You will find a good majority of parents swaddle their infants. It helps babies to feel more secure and helps with the startle reflex. Now the startle reflex is very interesting in that whenever there is even the slightest sound the babies arms will start to flail, which in turn wakes the baby up, and then they scream hysterically (at least mine do).
The startle reflex usually disappears between 3-6 months which is when most people stop swaddling. Last night Michael tried to be ultra nice to me and let me get some more sleep. So when Criton and Caitlin woke up about 1am last night he got up and fed them, telling me to go back to bed. It was so sweet and very appreciated since I have been doing the night feeds myself now, so he can be rested for work. So I went back to bed and back to sleep. At about 3am I was awakened by a baby fussing, so I got up and headed to the nursery. I almost had a panic attack when I got there though. Criton had scooted around and got his swaddle blanket bunched up around his neck and shoulders area with his bare legs kicking out of the bottom. I was freaked. I quickly picked him up and untangled him. All that kept going through my mind was he could have smothered. This led me to today’s internet research project. I researched all about the startle reflex and when it would fade away. Then I asked the women on my multiples board explained the situation and asked when to stop swaddling. Most of the responses I got told me to either just go cold turkey or start with one arm unswaddled and if they do ok after a few day unswaddle the other. Some suggested the Halo sleep sacks with the swaddle wings. Unfortunately the babies learned how to escape out of those by the time they were 4 weeks old. So I decided to try cold turkey to see what would happen. I gave all the babies a bath, massaged them with lotion, dressed them in footed PJ’s, gave them their gripe water, fed them their bottle, rocked them down, and then laid them on their boppys in their bed (they use the boppys due to reflux). First was Haley and she immediately woke up but didn’t cry. She just laid there starting at her mobile. She looked sleepy and was being quiet so I decided to try and start the next baby. By the time I got back to the nursery with Criton, Haley was chewing her fist like crazy but still quietly staring at her mobile. About half way through Criton’s bottle, Haley lost it and started flailing her arms and crying. Michael came in to help settle her while Criton finished his feed. Meanwhile Miche was watching Caitlin. I finished feeding Criton, rocked him down, and laid him in his bed. As I turned to pick up Haley, Criton started to stir. His little arms started to fly above his head and flail a little. At this point I knew I was in trouble. I tried for about 20 more minutes to get them down with no luck. By this time it had been over an hour putting them to bed. I surrendered. I quickly changed them into onsies, swaddled and rocked them one by one. Within 10 mins the babies were fast asleep. I went to get Caitlin from Michael. He had already fed her and she was half asleep so it took no time to rock her down, swaddle her, and put her to bed. Surprisingly enough, it was still 8pm by the time I was exiting the nursery. So what I learned from this small experience… We must wait for the startle reflex to lessen down before taking the swaddling away. So tomorrow I will be making a trip to the fabric store. I need to find some lightweight stretchy material to make new swaddle blankets with. Their current blankets are somewhat heavy, so I am hoping the light weight material will make me less nervous. I am going to go over how to swaddle a baby again with Michael so he feels more comfortable/ better at it. Other then that, today was pretty uneventful. Michael and Caitlin took a three hour nap in the recliner (Yay!). Criton was talking and laughing up a storm as usual. Haley actually started to become a chatter box. I had Criton and her on the bed and all of a sudden she joined our conversation. She was cooing, babbling, and giggling. It was great. I am so happy she is finally finding her voice and interacting more. I always worried that the other two would run her over because she is so quiet and laid back, but she is coming around. They amaze me everyday and fill my life with joy. People ask how I do it and my response has always been “One day at a time”. Even though it is one day at a time, it is becoming easier days. I can’t wait till they start crawling and interacting with each other!