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Lo keeps on rubbing his scalp, eyes, eyebrows if unswaddled, any advice?

(16 Posts)
myw1 Fri 05-Jun-09 22:35:05

My ds has always been swaddled for his sleep since birth. Now he is 5.5 months old and I have tried to wean him from swaddling at various times but was not successful. If I don't swaddle him, both of his hands will constantly rub (I put mittens on him to prevent scratching) his scalp, eyes and eyebrows and ears in cycles until the skin gets very red and hot, and then he would start to cry, but he would never stop until I hold his arms or swaddle him. He only does this during sleep times, but not during the day. He does have mild eczema at various part of his body, but there are no rashes on his scalp or eyes or eyebrows. I feel it is more like a habbit when he is tired and falling asleep. But I don't know how can I break this habbit, and i want to stop swaddling him now.
Are there any mums who have got similar experience with their los and what did you do? thanks

FrannyandZooey Fri 05-Jun-09 22:38:30

hmm i read the title and thought eczema
my ds2 was the same and i agree it seems partly a habit, but also his scalp does seem to get genuinely itchy (if nails uncut he will draw blood) when he is tired or half asleep, even though his eczema has cleared up months ago
i carried on swaddling tightly until a few weeks ago - he is 10 months now
any reason you want to stop swaddling?

Nahui Fri 05-Jun-09 22:38:37

Message withdrawn

myw1 Fri 05-Jun-09 23:11:10

The reason I want to stop swaddling is because I am hoping when he is 7 or 8 months old he will be able to hold the bottle and feed himself to sleep like my other two elder children did. I never swaddled dd and I did swaddle ds1 but managed to wean him by 8 weeks old.
I am a bit worried if I carry on swaddling him he gets used to it more and it will more difficult to wean. I can see now he is already used to it and if not swaddled he will flair his arms about or rubbs his scalp, lift up his legs, or wiggles his body and gets very active until he is overtired and starts to cry, but he cannot get relaxed and calms himself down. But on the other hand, he is getting stronger and always can break the swaddle and gets his arms out easily in his light sleep. As soon as he gets his arms out, he will start the rubbing and wakes up. He wakes up every 1 or 2 hours from 7 to 12 and 2 to 3 hours from 12 to 5 and then frequently waking from 5 onwards. I don't think the ezcema is so bad to make him wake up like this. I thought it might be because the swaddle is not as 'tight' as it used to be for him as he is stronger now. He used to sleep a bit better, but never brilliant. The frequent waking started about 4 weeks ago and has not improved any at all.

FrannyandZooey Sat 06-Jun-09 10:08:04

i would keep swaddling for now - i thought ds2 would never grow out of it, but age 10 months we just stopped and he actually slept better
are you treating his whole body for eczema including head?

mears Sat 06-Jun-09 10:12:39

I would continue with the swaddling to be honest if he is going to end up aggravating his scalp. Definitely sounds like an underlying eczema causing irritation. Will it be such a problem for him to be held for his last bottle? Not recommended these days but it is your choice.

myw1 Sat 06-Jun-09 16:56:58

FrannyandZooey, I did not treat his scalp for eczema as I don't see any rashes, although the skin looks a bit red. Now I am putting on emollient frequently on his scalp and see if it will help. When you stopped swaddling for your ds2 at 10 months, was it a gradual process or cold turkey? Did you try to stop before then and was it also unsuccessful? Would love to hear a bit more details.
Mears, I don't mind hold him and feed him as what I am doing right now (I am doing mixed feeding). But lots of books/internet I read suggest not to do so because when they wake up in the middle of the night, they would also want to be held. I had a hard time with dd and had to carry and rock her back to sleep until she was over 2 years old. Ds1 was a good sleeper and had no problem. So I am trying to be very careful with Ds2 at the moment, but sometimes I feel it is quite largely up to baby's individual character. What do you think?

FrannyandZooey Sat 06-Jun-09 17:16:15

i hope the emollient helps
we put it all over ds2 as a preventative measure - but he still scratches his head when tired / stressed
we did try to put him in a grobag instead of a swaddle about 2 months ago - was NOT a success - he thrashed around all night and i was very anxious listening to him in case he was scratching
however this time when we tried again we just went cold turkey and he was fine - in fact he slept better unswaddled
he is 10 months now though

about the rocking / feeding back to sleep - i know some books advise against this as it can lead to them needing your comfort throughout the night - but personally i think young children and especially young babies DO need the comfort of a parent in the night and that it's fine to give this to them
i know it is hard having broken nights, but this time goes so fast really, while they need us very intensely, and having their emotional needs met at nighttime as well as in the day is so good for their development and security
if you can have him nearby while you sleep it is easier to go to him when he needs you
ds2 sleeps in the bed with us and i often doze through him feeding or rustling around

mears Sat 06-Jun-09 21:41:45

I personally think you are right myw1, it is all down to personality. I breastfed all 4 of my babies to sleep and did not have any sleep issues with any of them. Some nights they were unsettled so I brought them into bed. The earliest to sleep through was my first at 9 weeks. The longest was my third at 8 months. The other two slept all night at about 4 months. I never gave any formula feed at all.
I think babies should get cuddles when they need them without worrying what will happen in the future. As Franny says, they are not little for long.

Pearlnz Sat 06-Jun-09 22:09:32

huge hugs to you! we found a great sleep sack for transitioning from swaddling called the Peke Moe and it did this job well as our boy has eczema on his face, he couldn't 'scratch' it but could still rub at his face. They have summer weight but that was a little scratchy for our boy, the regular weight or the cotton knit/jersey was perfect and our boy loved it! all the best!

mears Sat 06-Jun-09 23:17:29

That looks fantastic Pearlnz. I really don't like grobags - these look so much better.

FrannyandZooey Sun 07-Jun-09 09:22:44

oh they are adorable! you must get one of those, myw1, that would have saved me the nights of trying to put ds2 in two sleepsuits, one with his arms INSIDE the arm holes which i then folded behind his back hmm
it didn't work but i was desperate!

FrannyandZooey Sun 07-Jun-09 09:23:46

LOL i mean i folded the sleepsuit arms behind his back not HIS arms

mears why don't you like grobags, out of interest? i agree the peke moe looks much nicer for babies who don't suck their thumbs

mears Sun 07-Jun-09 13:50:02

My sister used them for her twins but I felt that they kept wakening themselves up with arm thrashing. I also thought that their hands felt cold (I know they ofetn do). I am a swaddling fan and felt they would have slept better if they were less loose IYSWIM?

myw1 Sun 07-Jun-09 19:15:01

Perlnz, thanks. The Peke Moe sleep sacks do look good. However, they also look quite loose. It looks to me that baby can still thrash their arms and legs around within the sack, cannot they? Not any restrictions from what I can see. What's your experience of using them?

FrannyandZooey Sun 07-Jun-09 20:02:37

yes i see mears
swaddling was quite astonishing for us in early days with ds2 - i am a convert

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