Infant care has changed a lot since even we were children.
Instead of the tummy, we’re encouraged ‘back-to-sleep’. Instead of pretty crib blankets and bumpers, the crib should be basically a mattress and fitted sheet. To keep our children warm in this environment, many baby experts encourage ‘swaddling’, which is, essentially, wrapping them up in blankets like a burrito like so:
Swaddling serves a number of purposes, the primary being warmth and preventing the baby from startling him or herself awake. As you can imagine, after a while, the baby 1) gains enough strength to unswaddle and 2) begins to dislike being so constricted while sleeping. As I’ve mentioned, Parker has been sleeping through the night for some time now, and we had decided we would continue to swaddle him until that no longer worked.
In the past week or so, he’s been waking up 4-5 times a night (at minimum, 2) and breaking the swaddle. So yesterday, we decided it was time. Cold turkey rarely works with a baby (especially sleeping habits), so we came up with a plan to transition Parker from swaddling to unswaddling. The first step was to swaddle him, but leave his right arm out of the swaddle (as that’s the one he usually breaks from the swaddle first). We’ll try this for a couple weeks and then move to the second arm, before finally completely unswaddling him.
So last night, we laid Parker down to bed with one arm out (he’s a pro at putting himself to sleep), and after about 10 minutes, he was asleep. After about an hour or so, Parker woke up crying. At that point, we were pretty sure we were in for a long night. We got him back to sleep and waited.
Amazingly, he didn’t wake up until 2 am! After letting him cry, a quick reswaddle and he was back to sleep, and slept the rest of the night. I woke up very impressed by my little guy and definitely think this was a step in the right direction. There may definitely be some sleepless nights in our future, but that he was ABLE to do it was definitely a positive for us.
I will, of course, continue to update on our transition.