Author Topic: Refuses to be swaddled, but wakes himself up with flailing limbs  (Read 435 times)

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Offline Ljump87

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My son is 5 weeks old and since about day 3, he stopped allowing us to swaddle him. He fights and cries until he breaks out. We started using the velcro swaddle sleep sacks (allowing his hands to touch his face in the prayer position), but he screams until his arms are free, so we have been allowing that. He often sleeps with his arms up over his head. Even when he is awake, he likes to be spread out.

The problem is, he has crazy limbs that flail around and wake him up during naps (he does pretty okay at night). This startles him and upsets him, then he usually does not go back to sleep. The pacifier helps, but sometimes he knocks it out during the flailing, making it more of a prop than a comfort item. The difficulty with this has made it so cumbersome for me to consider doing two catnaps in the evening. Napping is stressful enough! Please help! I hope this isn't our reality until he can control those limbs...
« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 04:05:33 am by Ljump87 »

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Re: Refuses to be swaddled, but wakes himself up with flailing limbs
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2017, 07:13:59 am »
Hello and welcome to BW forums :)

I wonder if he is a bit warm?  Young babies (even older children) often like to spread out with arms up over their head to cool down and are more likely to huddle up if a bit cooler. It might be worth assessing the temperature in the room or what he is wearing.

Otherwise, if he doesn't like being swaddled and it's causing more problems than it's solving then it's probably a case of helping him through naps without one and his startle reflex will eventually reduce. Although it might be a pain (and exhausting) for you at the moment because he's waking with jolts and startles, it does have a more positive side - you don't have to go through a swaddle wean later on and babies who sleep less deeply are at a lower risk of SIDS.

My own was swaddled for naps and the early part of night sleep for the first 10 wks (not all night) but not beyond that.  There were times I used a swaddle just for wind down and then removed it just prior to sleep and putting him down, and times when I used it to help him calm if he was particularly agitated (like through teething or reflux problems when he was really screaming and flailing, the swaddle helped me keep hold of him) but when it came to sleep I removed it.  So not everyone gets on with a swaddle.

If he is at all OT (over tired) he is more likely to jerk and jolt in his sleep so you might revisit your routine to make sure he is well rested.

You might also want to try this swaddle method where the arms are up:
https://babywhispererforums.com/index.php?topic=1439.0
Or ask on the Hoggwatch board for recommendations for various swaddles which can be bought to see if there is one which might be more suitable for your baby.
https://babywhispererforums.com/index.php?board=7.0


Offline Ljump87

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Re: Refuses to be swaddled, but wakes himself up with flailing limbs
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2017, 18:37:43 pm »
Thank you so much! This was very helpful!!! :)

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Re: Refuses to be swaddled, but wakes himself up with flailing limbs
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2017, 19:01:15 pm »
You're very welcome. Do ask more questions either here or on another suitable board if you have more questions :)