The De-Swaddle* Saga

*For the non-parents, this is a swaddle:

If Dr. Chilton had one of these big enough, Hannibal Lector would have never escaped.


As previously mentioned in an open letter to my son, sleep has been a rare occurrence in my house. When X is awake, we are all awake. When X is asleep, we are all awake knowing that at some point he will be awake so there is no point in trying to sleep. Here is the typical pattern:

8:30pm – X gets wrapped up in his swaddle. I call him a little burrito. He laughs. I give him his medicine and his anti-gas drops. He cries. I give him his bottle. He shakes his head. I give him his bottle. He drinks it happily and falls asleep. I slowly move him to his crib praying to all things holy (and a few un-holy) that he doesn’t wake back up.

11pm-2am – Chef Hubby and I try to sleep but fail because we are fully aware that X will be waking up any minute.

1am or 3am – X starts making little noises. This doesn’t register on the baby monitor since we set the volume really low. The monitor does however start flashing red which for some reason wakes me up anyway. I try to ignore these little noises in hopes that X will lull himself back to sleep.

1:30 or 3:30am – X realizes that no one is coming in to pay attention to him. He has a brief meeting with his sock monkey and plush Cthulu who convince him to start screaming. This registers on the monitor although it doesn’t need to. I hear it anyway. I’m pretty sure that most of the village hears it anyway. Most of the time, a few ounces of super-tasty soy formula will get him to knock back out within a half-hour of waking up.

5am – That a**hole, the Sandman, leaves his post in the baby’s room just as Chef Hubby and I fall back asleep. The baby monitor starts flashing red again. This time there is mere seconds between his I’m-awake-but-content phase and the oh-dear-god-my-world-is-a-dark-abyss-please-save-me-from-myself phase. The problem this time is not hunger. It is not boredom. It is that he has wriggled his way to be half-in/half-out of his swaddle. One of his arms is contorted around and confined in the fabric in a way that only Cirque du Soleil contortionists could handle. The other arm is flailing about, thwacking its owner in the face. I re-swaddle him and he falls back to sleep with his pacifier.

6am – Chef Hubby and I are awoken by our alarm clock only moments after finally knocking back out.

7am – I nearly fall asleep at the wheel on Interstate 84.

Thinking that maybe he’s waking up at night because he is uncomfortable in his swaddle, I made the decision that we should try to get him to sleep without swaddling him. I did some research and found that the most effective way for a lot of kids has been to go cold turkey. This is known to involve a lot of crying and more sleepless nights while they get used to the new-found nighttime freedom, but that’s no big loss. We’re not sleeping anyway so might as well be productive in the insomnia.

I waited until this past weekend to attempt the de-swaddling. We had no early morning plans. We wouldn’t be operating heavy machinery. We could afford a little extra sleep-loss. So Saturday night, instead of bundling him up like an oversized enchilada, X wore adorable monkey feetie pajamas to bed.

Problem #1 – Flailing arms = very difficult to administer his medicine. I think I got some simethicone up his nose and baby Zantac up mine.

Problem #2 – ….



Um… there hasn’t been a problem #2. He slept all night. I thought he had woken up at 5:30 Sunday morning. I was ok with that. But then when I opened his door he was sound asleep. He must have been carrying on a conversation with himself in his sleep. I quickly tiptoed back to my bed, not even closing his door for fear that the slight air movement would snap him awake. He slept until nearly 8am. Sunday and Monday night he slept from his bedtime to 6am when we are awake anyway on weekdays.

Of course now that I’ve made his good behavior known to the public, he’ll be waking me up at 2am tomorrow morning just to make a big fat liar out of me.