That really is the question. I’ve been swaddling my 4 month old since she was born. The last month or so she’s really been fighting to get out of the swaddle and is often successful. But she won’t fall asleep without it. I talked to my pediatrician and he said I should stop swaddling her.
I should do this by:
1. Rocking her mostly to sleep
2. When she’s about to fall asleep put her in her crib
3. Let her cry for about 15 minutes, walk in and tell her I love her, but don’t touch her
4. Keep letting her cry for about 30-45 minutes. And just do this during her naps so we can all sleep at night.
My baby getting her arms out of her swaddle. I think she thinks it’s a game and usually smiles when she successfully un-swaddles herself.
So I tried this last week and it just about killed me! I couldn’t do anything around the house but listen to her sad sad cries coming from her room. I gave her about 40 minutes and finally had to pick her up and calm her down. She still cried as I held her, I felt like I had abandoned her and I was this terrible mother.
So then I tried just swaddling her with leaving one arm out so she could get used to it. That really didn’t work either. She would just cry and not fall asleep. She was going to cry either way.
So I tried not swaddling again Monday and same thing…cried for 40 minutes and I couldn’t take it anymore so I picked her up and swaddled her later that day to get a good nap.
But the last 3 nights she’s woken (is that the right word?) up at 1:40am. It’s like clock work. I look at my clock and it’s been 1:40 all 3 nights. I walk in her room and she’s completely un-swaddled and crying. So I re-swaddle her and rock her back to sleep and she sleeps until 7ish. I felt like I had a newborn again.
My baby has been a great sleeper since she was 6 weeks old and has slept at least 6 hours a night since then. So waking up in the middle of the night is very unusual for her. I started researching things online and a lot of people say that babies stop wanting to be swaddled around 3 or 4 months. That’s definitely my baby!
So I thought I would try it again today. I really couldn’t figure out any other way and I didn’t want these 1:40am rituals to continue. As I began writing this post I could hear her crying in her room. It just breaks my heart! I did my little routine of rocking her and singing some songs and she was just about to fall asleep when I put her in her crib. We call her having “sleepy eyes.” And of course her eyes flew right open (as they always do if she isn’t completely asleep) when I put her down. So I said I loved her and walked out the room.
After 15 minutes of crying I walked back in, said I loved her again, and walked out. I did this one more time. Then finally after 45 minutes of crying (an hour of being in her crib) the crying started to stop and then I heard nothing. I gave her a few minutes and walked in to check on her. She had pushed her way up to the top of her crib and her blanket was over her face. Aahh! So I moved the blanket down and she was still asleep. Did it actually work? How long is she actually going to stay asleep? It’s been 40 minutes so far.
I heard some babies only need to cry it out once and they are good to go. Others will take a week. I’m really hoping I only have to do this today and then she’ll always be able to be un-swaddled. One day I can handle, but I week would be awful!
My mother and mother-in-law said they both didn’t swaddle their babies. I’m thinking maybe I won’t swaddle my next one and then I won’t have to go through days like I’ve had recently…
How have you gotten your baby to sleep without being swaddled? Or did you swaddle at all?
Here are some websites I found when I was researching how to get my baby out of the swaddling habit. The commentary from other moms is very interesting too.