I still swaddle my 10 month old baby

by Lena

Question: Maya just moved into her own room, she keeps waking up at night, for me to re-swaddle her, if her hands are out, they will wake her up, then she wants to have milk before 6 hours, I am trying the cry it out, it works but after 2, 2.30 hours, then she would sleep for 2 hours, and wake up again,

Is it okay to let her cry it out, and stop swaddling her at the same time? If she gets her hands out and I don't re-swaddle her she will stand up in her crib, and cry, cry, cry, and will not sleep or lay down, please I have no one to help me, sometimes I get mad at her and shout at her, and then I cry, I am so tired I feel like I am going to faint. She is a healthy baby, Thanks

Heidi's answer:

Dear Lena,

I am sorry to hear you are having such a difficult time. Sleep troubles can be extremely daunting, and if you have no one to help you that makes it even more difficult.

First off, can you ask anyone in your area for help? If there is no friend or family member available, ask your local council. They probably have services that offer some kind of support: like with finding a babysitter, or volunteer to take care of your little girl every once in a while.

If you could have an hour or two to yourself a few times a week, that could be great start to recharge your batteries. You could then take a nap, or just relax a bit by yourself, go for a walk or so. It may sound like nothing much, but this can make such a huge difference. Really, please try it.

Swaddling a baby who can loosen herself is a lost battle. Especially at this age, she is just too strong to really benefit from the swaddling.

So yes, I do advise you to stop the swaddling now.

But, there are two options you can choose to transition:

- Tuck her in with a sheet (and blanket if needed) the 'classical' way. Tuck the sides in really well so she does get the snug feeling. Try it with her hands tucked under the sheet first , but if she pulls them out and it wakes her (as with the swaddling), then leave her hands out from the beginning.

- Or, use a well-fitting wearable blanket or baby sleeping bag. This restricts movement as well, keeps at the same temperature and in this way helps many babies sleep awake for longer. Any right-sized baby sleeping bag will do.

I do not advise crying it out, and as you mention, it will be especially inefficient if you do it at the same time as when you stop swaddling.

The end of swaddling will be a big enough step for her as it is. So it will be best if you try and help her transition in a gentle way.

Another argument against crying it out: hearing her cry is no fun for you either. It works on you as well, and you need a break.

So, from now on: do not swaddle but tuck her in with sheet & blanket, or use the sleeping bag.

Then, if you don't have a consistent one already: set up a regular sleep schedule (read that page for details and tips). Don't skip her naps (at least one, probably 2 naps for now).

Make sure you have a good simple bedtime routine in place.

Then, after gently winding down with the routine, help her with sleeping. Put her down and talk to her gently, stroking her forehead or tummy. Stay with her until she sleeps if necessary.

If she cries straight away when put down and doesn't stop when you stroke, hold and rock her until she sleeps well. Then put her down.

Do exactly the same when she wakes at night (of course keeping lights dim and voice low).

The idea is that she now learns how to sleep without the swaddle, and without the need for crying. If this works for a few weeks, we will then use the gentle self soothing method to help her sleep more independently.

I know this all will require even more effort from you, and it will take some patience too, and I realise you are exhausted already.

But, it will allow you to relax (not feeling guilty about helping her and no need to let her cry).

Combined with getting some help, even for an hour or a few hours a week, this will perk up your energy levels and help you go for it!

Good luck, take care,

Comments for I still swaddle my 10 month old baby

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by: lena

It's me again, thank you so much for your advice, well, before I got it, i did try CIO, and it was a harsh 24 hours, but i am happy to say it worked, thank God, i tried not swaddling her at nap times, with the tools u told me, but she would only sleep for 30 minuts, so i am sorry to say i gave in :( however i am getting the sleep and rest i need, she sleeps from 10 p.m to 9 a.m and has 2 2 hour naps, i hope she will grow out of the swaddle, but ur relpy ment a lot to me
Thanks again

by: Anonymous

I love you Heidi! No cry-it-out...yay!

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