sacks for the cooler nights because he just kicks blankets off straight away. I could not afford anything new so charity shops and friends getting rid of their old stuff set me up. Good luck. Everything is so much harder after a great little sleeper has a bad night.

  8. Esperanza

    My daughter also had a really hard time sleeping without the swaddle and I think my son will too. With my daughter we transitioned her to a Woombie and then a Woombie Convertible, where we could keep one arm out. We had to have her like that, with one arm out, for MONTHS before we finally got the other arm out. It was rough. But she finally got it.

    This is a REALLY hard transition, one I am dreading going through again. My son so loves his swaddle, when he’s tired and fussy all we have to do is put him in it and he immediately settles down. It’s incredibly how fast it happens. I can’t imagine how hard it’s going to be without the swaddle–actually I can, as I’ve done it before.

    Good luck!

  9. Have you considered that it’s not just the swaddle? She could be waking up because of a growth spurt or wonder week. Also, this was a crucial time for us to really pay attention to what he was doing before we rushed in. Sometimes letting them fuss for a minute is helpful. She might surprise you and resettle herself. Just a thought.

    When we weaned from the swaddle, I had the same fears. My compromise was to swaddle loosely so his arms could break free if needed. Other than that, I second what others have said about trying it for naps first and still swaddling overnight. Good luck! It will get easier!

  10. Mom of 2

    It sounds like she’s not rolling while swaddled yet so I think you do have more time. We swaddled until almost 6 months when the DDs were breaking out of even Velcro swaddles. Then it was pretty easy to transition. The Moro reflex lasts til 4-5 mo so your baby is likely startling herself when not swaddled. If you can I recommend keep swaddling if she’s not rolling while swaddled.

  11. I don’t think there is anything wrong with posting about motherhood here. I’m also “on the other side” having had one child so my perspective may different though. I like rejoicing with you in motherhood, even through the challenges. As for the swaddling you may have success just slowly loosening the swaddle over time. I swaddled for almost 7 months. If your concerned about rolling you could try a bed positioned to help prevent it. Good luck!

  12. Stacey

    We used a woombie and then a zip-a-dee-zip to transition out of a swaddle. They were very helpful! A lifesaver.

  13. amy

    Have you tried a one arm swaddle? It was a great transition for our little guy. He actually did it himself, he started sticking one of his little arms half way out of the swaddle and then it just kinda naturally progressed from there to no swaddle. At least it seems that way in the fog of memory 8 months later…. 😉 Good luck!

  14. I have a seven month old who would still be swaddled if it let her. She slept like a dream until 4.5 months and went thru a wakeful period. She was in a rock n play, swaddled and refused the crib entirely. Once she outgrew the RNP I had to move her, but like your LO, she could roll over so couldn’t be swaddled. And the one arm out thing didnt work for us. Enter the magic Merlin sleep suit. It indeed has magical powers. She loves that thing and, while still waking twice a night, she sleeps fine in her crib now. The great thing about the sleep suit is it comes in teo sizes and should fit my LO until shes 10 months or so. I also discovered that her heavy fleece Patagonia snow suit works as well. If you live in a cold climate and have something like that I’d give that a try before investing $40 in the sleep suit.

    If you check out my blog I’ve written a few posts about our sleep woes in the last several months. She’s nowhere near the dream sleeper she once was, but it’s not horrible and she absolutely will not sleep at all without that suit on.

    Good luck!

    PS. I think you should keep blogging her. Blogs are fluid and evolve over time. 🙂

  15. I too use the Zipadeezip and it works so great! My son loves it.

  16. You know I just reread your first blog and noticed the terrible ear infection Muppet suffered through. I just realized that part of the reason I use a Zipadee-Zip on my son is because I am afraid of him contacting germs! So whenever I go out, I will put my little guy in one . I’m certain it keeps germs at bay! 🙂

    • Hey Priscilla,

      Thanks for this tip! I had thought about doing this but was not sure if I could use the Zipadee-Zip all the time. I was using it to basically help my son condition to going to sleep every time I put it on him.

  17. I just stopped swaddling. My little one began busting out of her swaddle. I would find her in her crib with her arms out and crying. Like a few of the moms who commented above, I too started using a swaddle transition blanket from Zipadee-Zip. My kid loves it! and can finally sleep!

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