To Swaddle or Not To Swaddle at 6 Months? (Milestone Monday)

Okay, Emmett is now 6 months old. Besides being the world’s most hyperactive, happy baby, he is still not sleeping enough. I get 20 minute cat naps a couple times a day. Last week we had 8 straight nights of 10-hour sleep. I was getting hopeful. I mean, a habit is 3 days right? Well, not with this guy. On night 9 all hell broke lose.

I think it’s a combination of getting older, and thus more active and stimulated and also the gas pains. Ahhh, yes the flatulence. Lots of it. The other night he woke up hitting himself in the face, pulling his legs up and down like a speed freak, and arching his back. He was screaming too. I knew he wasn’t hungry. The boy had taken 12 ounces between 5-8 pm. That’s an insane amount (hmmm…too much maybe? Could that be it? Now I’m starting to feel like an idiot writing this blog).

At any rate, I pushed and pulled his legs and rubbed his belly for 30 minutes. Then the alien farts began. I say alien because I’ve never heard anything like it. 31 farts. In a row. (I had nothing else to do at 3 a.m. but count.) Then he began to laugh maniacally. I guess I would too if I had just released 30 fart bubbles.

I needed to calm him down. He was so wound it was hard to even change him (and this is the case even during the day). Phil was sick so I couldn’t wake him up to help. I pulled out the old Velcro swaddle from his newborn days and wrapped him up like a straight jacket. Suddenly he went limp. My little guy was completely tuckered. He slept for 7 hours. I slept at the edge of the bed so I could see him in his crib, lest he try and roll over. He didn’t move. A couple times I checked to make sure he was breathing.

I decided to try the swaddle with naps, since Cleo or I can keep an eye on him. He is so wild it’s the only way to restrain him from himself. I know sleep begets sleep, and I’m not kidding: he needs to chill out.

With the swaddle, we are on day two with consistent naps. An hour in the morning, 45 minutes around lunch, 90 minutes in the afternoon. This is far beyond what I’ve had since his birth. And it’s setting a schedule. But what to do about the swaddle? He can roll over easily and pick his head way up. Part of me thinks what is the danger? If he rolls over, won’t he just rest his head to the side? I ordered the miracle blanket to see what I think. But I also don’t want to do something stupid.

I hate to compare my boy to a dog, but he does fart like one, so here goes: dogs can be trained to sit, be still, lay down. I almost think with such a hyper infant, I need to train him to calm himself. If I don’t, I’m going to have hell on my hands when he starts to crawl, or worse, walk. Thank god he does all this with laughter or I’d be committed. But still, I gotta figure this out. Any ideas?


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  1. by Annie

    On July 30, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I say go for it…it’s early yet, and not to freak you out, but he may be having some sensory issues, and one way of helping kiddos with sensory issues is to wrap them up, tightly…even at age four or five. Anyway, I think you’re on the right track…if he’s happy being swaddled, and it helps calm him down, do it!

  2. by Stephanie Sprenger

    On July 30, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    I felt guilty and embarrassed about using the miracle blanket past seven months, maybe even eight months, but you know what? It calmed her spazzy self down and helped her fall asleep quickly. I loved it! Whatever works right?

  3. by Lindsey Reifinger, M.Ed., BCBA

    On July 31, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Continue doing what you’re doing. You’re intuition in right: you may need to train your little guy to calm down and sleep. Sleep
    is so important for development and growth.

  4. by Tamara

    On July 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    The biggest danger with swaddling once he can roll over while swaddled is that he might roll into something and get stuck. Because, like you say, he’s lifting his head and can turn it.

    BUT his sleep surface needs to be hard.. like a crib approved mattress with no puffy sheets or blankets under him.. no crib bumpers or stuffed animals or basically anything other than him and the swaddle!

    I had to swaddle my two youngest until 7 & 8 months of age. Their startle reflexes were ridiculous!

    Also.. if it makes you feel better, you can swaddle him in a fully reclined swing <–he won't be rolling over in that!

  5. by Zoe

    On July 31, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    I swaddled my daughter for 4-5 months, but then decided to stop because it was getting too hot (it was around mid to late June when I stopped). She did sleep really well though being swaddled. I had no luck with my sign though. He refused to be swaddled. He always got himself out. But the he was also a tummy sleeper right from the start.

  6. by kelly

    On July 31, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    I was going to say yes, swaddle. But then, I saw you said six months. I’d be a tad concerned at that stage if they are rolling over that they could get stuck on their face. Probably okay, but not sure I’d personally be comfortable with it. How about a swing? One of mine loved the swing – would take naps there and everything for quite a long bit. I dont think he could roll over in a swing, so might be a double whammy with the sleep one-two knock-out punch lol. i think the risk of sids goes way down after 6 months, but still a concern for up to 12 mos., as i recall. So, not something to mess with. Anyway, with that much gas – perhaps it isnt the swaddle or to not to swaddle that tis the question, but instead considering something he is eating. (or, if nursing, that you are eating) that he is reacting too. some kids are ultra sensitive. Well, good luck and i hope some dreamy bliss is in both your and Emmitt’s future:).

  7. by jill simonian

    On July 31, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    I’m going to springboard on the dog question: YES. YES YOUR KIDS CAN BE TRAINED. EVEN IF THEY ARE ONLY TODDLER AND BABIES. I’m living proof… with a 22-month old and a 5-month old. I won’t details all the ‘details,’ but yes… they are “trained” and adhere to their training about, oh, I’d guess 88% of the time. :) Keep that 3-time nap schedule going… whether he sleeps or not! 45 minutes of ‘quiet’ time is needed. And if he’s not quiet, well then just keep putting in the pacifier, wrapping him up, turning on the Sleep Sheep, soothing/petting him (WITHOUT picking him up)… it works for me. But some people think I’m crazy (but my babies do sleep). But, every babe is different of course. Good luck!

  8. by Sarah

    On August 4, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Have you read “Happiest Baby on the Block?” When I worked in daycare, our infant room teacher used that like a fricken’ Bible. And she had those kids on schedules. And they were happy. I don’t remember when it says to stop swaddling (my son was such a great sleeper from the beginning that we never really had to swaddle him), but I know that swaddling is a big part of it…

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