Swaddle Me Crazy

Monitor ShotLast night, we tried to not swaddle Henrik for bedtime. He found his hand over the weekend, and now will stop at nothing to get it in his mouth, including busting out of the Halo sleep sack swaddle. Problem is, in doing so, he pushed the blankets up over his mouth, which made us both a little nervous.

So, we decided to see how it would go without swaddling him in the sleep sack.

Big mistake. Let’s just say, I experienced true sleep deprivation today as I am now back at work and unable to sleep when the baby sleeps.

It’s not the security that Henrik likes about the swaddle – he needs something to pin his arms down. Until he got here, I thought babies slept like normal humans – still.  Boy, was I wrong about that! He could be a black belt with the kung-fu he practices in his sleep!

Don’t me wrong, I consider us pretty lucky when it comes to his sleeping habits. He’s on a fairly decent schedule. Like clockwork, each night at 6:30, he starts showing all his sleep cues, including being super-fussy.  He is usually in his crib, asleep by 7/7:15 and will sleep until 3/3:30, eat quick and go back to sleep until 5/5:30 am, when both my husband and I get up.

I put out a plea on Facebook this morning for Houdini-proof swaddlers. I got a lot of great suggestions and I plan on trying them all to see which one works best for him. Tonight, we tried the Happiest Baby on the Block swaddling method with an Aden + Anais blanket. A good friend of mine even swung by my house after work to show me how to do it. We will see how long my swaddle holds. In case that doesn’t work, I stopped by the store after work and grabbed a couple of SwaddleMe swaddlers. Finally, my cousin is sending me her Miracle Blanket, which I have heard really good things about.

All this talk on swaddling, got me thinking, how long am I going to need to swaddle him? Of course I consulted Google and could not find a concrete answer. I talked to some friends at work, but all of their answers varied as well.  On that same token, when should we start getting serious about sleep training? We have loosely been following the EASY sleep method by the Baby Whisperer, but we could be doing things better. For instance, I would like for him to get up around 12-1am for his midnight feeding, rather than 3 am. That way I could get a solid four hour block of sleep, rather than just getting back to sleep, only to have my alarm go off.

I am guessing the answer is every baby is different and you have to find what works best for you. But right now, my sleep-deprived brain would love to know when we could expect a full eight hours again!

What tricks and tips do you have to get a new-ish baby to sleep? When did you stop swaddling and/or start sleep-training?

Katie Ripke
Katie is a mama of two rambunctious, sweet, cuddly and highly energetic boys. Growing up in Mount Vernon, Iowa, she briefly left the area to attend college at the University of Northern Iowa, had a brief stint living in Chicago before settling down in Lisbon with her husband Bryan. Katie has been in the marketing field for over 10 years and is currently a marketing manager for an area health care organization. When she is not balancing life as a working mom, Katie enjoys binging on Netflix/Hulu, learning about all things boy and squeezing in a workout from time to time. Her current addictions include coffee, LaCroix, and cookies.


  1. I swear by the Miracle Blanket but have heard the Woombie is good too. You have to go to the Miracle Blanket website to watch how it works and follow it that way. After a couple nights you will have the hang of it. I swaddled all 3 of my kids until they were 5 months old – putting them in nice and tight with the Miracle Blanket. Then they could start to get an arm out here or there. When I weaned them off the swaddle I started by leaving one arm out. I am doing Ferber with my 6 month old baby right now. It’s not necessarily cry it out like you might think. It’s a progressive wait and also in the book it tells you how to change what time the baby eats in the middle of the night. I live in Ely and we are in the Mt Vernon school district. looks like you are not too far from us. Best of luck as you figure out what is right for you!

    • Yes, we are close! I actually grew up in Mount Vernon, but we “moved across the tracks” when we built our new house last year. I love the area! Thanks for your advice – I will definitely check out the Miracle Blanket website.

  2. We found that L. started busting out when the sleep sack was too small – going up a size and velcroing her in pretty tight improved things.

    You can swaddle til it becomes unsafe (rolling over/swaddle prevents rolling back or lifting head off mattress). The internet is vague because that’s different for every kid. Some kids may roll over in the daytime but not at night when swaddled.

    We also used EASY for the most part til we started daycare and did their schedule. We had a rough transition when we stopped swaddling (4.5 mos?) – and did some more serious sleep training then for a few weeks to encourage better sleep because she did keep waking herself. First night of that was bad but she figured out how to sleep more independently pretty quick. We never cut out the overnight feed though – at 9 mos she still wants it – though the time varies from 1am to 4am. Once we stopped swaddling she started sleeping on her stomach (couldn’t stop it – she’d flip herself) and that helped improve sleep too.

  3. We swaddled our daughter till she was about 9 months old – we tried to stop once (around 4 months) and it didn’t go well. She didn’t roll around in her sleep in it at all. Our son on the other hand…maybe lasted 3 months. He escaped no matter what we did after that.

  4. I would go to Kidworks or Stuff to buy an array of swaddlers b/c it is much cheaper and you can find out what works and then resell what doesn’t! I’ve heard that the Woombie is great for active movers but I would also second the swaddling with one arm out. I think you can continue to swaddle as long as the baby likes it. Once they start to roll over then just don’t swaddle their arms (you can still wrap the rest of their body.) Your baby’s sleep schedule sounds amazing to me, my thoughts are to give yourself an hour after he goes to sleep then it is your bedtime. It is hard but I found that was the best way for me to get good sleep too. Then when he gets up at 3:30 it won’t be so rough. You could also start keeping him up an hour later to move this schedule so that he will gradually just wake up at 5am. Or you could start to wake him up at 12am to start that habit but honestly I don’t believe in waking a sleeping baby it has never been good as a result. It sounds like he still likes being swaddled so I would stick with that method! Good luck mama!

    • Great idea on the looking at consignment shops, I may check out a few this weekend. I know, I think we’re pretty lucky with our current sleep schedule. We double swaddled him last night and I got much more sleep than the night before – I feel like a new woman! Great suggestion on going to bed an hour after him, I do try to, but you’re right, it’s hard sometimes!

  5. I have seen so many posts on why swaddling is bad vs good. Some babies just like to be burritoed into a blanket. I have a 6 and 8 year old and a newborn due at the end of July. When I was my kids age I loved rolling up in a blanket still. I just had my baby shower and specifically asked for swaddling blankets and got this adorable one from a friend. Thought I would share 🙂


  6. LO was rolling over at 4 months so we were afraid to keep him swaddled. I swear by the Zippadee-zip. It’s a little pricey, but he transitioned quickly and it still gives their arms a little resistance ( which helped with the startle reflex in those early months).

  7. We have recently switched to Merlins Magic Sleepsuit once our daughter was 12 weeks and couldn’t stop breaking out of her swaddle. It’s amazing, she gets 8+ hours at night and 5-6 good naps a day. She can reach her hands which she lives but it helps control her reflexes still. Check it out on Amazon!


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