Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ssshhhh! Baby is Sleeping (Maybe)

Disclaimer: I realize babies are NOT robots. They operate on their own mixed-up, trying-to-figure-out-the-world schedules.

Second disclaimer: She is eating well and growing by all accounts.

That said, we have been having daily adventures with getting our little nimbus cloud (Nyla means "cloud" for those who haven't read here much) to go to sleep. It's obvious she is tired, but for whatever reason she just does not want to go to sleep. She has a full belly, a clean diaper, and good snuggle/rocking time with Mom or Dad. But when you put her down, after 5 or 10 or 20 or 30 minutes, she decides to let us know she's still awake. We'll go in, calm her down, and leave the room... only to be back in there, again, 5 or 10 or 20 or 30 minutes later.

We're pretty sure we've isolated the problem. Unfortunately, the solution has not easily presented itself. Her arms are the problems. Yep, those sweet, chubby little arms are causing us trouble. Since she's only 2 weeks old, she has not quite mastered the art of control over her muscles. Also, she likes having her arms up by her face, often sleeping with both arms "flexing" beside her head. You see where I'm going with this? Having your arms up by your face is ok. But when you're two weeks old, well, sometimes those arms become boxing gloves as you twitch and flail around. In other words, she will hit herself, wake herself up, think "Hey, who hit me?" and proceed to cry. The obvious solution? Advanced newborn mind control Swaddling. I mean, who doesn't like to get all snuggly under the covers and wrapped up nice and cozy? My daughter, apparently. Ginny and I will go through our "night-night" routine with her. She's quiet; she's comfortable; she's swaddled. We put her down in the bed. Then, over the baby monitor, we hear a various array of grunts, sighs, and eventually cries. She is trying to wiggle out of the swaddling, despite the fact that when we first swaddle her, she immediately relaxes.

As you can see, this can cause some problems, especially when it is not an every-time thing. Just yesterday, she went down with no trouble in the morning, around noon, and in the afternoon. But at 6? Well, at 11 she finally went to sleep for the night. Now understand, she's not screaming the whole time. She does remain fairly calm, until she decides to become Houdini and attempt to free herself from her box filling up with water (that's all I can imagine she thinks her blanket is to want out THAT badly). It's frustrating for Mom and Dad, because she'll be quiet for up to 30 minutes before deciding she is in Alcatraz and needs out.

It's sort of a darned-if-you-do, darned-if-you-don't problem. If we don't swaddle her, she can wake herself with flailing arms. If we do swaddle her, and she doesn't go to sleep right away, she wants out. But when she gets to sleep, she is out. She won't move.

For all the parents or child experts, what is your advice? I know babies don't establish a good sleep pattern for the first few weeks, but Little Girl is obviously tired. Short of rocking her for an hour until she's in deep sleep (which we would prefer not to do and let her fall asleep on her own), what advice do you have about this swaddling/arms free problem?


Friday edit: She had her 2-week checkup today. Good weight gain. Good report. Pediatrician said her sleep (or sometimes lack thereof) is normal, because, after all, she doesn't really know any better at this point.


  1. are you using just a regular recieving blanket? We use a swaddle me blanket for about 11 weeks and she could never get out of it.

  2. We have the Swaddle Me, but if she's not completely tired, she will wiggle her arms free. We have the Miracle Blanket, too, and that seems to help. But if she's trying to get her arms free, forget about it. You have to go through the calming process all over again.