Swaddling baby and moving on (or not).
A mid-wife swoops in, swings your little one around so fast you hardly see her hands move, then BOOM, you’re introduced to the soothing power of the swaddle wrap. It makes perfect sense that your baby should feel comfortable in such strict confines. After all, they have practically had their own foot lodged in their ear for the past 40 weeks, so to hang loose must feel totally alien. That, coupled with a baby’s natural startle reflex (or Moro reflex) which consists of involuntary twitches and spasms, a baby will wake more often if they are left with their limbs loose.
We were massive fans of swaddling Caleb and found it a real comfort to him. Also, when it came to establishing a night routine we used swaddling as another way to distinguish between day time napping and night time sleep. We decided not to co-sleep with Caleb and to keep him in a crib at the bottom of the bed. I know for a fact I wouldn’t sleep soundly if he was in the bed with us. As it is I drag him in next to me for feeding, and often jolt from sleep searching for him like a lunatic even though I’ve long returned him to his crib. So, to have him next to me constantly would definitely cause me sleepless nights.
Here’s how it’s done.** Image from the net, not my own awesome drawings.
Another concern for us was the temperature of the room at night, and getting the blankets right to suit. We got the GroEgg room thermometer and it seriously put our minds at ease. Any room thermometer would do, but this one is cute to look at, easy to read, and acts as a night light too. I presumed our room a lot colder than it actually is, and the recommended sleeping temperature for baby (16-20C) is actually cooler then we would have imagined too. So at least with the thermometer we have an accurate reading to go on when choosing blankets etc. On warmer nights we used the Gro-swaddle because it’s nice and light, and then tucked in a cellular blanket over it. Alternatively, in the warmer weather a large muslin cloth would be ideal for swaddling. While on cooler nights we swaddled in a small cellular blanket and then put another on top too. I’ve seen fleece lined swaddles in TKMaxx which would be a pretty snug option for the colder weather if you preferred.
Just before Caleb turned four months old we decided to ditch our beloved swaddle wrap. NO!!! I hear you cry. Well, as baby gets bigger he’s better able to kick off his blankets, plus if he were swaddled too tightly and managed to turn himself over it causes a smothering risk. It obviously got colder in January too, and we figured he wasn’t warm enough.
We opted to use a sleep-suit which we got in Mothercare. It’s 2.5 tog rating and recommended that you use it in place of blankets (We did put a light single layer over him so we could tuck it in and keep him feeling secure). The GroBags are another alternative but they don’t cover baby’s arms and we thought the sleep-suit was a more cozy all over option.
The first couple of nights didn’t go so well in the sleep-suit and Caleb was waking every couple of hours. I reverted back to the swaddle for a night or two (partially because it got oddly warm and partly to test if that was the reason he was waking) and then tried leaving his arms loose again after that. We were pretty sure we’d seen the last of the swaddle but things kinda went from bad to worse. It’s so hard to know what’s going on with a restless baby. We tried feeding, not feeding, soother, walking the floor, white noise, all the tricks in the book really but were still not getting more that five hours at his longest sleeping session. Anyway, we came to the conclusion it was four month sleep regression and kind of took to tackling that. Not that it makes any difference what bloody label you put on it. All we’re trying to achieve is a few consecutive hours of sleep and no, we haven’t reached that point yet, swaddle or no swaddle.
Read about our four month sleep regression no messin’ session here.
Awwwww. Look at that tiny little head. Just a couple of weeks old here. *sigh