Saturday, March 08, 2008

Perchance to Dream

For the love of all that is holy, will someone please tell me how to get an infant to sleep - and stay asleep - without the aid of swaddling?

Last night, Mr Earth and I took advantage of the Boy's weekend visit to Nana's house to try out a "sleep bag" with the Little Guy instead of the usual swaddling blanket. We are firm believers in the Swaddle at Casa Earth. We used it with the Boy until - dare I say it? - six months of age. Because of the Swaddle, we had a kid that slept through the night from about four months of age, if my memory serves me correctly. We actually only stopped doing it at six months, because we went to my parents cottage for the weekend, and I thought he would be too hot without air conditioning. The first night, there were one or two wakings that were easily resolved and the next night, he slept through with no problems. We never swaddled again. I credit the Swaddle for a three-year-old who is a pretty solid sleeper. We've had some bad nights of course, but they are few and far between.

The Little Guy, though, is a bit of a sticky situation. I am more than willing to keep swaddling as he's still young. However, as I've mentioned before, we are raising the GigantiBaby. THE SWADDLING BLANKET DOESN'T FIT. Ack. This is the piece of material that I got when I went to a fabric store, and asked for the largest square of material they could produce. Because as seasoned Swaddlers know, swaddling doesn't work unless the blanket is a true square. Swaddling is fussy business enough as it is without bringing Mr Rectangle into the picture. No way, hosé.

So last night we tried the sleep bag. It did not go well. Wait, that isn't quite what I mean. It SUCKED. We got about two stretches where he slept for an hour, but otherwise he woke up every ten or fifteen minutes. All. Night. Long. Hello Sleep Deprivation! I wish I could say that it's nice to see you, but I hate to lie. The Little Guy didn't want to eat. He would take a soother, and go back to sleep. As the night wore on, I had to hold down his arms and legs to keep him from waking himself up. That got old pretty quickly, I tell you. A couple of times upon getting up from bed, I swayed like a drunken sailor from sheer exhaustion. Releasing one arm at a time isn't going to work yet, because it's precisely that - the wild jerking of his arms - that is keeping him awake. My gut feeling is that he still needs the comfort, warmth and restraint of the Swaddle to keep him asleep.

So tell me, oh wise internet mothers, how on earth do you non-swaddlers get your babies to stay asleep? Cause I have no trouble getting the Little Guy to fall asleep, but I certainly don't consider sleeping in fifteen minute segments to be sufficient for my sanity. Is there some trick that I'm missing here? Did I skip this class at Parenting School? Or, does anyone know where I can get swaddling blankets for the full-figured baby?

And hey - while I'm asking - do they make swaddling blankets for young adults? I want to plan ahead. I'm just sayin'.

22 comments:

Beck said...

Sweetie, go grab one of those big couch throw-type blankets. You know the kind - they're generally made of polar fleece? They're smaller than a normal blanket but even a really manly baby like your guy should be firmly swaddled by one of THOSE blankets.
Some kids just suck at sleeping. Can you express some milk during the day and get your husband to take at least one shift at night so you can sleep a little bit more?

farmwifetwo said...

My guess it's a sensory feeling you are trying to create. Have you ever tried a weighted blanket. And before you cringe b/c it's a "autistic" thing... it's a amazing and mine's now too small :( . 5lbs over a 4'x5' rectangle, is the norm for a 3+ yr old, but you could always make it lighter. Mine has rice in pockets, some use steel washer sewn into the middle of it.

Google it.

S.

cinnamon gurl said...

I have no clue. I never figured out how to get my kid to sleep until recently... cosleeping was our only chance at survival. I say try a bigger blanket and keep him swaddled till puberty if necessary.

Alpha DogMa said...

We use to 'burrito the baby' and I swear by it.

Listen to the Beck. She be wise. We used a polar fleece blanket that was at least 150 cm squared. Good luck.

Don Mills Diva said...

I swaddled until about six months - just get a bigger blanket and go for it. Swaddling saved our sanity - we used to do it so tight we would joke that we needed some duct tape to finish it off!

b*babbler said...

I would definitely suggest hitting up the fabric store for a big piece of t-shirt material or fleece (but that might be too hot). We swaddled a long time also (umm... think close to 8 months. Yeah. Seriously. And we have a good sleeper now too). The other thing you can try is swaddling only his upper body and leaving his legs unswaddled. That's what we did with Peanut when she started to outgrow the swaddle.

crazymumma said...

darling. go to a fabric store get some thick flannel and cut a big square.

xo get some sleep. haha. This coming from a woman who has not slept thru the nite in ten years.

