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Is swaddling a blessing or a curse...

(16 Posts)
grace11 Mon 25-Jan-16 15:29:52

I've been swaddling my dd2 - she's now 7 weeks - as she would only sleep on me and midwives suggested this as the magic solution. It has helped - along with lots of other stuff - but I've been told by someone now that I need to get rid of the swaddle asap before she becomes addicted and can't sleep without it. However, I've tried without it - or one arm out - and she just wakes and hits herself in the face and then becomes hysterical as she can't get to sleep. I'd be interested in hearing what other people think of swaddling and experiences of getting rid of it and when. I feel 7 weeks is too young to start getting rid of it and teaching her to sleep without it as this inevitably will involve crying and especially for a baby that really struggles with sleep and wants to be held 100% of the time. I feel irrationally stressed about it all - was lying awake last night worrying...

StringTheory Mon 25-Jan-16 16:10:18

I didn't try swaddling till around the same time and that first night I cried instead of slept with frustration that I didn't try it sooner - for us it was a miracle. He's now 2.4 and definitely no longer requires a swaddle. I think it went around 5/6 months when he reflexes stopped his arms from moving when he relaxed. Keep going with it, your DD will tell you when she has grown out of it. There is no such thing as teaching a baby to sleep, they learn it themselves when they are ready. If it works then it doesn't matter, just follow the guidance online to ensure you are doing it safely.

WilLiAmHerschel Mon 25-Jan-16 16:12:00

When my dd reached a certain level of mobility she didn't like to be swaddled anymore. I don't see how it can do any harm... I've not yet met an adult who has to be swaddled to sleep!

FATEdestiny Mon 25-Jan-16 16:50:12

Blessing, without doubt.

OP, you are over-thinking and worrying unnecessarily. As long as baby likes being swaddled, let her be swaddled.

enderwoman Mon 25-Jan-16 17:06:04

It's a replacement for a uterus so makes the baby feel safe in the "fourth trimester "

I've never heard of it being a curse.

mrsjskelton Mon 25-Jan-16 18:42:10

Some brilliant advice here ladies, I wasn't wondering about this myself but I'm glad I've stumbled across it!

grace11 Mon 25-Jan-16 18:53:47

Phew - ok I'll stick with it. Was wondering how on earth I'd manage without it. She does burst out sometimes and kick like a maniac, but it helps the initial getting to sleep not on me bit. Thank you xx

Mummabear88 Mon 25-Jan-16 19:00:14

It's an absolute blessing! My son loved it! I think he outgrew it at about 6/7 months (he was a late mover)!

amarmai Mon 25-Jan-16 19:14:05

my dd was told to swaddle by the sleep expert=she costs$$$$- so tried it. Baby houdini promptly wiggled out. Annoyed h snapped that my dd was not doing it tightly enuf , so he did-so much so i was fearful of crushed bones. But Baby houdini got out of that straight jacket too- while i silently cheered him on. Didn't work at all.

grace11 Tue 26-Jan-16 09:01:15

For those with babies that needed/loved the swaddle, how did you wean them from it - or did they just naturally reject it? I guess my issue is if they get too big to be swaddled but can't sleep any other way and can't control their arms at night - then you have a serious sleep issue!

StringTheory Tue 26-Jan-16 09:08:55

Grace11 babies/children develop and change constantly. The sleep habits of my 2 year old are very different to how he was as a baby. There's no such thing as 'weening off' anything as it all happens when they are ready. I've learnt this the hard way. As the saying goes, if it aint broke then don't fix it.

CityDweller Tue 26-Jan-16 13:15:39

I think it's mostly a blessing. Although we've been struggling a bit with sleep since we stopped swaddling DS for the reasons you're concerned about grace. Basically, he no longer fitted in the swaddle thingie I had and attempts to swaddle in something else failed (tried traditional swaddling in a big muslin and he just wriggled out also tried the Swaddle Up, which seems to work for many, but he just pawed at his face and woke himself up). But he seemed to need to be swaddled as we had issues with his arms - he either distracts himself by waving them around or he endlessly rubs his eyes which stops him from falling asleep - but he really seemed unhappy when he was being swaddled.

So, what I've done for now is put him in a sleeping bag but use an additional piece of fabric to do an arms only swaddle, so his arms are pinned by his side. Oh, and we started using a dummy too. He's more accepting of this at bedtime than naps though (which are now entirely hit and miss).

So, if swaddling is working for you now great! But be prepared that everything tends to change around 3-4 months once they get more mobile and more alert...

FATEdestiny Tue 26-Jan-16 14:28:09

For those with babies that needed/loved the swaddle, how did you wean them from it - or did they just naturally reject it?

It's not rejecting it, it is just less needed. As someone upthread mentioned, a swaddle recreates the tight, secure feeling of being in the womb and so babies find a lot of comfort in it for the 'fouth trimester' (where baby is just learning to be alive and will value environments that remind them of the security and calm of the womb).

I have found that if a baby hates being swaddled, this will be evident from birth. If baby loves being swaddled then it is likely they will always like that tight, secure feeling but will become less reliant on it as they develop other methods to sleep.

But a baby who likes a full swaddle as a newborn may also like:
- am arm-swaddle when older (as PP mentioned)
- Tightly tucked in sheets when in the cot
- Parents firm hand across chest/shoulders/back and even legs when in the cot to help them feel 'enclosed'
- Being held/cradled
- Being in a baby sling/carrier

So there are lots of ways to develop the same feeling of tight security that will become more appropriate as baby gets older.

But do remember that the NHS do not give a "stop swaddling by..." age. Many cultures swaddle babies long-term and the NHS guidelines recognise this and do not say don't do it.

My youngest was regularly swaddled until about 4 months old. She was then only occasionally swaddled (when especially fractious) and then she had a tight sheet (over her sleeping bag) tucked over her until about 7 months old and still continues to like being swaddled occasionally.

grace11 Tue 26-Jan-16 15:14:22

Thanks everyone, very helpful. I'm only questioning this as I was told it could become a problem. I guess part of me was worrying I was stopping her finding her thumb - dd1 sucks her thumb and has a blanket. I carry dd2 around in the sling a lot too and she sleeps really well in it so she's definitely a baby that needs to feel very close. Ok hopefully I'll stop stressing about it at 3am!

FATEdestiny Tue 26-Jan-16 15:19:42

It will be past the newborn stage until she has the physical dexterity to find her thumb.

Caterina99 Fri 29-Jan-16 02:45:30

DS liked to be swaddled. Here in the US we were told to stop swaddling him about 3/4 months when he could potentially roll himself over and so it wasn't safe. I tried going cold turkey one night but he wasn't happy so over about a week we gradually loosened it and then he was fine without it. We had a sleep sack that was like half sleeping bag half swaddle so once we stopped swaddling his arms we could still fasten the Velcro round his tummy so he still had that tight feeling but his arms free in case he rolled (which he never did for months) It's definitely a bigger thing in the US - lots of swaddling and transition products to choose from!

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