Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Goodbye Swaddle.. One of us will forget you.. One of us will miss you..

(This is an unnecessarily long play-by-play of our de-swaddling saga.. I’m saying that out loud so you don’t judge me for expecting you to read such things because apparently I’m insecure in a lot of ways. But, it’s something I want to remember :)

We have swaddled our baby boy since day one.

He has been escaping that swaddle since about day three. So, we had to get a more serious blanket after a few weeks that would hold him in better because he just could not sleep with those arms flailing around. It worked like a charm.. well, sort of. I mean, he didn’t always sleep because he was swaddled, but he never slept if he wasn’t.

For several weeks, he has been a night-waking maniac. Not every night, but enough nights that we were starting to feel it. We were unsure as to what was going on, but one thing was consistent: when we went in to him, he had escaped the swaddle blanket. He would calm down fairly quickly, and if I reswaddled him he would usually go back to sleep. This was confusing though, because we never knew if he was waking because he had escaped, or if he was waking to eat.

Well.. last Tuesday night, mama had had enough. She didn’t want to get up and reswaddle anymore. So she resolved, laying in her bed praying for sleep, that tomorrow we would end the swaddling. She knew it would be hard. She knew we had tried many times and had not been able to do it. But, it had to be done. It would be for the best, right?

So last Wednesday I was ready. We did our thing until it was time for nap #1. Here we go. I put him down unswaddled with the usual blankets and a little bunny to cuddle (we read that something soft to hold can help if they’re not used to having their hands free).

Things gradually escalated into the crying that I knew would come. But, he got himself to sleep! Victory, right?? He only slept for about 20 minutes and when he woke up it was just too much for him to get back to sleep. So I eventually got him and began what would be a long, tired, cranky haul until the next nap.

We made it close enough, so we went upstairs for another attempt. I put him down with his bunny and blankets and left. He slept for about 30 minutes (victory?), but when he woke up after crying for a while I could hear through the monitor that there was something over his face, so I went up to check on him.

I found a sweaty (oh yes.. crying = sweating), tear-stained baby being smothered by his sweet, little bunny, jittery and completely uncovered with cold hands and feet. Oh breaker of all hearts!! Why must you do this to me??

That bunny made me so mad, I threw him to the end of the crib. No more naps for you, bunny! Getting all up in my baby’s face! That’s right, to the corner with you! (I am a very protective mother.. have been since day one.. bugs on the stroller, say goodbye!)

I cuddled and loved my baby calm and put him back down hoping he might go back to sleep.

While he was not sleeping, I sent Ian the following email:

baby boy is screaming away..

He woke up about 1:30 and cried for about 10 minutes before I went up there because it sounded like his face was covered. Bunny was smothering him.. bad bunny! bunny no longer gets to sleep with him..

I calmed him down and put him down again and he started to cry, but kept calming down because of the paci. Well apparently the paci fell out at some point and he has just been screaming since.. I feel so bad! It's really hard knowing that I could make it all go away but am choosing not to. I just really think he'll benefit in the long run if he's not depending on the swaddle, but maybe I'm just being heartless.. Am I being heartless?

Anyway.. I love you.

I'm going to go rescue him.


I was fretting like nobody’s business about this decision. I just needed my husband to encourage me that I am not heartless and remind me that this will be so helpful for us in the long run.

Well. Here’s what I got..

Maybe we should just keep swaddling him, and let him work his way out of it naturally. I mean, he seemed to be doing that anyway. Conversely, perhaps we should just try using sleep sacks and avoid using killer-bunny.



Thanks hubby. Thanks. Just what I needed. Some ambiguous answer in philosopher-speak (you can always tell when his brain is still in philosopher mode because his sentences start with words like ‘conversely’) that is in NO WAY helpful.

So I continued to feel insecure, heartless, and discouraged. Fortunately, the baby I rescued was fairly chipper for the afternoon so I didn’t feel so bad.

Well we decided to try for a third nap since we knew he was so tired. Ian was home at this point and usually when he’s home, he gets Aed after his naps. He didn’t sleep at all for this one. Cried for a little while before we decided it was just too much and Ian went up to get him. When he found him the blankets were all bunched up around his shoulders not doing him a lick of good. Our baby is just too squirmy! So, we switched to the sleep sack for nighttime.

That first day was the worst. He adjusted very quickly to sleeping at night without the swaddle and is doing really well for naps, though still sometimes struggling a bit. I am free as a bird and we are all sleeping much better. I do have to mention though, he has managed to bust out of the zippered sleep sack once, that little Houdini!

As I was folding a swaddle blanket with some laundry, a wave of sadness came over me knowing that I would be putting it away for good this time (well.. at least until the next one comes along :). A phase of Aed’s childhood has passed already. Those swaddle blankets have been such a part of our journey, our struggle with a capital S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E, to get our baby to sleep. They are scarred with holes and sagging strings from the long nights and long days of trying to help Aed sleep. It didn’t seem possible that he didn’t need them anymore. But he doesn’t. He’s a big boy.

Swaddle blankets, you have served us well. Thanks. We will miss you. Well, at least I will in all of my sentimental gushiness. Aed forgets you existed already, and Ian has wanted you gone for a while now.. But, I’ll miss you dear blankets. I will.


  1. We also had a rough switch to no swaddle. We also use a sleep sack and would still be using it for Lily if she hadn't figured out how to unzip it. :) Now Callum can't sleep without his sleep sack. He chews on the left side of it and that is his comfort. That is much easier to break than thumbsucking, so we bought three sleep sacks and never go anywhere without one if we think he might need to sleep while we are there. (Took it on the airplane and it worked like a charm!)

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