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Still Swaddled

Cora’s over five months now and
still not sleeping all through the night: most nights she still
gets up at 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. for a nursing, rising finally around 9
a.m., though the past couple of nights she went until 4 or 5 a.m.
for her first feeding (which I much appreciated!).

It was right around this point that we sleep-trained Maddie, but
Cora’s clearly not ready for this. First and foremost,
Cora’s still being swaddled to sleep. I’m astonished
she still needs it; again, we started putting Maddie down
unswaddled before she was three months old. But Cora still flails
and startles quite a bit, which wakes her up at night unless
she’s wrapped.

A part of me has been impatient with the swaddling, wondering if
she really needs it; after all, I can’t convince myself to
sleep-train her until her hands are free to help her self-soothe,
and I’d like to get that show on the road soon. Plus, I worry
that she’ll become dependent on the swaddling and start to
need it to fall asleep, like a comfort object. So I decided to try
to wean her off the swaddling blanket, testing out the unwrapping
for nap times over the past few days.

The result? Disastrous.

Cora would fall asleep nursing or being
rocked, and go into a nice easy sleep. But as soon as I’d put
her down she’d startle awake and the hands would fly up,
whacking herself in the face. I’d coax her back into a fitful
sleep, only to have the nap truly end maybe 15 minutes later.

Determined not to be discouraged, I tried again the next time she
seemed tired. Which means that for the past couple of days, she
napped about six times a day. And as I said, her nighttime sleep
got deeper, perhaps only because we still swaddled at night and the
poor kiddo was grateful for her familiar sleep aid.

But yesterday all that fitful napping caught up with us, and Cora
was a tired, red-eyed mess the whole day. By evening she was so
tired she wasn’t even falling asleep while nursing, which
meant she was screaming on the Boppy for over an hour. And after
she finally did fall asleep (swaddled – I gave up on that
very quickly into the Scream Fest) I was unable to move lest she
re-awaken; every time I tried to put her down she’d look at
me in misery and begin screaming again.

After rocking her for two hours, hearing her wake up, and sending
Brian in to rock her again, I finally saw Cora go to
“real” sleep, hiccupping her sobs through her slumber.
And my resolution:

The swaddling blanket stays. We’ll just have to try this
again in another week or so. Right now, I’m not willing to
put Cora through this again.


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