Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Happiest Baby on the Block?

I am forever grateful to Dr. Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, for introducing the five s's, most specifically swaddling, to our lives. He truly saved our sanity in some wretched, horrid times. The miracle blanket became Elizabeth's best friend during "the colic" and really, if I could have married that green thing, I would have. Love, love, loved the miracle blanket! But, alas, all good things must come to an end. I think it is time we break up with our soft, snuggly, wraparound sleep inducer.

Elizabeth will be six months tomorrow. How? I don't know because I swear I am still recovering and shouldn't there be meals coming? Flew by. Anyway, Elizabeth has grown some in that time and the same blanket that swallowed her whole four months ago now has trouble covering all of her body parts. Fold it up and pack it away you say? There's just one wee problem with that. Elizabeth has no idea how to sleep without him since they've been together so long. Oh, we've tried, dear Lord, have we tried, but the minute her little back hits that bed it's like her arms have taken on a life of their own. Oh, the flailing. Then, the crying. Then, we're back scrolling the now playing list on the tivo until my eyes begin closing involuntarily and I dig out that groovy miracle blanket and give her a fix. You'd think that would be good and fine and we'd all sleep happily afterward, but no. MB, bless his heart, can no longer restrain those restless arms for long. Sure, he gives it the old college try, but eventually Elizabeth breaks free from the once wonderful relationship and, usually, winds up bopping herself in the head until we are once again consoling our sorrows downstairs with our old buddy Alton or our new buddy Chuck.

I would really like to make a clean, quick break for everyone's well being, but it seems that this might be one of those long, drawn-out, just-one-more-time break ups that really aren't good for anyone.

Help me Dr. Karp! What do I do now?


JaniceNW said...

Many children have blankies. They're for security and the kids like the softness and the familiarity. I had my blankie until I was six. Why does it need to be taken away?

BTW the pumpkin and Elizabeth picture is awesome and makes me wish I could meet her and you!!

Tracey said...

I say put the MB thingy on her first, then wrap her again with a long thing blanket. Even if you have to sew one yourself out of thing muslin or something. I know about the wrapping. Corinne was wrapped TIGHTLY till she was at least 7 or 8 months. If she had free arms? WIDE AWAKE. If she was wrapped? Slept through the night.

andria said...


The miracle blanket is a swaddler blanket. Elizabeth sleeps wrapped up tight in it; keeps her arms from flapping around.

Mommy Daisy said...

I hope that you find a fix. Maybe give her a lovey or something that can comfort her. Good luck. I'm glad to hear that swaddling worked so well for her, though. My son always wanted his arms free...even as a newborn.

Lynsey said...

We had to give up the swaddle a couple months ago due to our blankets not being big enough to keep him bundled! You must've had an awesome blanket to last this long!

Nikki said...

Oh the break from swaddling - that was tough on us both times. With Connor I felt like I was being a bad mom keeping him in it for so long (4 or 5 months) so I thouht we had to go cold turkey and we both cried it out for a few days until we swapped our addiction to swaddling for an addiction to rocking. Sigh. Then several months later we both did a bit more crying until he learned to sleep on his own. With Logan, I had finally realized that Mommy guilt was no reason to change a perfectly sleeping baby's habits so we swaddled for 6 months or so until, like Elizabeth now, the blanket could no longer hold him. Then we rocked, cried, "ferberized" (hate that word more than the actual process) and fairly quickly resumed good sleeping patterns.

I'm not sure what advice to give you other than to trust your instincts! If you think she still needs a blanket, you might look into buying a larger one - it might not be a MB but they do make larger swaddling blankets (I've seen them at BRU go up to 12 months size). If you think you want to try other methods (whatever works for you) then you might pick a time when you think you could deal with less sleep (weekend? vacation? never? :) ) and just keep trying!

I wish there was a miracle fix for miracle blanket addiction!

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

We broke the swaddle habit with both kids by slowly weaning. First we'd unswaddle just one arm and only at naptime, then we'd do it for naps and bed. Right now, my daughter still likes the blanket around her tummy, can't sleep without it!

If all else fails, can you buy a bigger MB? I know the Kiddopotomus blankets come in larger sizes...

The Happiest Baby said...

Dear Andria:

Congratulations on your baby girl Elizabeth; and thank you for mentioning Dr. Karp's book "The Happiest Baby on the Block".

Dr. Karp suggests you make sure the blanket you are using is really big (46" square) and remember to swaddle very snugly, with the arms straight so she can't get out of the wrap. And an extra tip: when you put Elizabeth to sleep, give her the chance to learn how to put herself to sleep by waking her up just a tiny bit so she’s half awake and falls back asleep on her own.

And you HAVE to use strong white noise (like our Soothing Sleep Sounds CD). This usually helps a lot to improve sleeping (plan to use this all night long for many more months - or years) can wean it anytime you want just by gradually turning down the volume over about a week.

When she's ready to be weaned, Dr. Karp recommends you try to wean her swaddling by leaving just one arm out at first (as is described on pg 218). But most babies have an easier time transitioning off of the swaddling if you also play white noise (like our Super Soothing Sleep Sounds CD at about the intensity of a shower) all night long. The sound can be weaned over 1-2 weeks whenever you wish, but parents often use it for more than a year. The CD will also help increase her sleep by an additional 1-3 hours nightly. Dr. Karp recommends reading and following the weaning instructions in his book.

Also, if you have a moment, I would truly appreciate you leaving a short review on Amazon. It really helps new parents to read about the experiences of seasoned you!

For more information, or to purchase products, please visit

Best wishes,

The Happiest Baby, Inc.

The Sanders House said...

I just stumbled across your blog when researching how to wean my baby from the swaddle. How did it turn out? Any advice?