Although I may eat my words later on, I am happy to announce that we now have an exclusively unswaddled sleeper. The journey has not been easy. There were so many times in the last couple of weeks that I wanted to throw in the towel and give up. I kept thinking "maybe she's not ready", and wanted to revert to our old ways. I'm so glad I didn't. It was worth the bad naps, night waking, and tears on both of our parts because now my daughter can fall asleep and stay asleep peacefully for naps and night time without her baby straight-jacket. That dreadful miracle blanket has been replaced with a sleep sack which keeps her warm, but allows her limbs to be free. I feel the need to have a ceremonial burning of the miracle blanket (thanks for the idea, Kerri :)). I never want to use that thing again. It was wonderful when The Chubs was a tiny infant, but it became a sleep prop that she could not do without, and that is when both of our swaddling addictions began.
After thinking about sleep props and what other ones may cause a problem in the future, I decided to get rid of the music I play for her before each nap. For about a week now she's gone without it, and I actually think she falls asleep faster that way. Another small victory won. I still give her her paci before naps, but not at night. If she loses her paci during a nap I do not put it back in. I don't want her to rely on that to be able to fall back asleep again. We are getting there slowly but surely. The last thing to consider will be her white noise machine. More than anything, we have it to muffle outside noises since she's a pretty light sleeper. I can see her becoming dependent on it in the future, but for now we will be using it as long as needed. It's portable and small, and to be honest, as an adult I still sleep better with white noise. I figure with the other sleep props behind us, we can afford to give her that one "luxury".
I realize by writing this post that I am most certainly in for some sort of relapse with her napping and night sleeping behavior, so I will relish the success while I can. Even if it's just for one more day.
I will leave you with a special goodbye note I wrote to my frenemy, miracle blanket.
It seems like just yesterday I was ordering you online in hopes that you would swaddle my baby so tightly she could not bust her appendages free. I had just ended things with receiving blankets - they just weren't fulfilling my needs anymore, so I was rather vulnerable. When you arrived in the mail, I opened you up with anticipation. Everything was so new and exciting. I couldn't wait to try you out. You promised that my child would sleep longer at night, you promised to be the best baby straight-jacket a mom could ever want. You certainly delivered on your promises, but you brought with you the deathly grip of swaddling addiction that I will never be able to truly forgive you for. It is a dependency I never want to feel again. An unhealthy desperation.
For months and months I wrestled with you. A battle I often felt I had lost before it had even begun. Although I knew it was time to say goodbye, I just couldn't let go.
Finally I am free of your grip. I will not turn back, I will not back down. It's not you, it's me. You did what you came to do, and I let it control me. Thank you for your service, but I will not be needing you anymore.
The Chubs' Mom