In the hospital when Owen was first given to me, he was wrapped up like a little burrito. The nurses were able to wrap him up into a little bundle with his arms and legs tucked up so tightly that he looked like he was a little bowling ball instead of a baby.
They taught us how to swaddle him like this, and he seemed to love it when he slept. His arms and legs never stopped moving when he was awake (and often seemed out of his own control), and swaddling immediately calmed his body so he could sleep. After reading Dr. Karp’s book “The Happiest Baby on the Block”, I was convinced that swaddling is the key to getting your baby to sleep soundly.
Only one problem. We seem to have a little Houdini on our hands.
He LOVES to have his hands up by his face, and now when I swaddle him, he fusses and fights and struggles until his little hand is sticking out the top of the swaddle against his face. He kicks his legs so hard that the swaddle slowly unwraps leaving his limbs exposed and a loose blanket around his ankles. I’ve tried every swaddle I can think of. I used the burrito wrap that the nurses at the hospital did, I tried Dr. Karp’s swaddling that he describes in his book, and I have purchased several different swaddles from Babies R Us in an effort to find one that my little Houdini can’t get out of.
The best one I’ve found so far is the Summer Infant SwaddleMe Wrap (pictured above). It has little velcro tabs that pull him tightly into the correct position, with arms at his sides. However, he’s even getting strong enough to pull his hands up in that swaddle, and it’s pulled so tightly that once he gets them up by his face they are stuck and he wakes up and cries.
So now I have a dilemma. He can’t seem to sleep without a swaddle (since his arms and legs move constantly and he tends to scratch himself in the face), and he can’t seem to sleep WITH one! What do I do?
Dr. Karp says that the more your baby resists the swaddle, the more he/she actually needs it. I totally agree. I think Owen needs to have his body quieted so he can sleep, and he can’t seem to do that on his own yet. But if putting him in the swaddle becomes pure torture, and then he struggles so hard to get out of it that he’s stuck in an uncomfortable position, what’s the alternative?
To add another level of complication, he loves to suck his fingers. He has a serious sucking obsession, and needs to suck to be pacified sometimes. I’ve tried giving him a pacifier a few times, but he won’t suck it. He’s sooooo close to figuring out how to get his thumb in his mouth, and it would really make things easier on me if he became a thumb-sucker. But how can he become a thumb-sucker if his arms are stuck down at his sides in a swaddle? Is there any way to encourage thumb-sucking?
Thoughts? Suggestions? Stories? I’m beginning to think we need one made out of metal with a lock and key!