Mary G said...

Cut down an old flannelette sheet. I had a similar problem with the YD who loved being swaddled on cool nights and woke hot and yowling if swaddled on warm ones. She was a July baby, so you see the problem. I kept her in a basket until she outgrew it, and that helped. She also slept on my chest a lot. They now have thumpers that imitate a heartbeat and that worked for my grandkid.
I hope you solve it! Taking turns sounds like a plan, also.

the dragonfly said...

I am absolutely no help...we tried to swaddle the Little Mister, but perhaps I should call him Houdini...he escaped every swaddle. Even when the expert swaddlers (nurses in mommy/baby and pediatrics at the hospital) swaddled him he escaped. Lucky for us he's a fantastic sleeper anyway.

nomotherearth said...

DMD - ha! ha! I never considered duct tape, but hmmm...

MaryG - great idea -- we actually went to a fabric store to get the swaddle we have now, and that was the biggest we could find but I never thought of cutting down a sheet

Just to clarify - Mr Earth and I did take turns trying to get him to sleep, but it didn't help. We BOTH just ended up sleep deprived. Sigh.

Lisa b said...

I'm just here reading other people's tips because I have nothing to add to this conversation.
If you could die of sleep deprivation I would have.

kittenpie said...

The larger fabric from a sheet seems a wise idea, or the other thing would be to perhaps put a blanket around him and tuck him into one of those sleep nest things, you know, with the two rolls that go on either side to make them snug in the middle? Or with a long skinny beanbag like a book weight on either side of his waist perhaps to anchor the blanket down?

The other thing that helped with us was that Pumpkinpie slept in the curve of my arm for hr first six months. I slept lightly, but at least I got to sleep a couple of hours at a time, unlike if she was in hr crib when I'd get a big 20-30 minutes.

Other than that, well, I remember at times thinking I was on the brink of going completely psychotic from sleep deprivation, so I feel for you, I really do, and I wonder what the hell I am thinking treading down that path again! Ack!

Maggie said...

The Miracle Blanket is the way to go! We swaddled our (also kinda big) guy for a loooong time this way. miracleblanket.com

Mad Hatter said...

I was going to say, cut down a flannel sheet but that wise Mary has beaten me to it.

toyfoto said...

Bourbon? You know. For you!

bren j. said...

"...swaddling blankets for the full-figured baby."
That's hilarious!
Sadly, I have no advice to offer. We co-slept with the Little Goat until she was 4 1/2 months and the bed-to-crib transition only took two nights. I really hope you guys get some sleep soon!!
Oh wait! Could Nana come over and sit in a rocker with him while he sleeps? We do know how much Gramas love to cuddle their grandkidlets and maybe, just maybe, that would give you a chance to catch some zzzs.

painted maypole said...

my MIL, in her infinite wisdom and assumptions of the size of a child that would be born to a 5'10" woman and a 6'5" father (23 inches at birth, my MQ) made us several large blankets for swaddling out of very simple light flannel. If you don't sew, maybe you could buy some fabric and find a friend to edge it for you?

emma said...

Swaddling! Why didn't I think of that! I just went for the sleep deprivation method. My son didn't sleep throught the night until 28 months! So, unfortunately, I have no helpful advice except to rimind you that they will eventually figure it out, even if it's not as fast as you want them to. Sorry.

Christine said...

we had kids who also loved the swaddle. but when they started busting out and we went to the sleep bag we also used one of those things that keep babies from rolling over. i cannot remember what they are called but it keeps them on their back and makes them feel like they are being held.
Running on empty

wheelsonthebus said...

As Christine said, those foam positioners are magic. But you'll need a BIG one!

MaryP said...

I have swaddled 12 - 18 month olds children. (Kids who hadn't yet learned to sleep at home.) The technique is a little different, and actually requires a rectangle, but you've been given so many good suggestions (MaryG's is brilliant), that I don't think you need another. Besides, your humungo baby is only 4 months old, and should be swaddled like a 4-month-old.

My son was almost ten pounds at birth, by six months he was 20, and he was 31 pounds at a year. Yeesh. These days he's 6' 1" and a svelte 140 pounds. Yup, he's gone from butterball to beanpole.

Mimi said...

Munchkin was humongous, too. We used a Kushies double-layer cotton-flannel blanket. Perfect square. Alternatively, since it's his arms that are the problem, you could maybe burrito the top half and leave his legs free, right? Maybe you need to de-swaddle from the bottom up, rather than from the top down.

Good luck!