Two months ago, this meant nothing to me. I received some great snuggle sacks as baby gifts, and I practiced me skills by swaddling Cookie Monster. He looked quite content in his swaddle and I felt great. Swaddling - kids' play, no? Easy as pie. I was going to ROCK motherhood.
Fast forward to today. Just the idea of trying to put the baby down sends shivers down my back. Which is seriously ridiculous because Scotty is an easy baby. Really - he's sweet, he rarely cries, he looks at you with these giant blue eyes like, 'Oh, really?' Adorable.
Yet he has a very strong Moro reflex (the same one that you feel when you dream you are falling - babies have it until about 6 months of age and then they eventually outgrow it.) Lean a baby back, holding his head, and watch him flail his arms - that's a Moro reflex. Put them on their backs (per the APA, in their anti-SIDS campaign) and watch as their little arms flip all over.
Unless Scotty is completely asleep and his arms are above his head (a sleep position we like to call 'Baby Jesus'), he will flail his arms. And as I alluded to in a post earlier, he also likes to hit himself in the face with his arms. Try smacking yourself in the face while you are sleeping - you will wake up, too.
And so Brian and I have been left in a quandry - Scotty can't sleep without a tight swaddle (trust me, we've tried), but it's darn near impossible to keep him in the swaddle. (it's also a pain getting him in the swaddle, since he cries and screams, but I just tell him, in the first of many, many times, it's for his own good.) I wake up probably 5-6 times a night due to his grunting and flipping around, only to find a baby that has broken out of his swaddle. This is not only bad for his sleep health, but dangerous, too. I don't want a blanket to get too close to his face. So I re-swaddle, but this lasts about 30 minutes. Until he breaks out again. And I'm up, again.
We tried the sleep sacks with velcro. Broke out of those. Tried the Kidd-o-potomus things that wrap around. Got his hands out of those, too. I once sent Brian to Babies-R-Us in a tearful panic with strict instructions to not return home without some kind of sleep contraption. It took him 45 minutes but he found yet another product claiming great sleep. Which promptly failed that night, too. I honestly considered wrapping duct tape around the baby's blanket but thought that might warrant a CPS investigation, so I opted for no duct tape this time.
As for now, Brian and I are using just regular blankets (square and huge). I like to think of myself as a classic Karp-ian in terms of my swaddle technique (one in arm per tuck, down, up, down, up) whereas as Brian is more of a modern swaddler, using a revolutionary double arm tuck as his signature move. Considering Scotty sleeps better 99% of the time better when Brian swaddles, I have given up my classic roots and am trying to learn his method. Which I cannot master, making me feel like a total idiot. I mean, it's a blanket and a baby. I've talked people off of ledges...why can't I get this?
In fact, just now, I was rocking the baby to sleep when Brian came home. We high-fived and switched positions, so I could come downstairs to wash bottles (the second bane of my existence) when I heard Brian muttering through the baby monitor. Needless to say, he was not happy with my swaddle (and neither was Scotty, since he was refusing to go to bed). He promptly re-swaddled and presto - baby was asleep in four minutes. Until he breaks out in approximately 34.6 minutes.
Which leads me to what I like to call our Last Line of Defense: The Miracle Blanket. They (I bought two) arrived in the mail today and I am praying this is the answer to our prayers. Using no velro, no snaps, and a completely safe way to wrap your baby, I am hoping this is the answer to our baby Hercules. It looks like the equivalent of a baby straight jacket, and I'm excited to try it. Let's hope it lives up to its name.