Monday, September 9, 2019

Motherhood Monday: Transitioning out of the Swaddle

Oh the swaddle. Such a lifesaver at first, and then for some people, such a nightmare to transition out of.

We loved swaddles, even though neither Jeff nor I could ever figure out how to swaddle with a regular blanket. In fact, I currently have a drawer full of mostly-unused swaddle blankets - any takers? While we couldn't figure out the swaddle blankets, we loved the little baby straightjackets and sleep sacks and hands up swaddles. They made swaddling so easy, and while Mia wasn't immediately comforted by them they did help her stay asleep.

I was dreading having to transition her out of the swaddle - what if she stopped being able to sleep through the night? If you aren't currently a parent, you have to stop using swaddles as soon as your baby shows signs of being able to roll over. Basically, your baby might roll over and then wouldn't have her hands free to push up her face to breathe - scary! I was basically crossing my fingers that Mia would take her sweet time when it came to rolling over.

I sent my family a picture of Mia happy as a clam in her swaddle, and my brother asked me when we would stop using them. I said of course when she started to roll. I literally put the phone down from typing out that message, looked over, and Mia was rocking back and forth. Within 24 hours she was rolling onto her side and trying to figure out how to get onto her tummy. It was time.

We had been using these hands up swaddles, so I immediately hopped on Amazon to order the transition version. The transition version has little wings that zip off, allowing you to release one hand at a time. That makes the transition out of the swaddle easier, as your baby can still be partially contained while still having a free arm.

I know that a lot of people swear by the Magic Merlin suit, which we had been given as a hand-me-down. People love it because it gets those little arms out, but weighs them down a little so your baby still can't startle. I'm not sure if I just didn't give it enough of a chance, but Mia hated going into it the first time and then refused to nap in it, so I rejected it after that first day.

The first night, I zipped off that little arm after Mia had already fallen asleep, put her in her crib, and held my breath. Amazingly, since she was already asleep, she didn't notice. The next night, her arm was already out before she went to sleep, and when I put her in the crib, that hand immediately went into her mouth and she fell right asleep. It turned out, the hands free thing was pretty great because it let her self soothe - a mama's dream!

We did one more night with one hand in, and then bit the bullet and took the second arm out. With two hands out, we did notice her waking up in the middle of the night, but she was able to get those hands into her mouth and fall back asleep on her own.

These days, Mia is actually still sleeping in that transition swaddle with her arms out, as I think the tightness around her midsection provides some comfort (especially at daycare!). But now that she's starting to size out of it, we've been putting her in a loose sleep sack instead for her naps at home, and she doesn't seem to notice the difference.

It turns out that the whole transitioning thing wasn't as scary as I thought it would be! Here's hoping these tips help you unswaddle with confidence :)

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