Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Operation Stealth Swaddle

I may be taking a huge risk in saying this, but our little girl is a champion sleeper. I'd heard horror stories about babies who refuse to sleep, so I was trying to mentally prepare myself for getting up about every hour and a half or so with her every night. We were very surprised and pleased, though, when she turned out to love her sleep as much as her Mommy does! As all newborns do, she slept pretty much constantly in her first week or two of life; I had to regularly wake her up for feedings, which was no easy task. But what amazed us as much as anything was the fact that the kiddo could sleep through her incredible startle reflex. We'd have her laying in her cradle or the Pack 'N Play, and the poor child would jump out of her skin...but she'd never wake up. When we brought her home from the hospital, we put her in her swaddle wrap at night, but after seeing her sleep through the startle reflex during the day, we decided that we'd leave off the swaddle wrap and just put her to bed in her sleep sack. Big mistake. Huge. She got used to being out of the swaddle wrap and hated being put in it. Then, at about 2 1/2 weeks, she started to wake up during her startles, and my poor little girl just looked terrified every time. And she would only get about 20 minutes of sleep at a time. The only time she could sleep without waking up from the startle was if someone was holding her (because she wouldn't tolerate the swaddle wrap). So...I found myself dozing on the couch for several nights with her sleeping on my chest. She slept like a champ, of course, but I didn't get much sleep at all because I was terrified that she'd smother. After a couple of nights, I knew we couldn't keep on doing that. I was frazzled and just didn't know what to do to help my little girl get some good sleep. At the end of my rope, I took her in her room, we laid down on a blanket on the floor, and we prayed. I asked for wisdom in how to help her sleep in a way that let me sleep so that I could be a good mom to her. I felt so much better after that conversation with God, and about 30 minutes later, it came to me...swaddle her while she's asleep! That afternoon, when it was time for a nap, I rocked her to sleep, then once she was asleep, put her in the swaddle. Success! We did the same thing that night, and those 3 1/2 hours of uninterrupted sleep in my own bed were amazing. So now, we swaddle before every nap and before bedtime. When we started, she had to be sleeping pretty heavily. Now, I can put her in the swaddle wrap when she's still drowsy, but not completely asleep, and it makes for a much happier Mommy, Daddy, and baby. And the best thing is, the swaddle doesn't even have to be great. See?
That's what's known as the "ugly swaddle." You can see that we didin't quite get the bottom tucked in, and the wrap isn't quite high enough around her shoulders, but it doesn't matter. It gets the job done. But this kiddo can break out of any swaddle you put her in, whether it's the ugly swaddle, or a really good swaddle. Here's the evidence:

That was one of my best swaddles...and she broke out of it in no time. But for some reason, if she can get to sleep in it, even if one or both of her arms come out, the startle reflex doesn't bother her. David and I just crack up at her Houdini tricks. We call her the Swaddle Buster. And she always puts her arm(s) up like that when she breaks out. If you listen to Dave Ramsey's talk show, you've heard the clip he plays when people call in to tell him that they're debt free. I think it's a clip from Braveheart, and it's Mel Gibson yelling "FREEDOM"! We think that's what's going on in Campbell's mind when she gets out of the swaddle.

It's my understanding that the startle reflex lasts until 4-6 months. Our swaddle wrap only holds up to a 14lb. baby, and I know we can't use it once she starts to roll over. I'm hoping that she grows out of the startle reflex before then!

1 comment:

  1. sweet pictures!! I'm so glad it looks like you all are figuring things out nicely :) sorry I've been MIA, things for us have been insane, but we hope to see you all next weekend...my girls constantly ask me when they get to see baby campbell. :)


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