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How do I wean off swaddling, then?

(15 Posts)
ElphabaTheGreen Tue 06-Jan-15 21:11:33

I've swaddled DS2 (5mo/22wks) for all night sleep and some naps since birth, using a muslin or flannelette sheet. It's been very useful for getting him to go to sleep in his cot rather than being held/fed to sleep, and I'm pretty sure it keeps him asleep longer than it otherwise would (although he's still awake pretty much every two hours through the night <yawn>).

Problem is, he's starting to wrestle his hands up to his mouth as he rouses. Once a hand gets to his mouth, he gets annoyed that it's not a dummy or a boob hmm I can feed him and put him down but if he's not re-swaddled, he lies there huffing and muttering at his non-compliant bloody hands. confused

Re-swaddling once or twice a night is getting on my wick and I'd really like to be done with it. I've tried swaddling with one arm out but he waves it around like he's hailing a bus and neither goes to, nor stays asleep, partly because he knocks his dummy out.

Any tips?

PS I'm not interested in buying a Sleepyhead or similar which I know a lot of people swear by. They cost a bomb and I'd still have the issue with the hands not magically transforming themselves into the suckable objects of choice.

Thanks in advance! smile

fatpony Wed 07-Jan-15 07:16:47

Two nights ago we just stopped swaddling my ds at 12 weeks. He was in a full swaddle (miracle blanket). Didn't seem to notice! I thought his wandering hands would wake him up and they do but he seems to settle ok himself. Maybe just go for it/cold turkey? Others do the one arm out for naps then two arms then one arm out at night for a few days...

mrshope Wed 07-Jan-15 08:21:25

I had this exact issue. Was driving me nuts!
I used a product called swaddle up to get him used to not having his hands pinned down. Used it for a few days and then went cold turkey to a sleeping bag.
It was ok at night after a couple of nights but naps were harder as he would settle but then startle himself awake hmm
I would really reco the swaddle up (think they are about £20 from Amazon) means they can suck their hands and soothe themselves but their arms don't ping around and wake them - my ds would smack himself in the head and get all angry!

I did this just before he turned 5 months - his night sleeping got so so much better once he was out of the swaddle.
Naps on the other hand...

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 07-Jan-15 08:56:55

That's OK - his naps are pretty shit at the best of times unless they're on me (currently trying to knock him out with a good dose of boob as we speak...not...complying...hmm) but £20 seems reasonable for an experiment. I've tried going cold-turkey a couple of times but he just gets riled, waves his arms around and plays smack down with the dummy until he's into over-tired land, and then we're stuffed. I re-swaddle (whilst swearing under my breath) and he's practically falling asleep while I'm doing it.

5madthings Wed 07-Jan-15 09:02:40

It depends on.the baby, my first four all grew out of being swaddled very quickly. But 5 loved it and would only sleep swaddled until about 16-17 months! Like you I was re swaddling in the night, but she was in our bed so I didn't have to get up to do it. I also became very adept at swaddling her arms tightly, not her hips/legs though they need to be froggy position due to hip development. Anyway she loved it and it meant she slept, she gradually grew out of it so it was just for bedtime etc and she slept fine in pushchair in the day etc.

Was a very gradual process.sorry that doesn't help.

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 07-Jan-15 09:21:43

No, it does help, thanks smile It's useful to know that she was swaddled for so long as I wasn't sure how long it was done for (I didn't do it at all with DS1).

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 07-Jan-15 09:22:21

Oh, and yes it's really arms only. Have never swaddled around the hips for that reason.

mrshope Wed 07-Jan-15 10:36:49

Elp- sounds exactly the same as us
I would be reswaddling him and as soon as his arms were pinned he was asleep.
Try the swaddle up - ann from nurturing sleep recommended another similar product - which I now can't remember but it was basically the same.
Let me know how you get on! X

mrshope Sat 10-Jan-15 21:29:17

How's it going elph? Any luck?
Here's the product ann recommended
The zipadee zip.

ElphabaTheGreen Sat 10-Jan-15 21:39:51

Ah, well if Ann recommended something similar it will most definitely work! That woman knows my children better than I do! grin

Swaddle Up just arrived today and he's asleep in it now. Took a bit longer than he normally would falling asleep but he wasn't unhappy - just muttered and grunted a bit and yawned noisily before he conked out. I wasn't sure on the size as going on weight he's a medium and on length he's a large. I went for the large so as not to squish his toes but he may not get quite the squeeze he likes...we shall see!

mewkins Sat 10-Jan-15 21:48:43

Ahh you have my ds! He is 6 months old and was weaned off the swaddle for nights easily at 4 months but still needed it for naps until about a month ago. I think it's because naps are lighter sleep si yes he would constantly startle himslef awake. We went through a phase of appalling naps with the swaddle as he wanted his hands so I just went cold turkey as figured he couldn't be any worse off! After a few days he was fine. He loves to suck his fingers to sleep so it was disturbing him to not be able to reach them. I have noticed that now he has to have a fistful of sleeping bag plus fingers in mouth to get to sleep (have a video monitor- fascinating! )

ElphabaTheGreen Sat 10-Jan-15 21:53:13

I'm happy to carry on swaddling fully for naps if I need to. It's the midnight...2am...3:30am...5am re-swaddling that is sending me potty.

It would also be nice for DH to try and put him to bed, but he's so cack-handed at doing a tight swaddle, there was no point in him even trying. You should see him trying to tie a wrap sling. It's even worse grin

mrshope Sun 11-Jan-15 08:47:08

It's horrible to watch them startle isn't it?
Especially when they have self settled so well only to be woken 10mins later by their bloody startle.
My ds would twitch and startle til he then woke up.
It is definitely getting better but slowly!

Hope the swaddle up helps elph x

ElphabaTheGreen Sun 11-Jan-15 10:43:31

He doesn't actually startle anymore. It's a voluntary half-awake wriggle as he moves into the next sleep cycle where he starts working his arms and hands up to his face. He gets the occasional little jazz hand when asleep but not the full arm Moro reflex startle.

Promising start last night...he took a lot longer to go back to sleep after each wake up with a bit of huffing, but he didn't descend into rage the way he does when left partially or fully unswaddled.

I hope it works too. Thanks for the tip! smile

mewkins Sun 11-Jan-15 19:15:55

I reckon if he has lost the startle reflex he will be fine after a few nights.

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