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Thrashing arms during sleep

(12 Posts)
EmW1987 Tue 24-Jan-17 10:40:02

My daughter is now 11 weeks and outgrowing her Moses basket. We've got a Chico next to you (although aren't actually attaching it to the bed) and have a grobag sleeping bag. However her arms just thrash around at night and wake her up. When we had the her in the basket we used to tuck her arms by her side - effectively swaddling her but without fully wrapping her. However this isn't an option in the Chico as the cot is wider.
I wanted to know if anyone else seems to have the same problem - is swaddling the only answer? I'm fine with swaddling her, although I'm paranoid about the 4 month sleep regression and concerned that by swaddling she won't have her hands to self soothe. Has this been an issue for any of you?
We did try the love to dream but she wasn't fussed on it.
I'm torn between trying to swaddle so that we get a good nights sleep but then I'm worried she won't be able to self soothe and don't want to make things more painful in the long run, or do we persist with the grobag with her arms out with the hope that she'll learn to control her arms?

FATEdestiny Tue 24-Jan-17 12:05:38

What are you expecting her arms to start being needed for next month?

If she likes being swaddled, swaddle. If she doesn't, don't. I'm not sure why you would choose not to, if she seems to like it?

Anyhoo, if for whatever reason you don't want to swaddle you could try a tightly tucked in sheet - over sleeping bag and wrapped all the way under the mattress.

EmW1987 Tue 24-Jan-17 14:04:54

Hi @FATEdestiny
It's more that I'm conscious arms or rather hands can be a good way of them self settling and if I swaddle her then I'm worried she's not going to learn this skill. Im happy to swaddle but don't want it to be an issue when the time comes and I can no longer swaddle i.e. I don't want to make it harder for her to sleep if the only way she can sleep is being swaddled. I was interested to know when arm control tends to happen or if it really is something that differs for all babies.

FATEdestiny Tue 24-Jan-17 15:46:53

Honestly, you're over thinking it.

I take it you are hoping for a hand/thumb sucker? If you have a hand sucker, she'd be doing it already. Have you tried a dummy?

Timetogrowup2016 Tue 24-Jan-17 15:49:47

Dd needed to be swaddled until 5.5 months to sleep when she just out grew it her self and could sleep well In her grobag.

EmW1987 Tue 24-Jan-17 16:13:09

Ha @FATEdestiny unfortunately that's my problem! I find myself overthinking and analysing everything! I think I'm so scared of this 4 month sleep regression and all these bad habits that I'm paranoid about developing things that are harder for us to stop!
She does have a dummy - and it really does help her settle (I actually don't know how people can survive without one) but once she's in a deep sleep she spits it out and then im worried that once 4months comes we will have to get up constantly because she won't be able to get back to sleep without it. She does constantly suck her hands during the day.
@timetogrowup2016 did your little one just transition okay?
I feel like her sleep dominates my life at the moment!

spacepoodle Tue 24-Jan-17 17:03:38

I thought my baby would never stop whacking himself in the face/startling awake! He has much more control over his arms now. Try not to panic about things that haven't happened yet. My boy is 4.5 months and everything seems to be going okay so far - the most important thing for us has been implementing a nap routine.

Until recently I'd have to swaddle him in a Miracle Blanket as he had a very strong startle reflex and his arms would flail everywhere. He'd escape everything other attempt at swaddling and wake up. When he hit 13/14 weeks I would find him with an arm poking out of his Miracle Blanket (I have no idea how he managed to wriggle it out) so we went cold turkey on the swaddle and moved to sleeping bags.

It took him a few days to completely settle down but he learnt to self-soothe with his hands/arms. I give him a dummy for naps but he's never been a massive fan - he would rather suck on his hands/arms and stroke his face. If I do use a dummy at night it generally doesn't wake him up if it falls out unless it gets stuck under his head. Hopefully it will all go okay for you.

FATEdestiny Tue 24-Jan-17 18:25:18

(I actually don't know how people can survive without one)

I agree.

It's telling that a good 75% of the threads on the Sleep board are from babies without a dummy. Close to 99% of the over 12 month old poor sleeper threads are babies without a dummy.

once she's in a deep sleep she spits it...

That's what is supposed to happen. Once in a deep sleep, babies jaw muscles relax and the dummy drops. The dummy is for getting to sleep, not staying asleep.

If you have a light sleeper who wakes often, that's not to do with the dummy. It's a seperate issue (which the dummy will make a lot easier to deal with).

The way to have a deep sleeper (rather than a light sleeper who wakes often) is simply having lots of sleep. The more sleep baby gets, the easier and deeper they sleep. So make sleeping as easy as possible.

...then im worried that once 4months comes we will have to get up constantly because she won't be able to get back to sleep without it

You need to reset your expectations.

Yes, baby WILL need you to put their dummy back in when she wakes. She won't develop the manual dexterity skills to do that herself until 7-10 months (child specific, they all develop motor skills at different rates).

So yep, "dummy runs" (going to baby just to plug dummy back in) are a thing. You cannot change that. The best you can do is to try for a baby who sleeps deeply and doesn't wake often. Then you have fewer dumny runs. The way to do that is to make sleeping easy for baby and get as much sleep as possible. So not swaddling when baby like a being swaddled wont help there.

Timetogrowup2016 Tue 24-Jan-17 18:43:36

Keep the dummy,
Once they can re insert own dummy they pay off majorly

richmondone Fri 27-Jan-17 08:36:39

I wouldn't worry that a baby's only way of soothing themselves is with hand sucking, mine moves her head from side to side and it seems to calm her. She's 7 months old and her hands are a distraction at bedtime rather than a comforter because she rubs her eyes and wakes herself up. So I'd go with a swaddle if it works

Personally I don't think you can plan ahead for the sleep regression. Others may disagree, but my experience was that you just have to get through it with a lot of parental intervention, the baby is too young to self soothe. We had a bad sleep regression, but I don't see what I could have done differently either before it or during it, think I just had to wait it out I'm afraid. If you're planning ahead for it, I'd focus on thinking about who can give you a bit of a break during the daytime or weekends so you can nap! Also, some of my (lucky) friends didn't have a sleep regression at 4 months, I'll keep my fingers crossed you are like them!

EmW1987 Sat 28-Jan-17 10:02:42

Thanks all - @richmondone it's good to know that you don't think you could have done anything differently, I'm definitely guilty of over analysing everything so maybe I just need to go with the flow and accept what will be.

Unfortunately it now seems that my daughter doesn't want to be swaddled - the last couple of nights she has really fought it, it seems she wants her arms up even though she can't control them. We have tried the love to dream and she just screamed the house down.

Hoping she will learn to control her arms very soon as I'm bloody exhausted!

spacepoodle Sun 29-Jan-17 20:47:33

OP can you swaddle with one arm out?

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