Postpartum and Beyond

Ditching the Swaddle and Sleeping Through the Night

A Guide on How I Did It In A Week

When my daughter was 11 weeks old I had managed to convince myself that Little P would roll over in her sleep and suffocate. It was an irrational fear, I knew that then and I still know it now. She wasn’t anywhere near close to being able to roll herself over. But what if? I thought I’d give myself some peace of mind and help Little P stop using the swaddle. We’d have to do it sometime eventually right? Plus, this way I got to use all the cute sleepers people gave us. (I also didn’t have her in sleepers and the swaddle, I thought she might get too hot.)

Now, here is my experience on the week to ditch the swaddle and sleep through the night.

My Experience

Night zero

I swaddled Little P with one arm out and had her laid down at mostly sleeping at 10:45. I couldn’t get her to calm down and 30 minutes later I gave up because I needed to get up early the next day and I honestly just wanted us (okay, me) to get enough rest. So, I fully swaddled her, gave her back her binky, and she slept much better.
Bonus, I did as well.

night one

Today Little P woke up at 6:30 am. Throughout the day she had three short naps and one longer one during lunchtime.
I gave Little P a bath at 6:00 pm and had her laid down at 7 pm. She was swaddled with one arm out.
With her swaddled with one arm out early, I was able to help give Little P her binky when she knocked it out (or ripped it out, I swear she does it on purpose) and help her calm down if she happened to get fussy.
At 10 pm I woke her up, unswaddled her and gave her a bottle.
After the feeding and diaper change, I reswaddled Little P (still one arm out) and put her back down to bed.
There was some fussing throughout the night, usually, after she managed to knock her binky out. I was able to give the binky back and she went back to sleep.
At 3 am, I did get a little frustrated every few minutes she was knocking her binky out. I got tired of getting up and putting the binky back, so I disconnected her bassinet from the stand, put her and it in my bed, and it went much better. I was able to get her back to sleep (I had my hand gently on her) and I didn’t have to stand up any time she needed her binky back.

night two

Our day started at 7 am today. She ended up staying the day at her grandfather’s house, so I’m not too sure on exact specifics for her day.
I got her back in time to give her a bath at 6 pm.
She was again swaddled with one arm out and put down to bed at 7pm.
Again, she was woken up at 10 pm to bed fed and changed.
Today was a hard day throughout the night. Little P woke up fussy around 2:45 am. She kept knocking her binky out and was really fussy until about 4 am. From there she fell back asleep and didn’t wake up until 6 am.

Night three

Our day officially started at 7 am. (She started waking up at 6, but she was ready to go and eat at 7)
Today Little P spent the day at her grandmother’s house.
I got her back in time to get her her bath at 6 pm.
I had her swaddled with one arm out again. She was down and sleeping by 7 pm.
Tonight, I only woke Little P up to change her and not feed her. It was a bad decision as she woke up at 2 am for a feeding. After her feeding, her diaper was changed, and she was put back to bed.
She went down surprisingly easy. I like to think she also likes sleeping throughout the night.
The rest of the night she slept fine. She knocked her binky out once but went back to sleep right after she had it back.

night four

Our day again started at 7 am.
She had another long nap around lunchtime and only short ones in the morning and closer to 4 pm.
Little P was bathed at 6 pm and put down at 7 pm.
Tonight, I fully swaddled her (my husband had come back from his military work and I wanted to make sure that sleep happened for everyone).
At 10 pm I still fed Little P, but again, she was fully swaddled.
There was some fussing around 3 am. When I went to check on her, she had actually managed to get both arms out of her swaddle. I gave her her binky back and left her arms out.

Night five

We woke up at 7 am again.
6 pm she got her bath and at 7 pm she was put to bed with both of her arms unswaddled.
She was woken up to be fed and changed at 10 pm.
Tonight was a really good night overall. She fussed a little bit around 5 am, but once she got her binky back she went back to sleep.

night six

Today we mixed it up and woke up at 6:45 am.
We were back on schedule at 6 pm when she had her bath. Today after her bath she was changed into a sleeper (those baby clothes basically with built in socks and long sleeved). Today was the big day of not having a swaddle.
At 7 pm she was put to bed and, once again, at 10 pm Little P was woken up for a bottle as well as a diaper change.
The evening was uneventful. She only woke up once, around 3 am, she took her binky back and once again went to sleep.

night seven

We woke up at 7 am.
Again at 6 pm she was bathed and changed her into a sleeper.
7 pm she was put to sleep and at 10 pm fed and changed before being put back to bed.
This day there was no fussing throughout the night! There wasn’t any fussing. We managed to ditch the swaddle and get her sleeping all the way until 7 am.

How You Can Do It

Get a bedtime routine
The bedtime routine is really important. Get your baby recognizing when it’s time to sleep. I personally start mine off with the bath, but you can do whatever works for you.

Don’t skip that 10 pm feeding
If you don’t want to wake up throughout the night, then don’t skip the feeding. I learned it through experience. There’s no way your baby is going to sleep until morning without that feeding. Don’t be like me and think for some reason your baby now has an adult tummy and can go that long of a stretch with no food.

Go at your own pace
You don’t have to do both of these at the same time if you’re not comfortable. The logic works if you want your baby to sleep throughout the night first and then work on getting them out the swaddle.
You can also go slower with having your baby’s arm out. If you want to take a couple more days with one arm out, that’s totally okay.

Nap times
Keep the longest nap time around lunchtime. You don’t want a long, deep nap, closer to 7 pm. That means you’re going to have a wide awake baby who refuses to go to sleep.

Keep at it
I was complacent a couple of times throughout this. You need to keep up with it! Stay consistent and things will start working out.

Some thoughts

Remember it’s not a race! The goal isn’t to do it as quickly as possible. It doesn’t matter if you’re not ready to ditch the swaddle. It’s okay if you don’t mind waking up  throughout the night to feed your baby right now.
I did this when I did and how I did because my baby was mainly sleeping throughout the night anyway. She’d been waking up anytime from 3 am until 5 am for a feeding and then still waking up at 7 am to start the day.
I thought that it would be great if I could eliminate that feeding and just have our day start at 7 am. I felt my baby could handle the transition. If you feel your baby isn’t ready, it’s okay. You don’t have to push them into growing up too soon.

Also, keep track of how much your baby is eating (I formula feed, so that makes it easier). You want to make sure that your baby is still getting enough to eat.

Let me know what you think. Would you ever make the transition to no swaddling and trying to sleep through the night at the same time? Would you have waited longer or started sooner? 

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