***This post was written over a series of weeks***
Vincent loves being swaddled when put to sleep. Once we transitioned him from a bassinet in our room to his crib in his room, he’s slept fairly well. I’m lucky to have such a great sleeper who rarely wakes up in the middle of the night. His typical sleeping schedule at night is sleeping from 9:00pm – 5:30/6:00am. Then I’ll change/feed/reswaddle him and he’ll sleep for another three hours in his crib. At under 4 months, I’ll take that any day!
Vinny has always been a mover. K (birthmom) told me that even while she was pregnant with him, he was always moving around in there. Recently, he’s been going crazy in his swaddles – bringing his legs up, moving all around, even flipping onto his side. So, I know everything says once they can roll from back to belly you need to stop swaddling, but the thing is, he can’t roll from back to belly yet. When he’s not swaddled he’s only rolled a few times from belly to back and never from back to belly. It’s still early for that milestone. But, Husband and I decided to start weaning him from the swaddle because he really does move himself all around while he is swaddled.
Day 1 – One arm out swaddle
I left his left arm out of the swaddle blanket, and he did really well. No issues at all. The sleep schedule was pretty much exactly the same as it had been. I think tonight I’ll try unswaddling his right arm. I’m not sure it makes a difference, but we’ll see how it goes.
Day 2 – One arm out swaddle
Well, he went to bed at 9:00 and was up around 2:30 to eat… I don’t think it was the swaddle, I’m pretty sure it was mostly because he was hungry. I left his right arm out this time, and it seemed to work well because he was able to get his hand to his mouth. When he woke up this morning (after going back to sleep when he was done with his 2:30 feeding) he was smiling and happy sucking on his hand instead of mad as hell being swaddled.
Day 4 – Both arms out swaddle
Ummmmm, I was a little too ambitious. This lasted about 2 hours, before I went back to the one arm swaddle. He kept waking himself up and wasn’t staying asleep. Sleeping is much more important than weaning from the swaddle in this mom’s book.
Fast forward to day number who knows because I stopped counting. I’ve been doing one arm out swaddle with Vincent for the past few weeks, and it’s been working really well. He doesn’t startle himself awake, and he still has some free movement should he feel the need to wiggle around. Today (We’ll call this New Day 1) I decided to try both arms out of the swaddle again.
Vinny rolls from belly to back when he feels like it. It’s not his favorite thing to do, but he still does it. Lately, he seems hell bent on rolling from his back to his belly. He hasn’t made it all the way, but he’s gone to his side plenty of times, which makes me think it’s time to free both arms on a regular basis. I mean, when you’re on your side, it’s just as easy to roll back onto your back as it is to roll onto your stomach.
New Day 1 – He’s asleep. I’ll let you know in the morning how the night was…
Update after about 3 weeks of no swaddling: Vincent does very well. Mommy, on the other hand, worries a lot because now he refuses to sleep on his back. His stomach in the only way he’ll fall asleep (and stay asleep). I put him to bed on his back and immediately he rolls over to his belly. (Side note – I can only fall asleep on my stomach too…finding things that I already have in common with my son makes me so incredibly happy!!) Every article I’ve read has said once kids are able to roll, then they’re fine to sleep on their belly because they can adjust themselves (or cry for Mom) as needed if they need to change positions. I believe that, but I still worry and check on him a gazillion times a night.
The moral of the story is this – your child will tell you when he/she is ready to be free of the swaddle, and when they’re sleeping without it, us mommies have to try to get some quality sleep too and trust that our babies will let us know if/when they need us in the middle of the night.