Cracking the Sleep Code: Getting Judah to Sleep

One common challenge of early parenting is getting a child to sleep. Judah is no exception.

When he’s crying, we can quiet him using Dr. Karp’s “Cuddle Cure” described in The Happiest Baby on the Block: we swaddle him, hold him on his side, and jiggle him around while we shush him, and sometimes give him a finger to suck on. (Based on my experience, I thoroughly endorse Dr. Karp’s book: it just works.)

The problem has been that, once he’s calm and we put him to bed, it takes about two minutes for him to start screaming again. This wasn’t a problem for Judah’s first three or four days &emdash; he was fine until he worked his way out of the swaddle, but we’d re-swaddle him and he’d quiet down again — but all of a sudden the problem appeared as if out of nowhere.

As of two days ago, I think we nailed this problem: we’d switched from a traditional swaddle to putting him in a onesie and a SwaddleMe, this great velcro-sealed baby pouch that Judah can’t wriggle out of.

Unfortunately, while Judah can’t shimmy his arms out of the SwaddleMe, the fabric is much more stretchy. When I realized that the switch to the SwaddleMe coincided with our inability to get Judah to sleep, we swaddled him first in a normal swaddling cloth, and then used the SwaddleMe to keep him from being able to undo himself. (Several days later, we switched to a single larger flannel swaddling blanket that we can tuck more securely, as he seemed to be a bit warm from the multiple-layer solution.)

Using a “real” swaddle worked perfectly: now Judah will sleep through the night, even when we want to get him up for feeding. (That’s a different problem, and another blog post… when we get an answer!)