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Here is how I am going to get rich. I am going to start a company to provide Night Nannies to new moms. These will be lovely and charming women (who are also fatter and have worse hair than you, because who needs that sort of pressure?) who come to your house at midnight and care for your baby for a few hours. Like, when the baby starts screaming his head off 20 minutes after you fall asleep, your Night Nanny will go get him and say, in a gentle and loving voice, "Now now, dear, your poor mother just spent an hour nursing you and you cannot possibly be hungry, so let's just sneak away quietly and let that dear woman get a little sleep." And then Night Nanny will take said baby to the corner of your house furthest from your bedroom so you can't hear him fussing and you will get a couple of hours of uninterrupted sleep and suddenly there will be flowers and bluebirds and food will once again have taste and you won't have to lie in bed weeping from exhaustion at 2 AM begging the baby to please for the love of all that is holy go the fuck to sleep already. Not that I would know anything about that last one. No.

But brilliant, yes? And I'll make a killing, because right now I would happily sign over the deed to my house in exchange for two consecutive hours of sleep. (Not much sacrifice, really, since the bank owns more of the house than I do, but you get my point.)

On a related note, does anybody have any idea how to transition an, oh let's say four-month-old baby from sleeping swaddled to sleeping un-swaddled? Poor sweet Owen currently can't sleep either way. When he's swaddled, he wakes up all pissed off that he can't move his chubby, fat-dimpled little arms, and when he isn't swaddled he wakes himself up by jamming eight fat little fingers straight up his nose.

Comments (41)

So sorry about no sleep. That blows. I had good luck putting baby on its side and shoving rolled blankets on either side of child so as not to roll onto its tummy. This wedges but still gives some movement so they don't get cranky. Don't know how that fixes fingers up nose problem though.

I hope you get some sleep.

Bubble burst warning: Night nannies already exist as do many services to provide them. I resented the hell out of all of my friends who had night nannies while I stumbled through the sleepless nights after sleepless night. Three times.

Maybe you can start a non-profit, get funding, and then offer night nannies to all of us who can't afford to hire them ourselves. And, you can make sure that only older, not hot women get hired. I'm sure there is plenty of federal grant money for this!

Sorry Beth, that brilliant business plan is already extensive in your area. My sister was one of those Night Nannies, although sooo not fat. She just sat up and rocked pretty little babies all nite. :) Brought them in to the sleeping mama's for nursing and then she went back to rocking them or watching them breathe. I, in all seriousness could get you a name of those agencies if you are interested. Pictures of Owen were adorable!!!!!!!!! Precious blue eyes!!!

Can I be a silent partner? Because I'd TOTALLY do that. Sleep training is something I'd HAPPILY outsource, hands down.

I'm so sorry. I've been there all too recently so I truly know your pain.

About the swaddling? What we're doing to slowly transition away from it is I leave one arm out and it seems to be doing the trick. I pick whichever hand he has in his mouth at the time to leave out. We use The Miracle Blanket and it's keeping his other fat arm in there all snug-like.

Other than that I have nothing. Good luck though. I'll DHL the Sandman over right away.

please, please dear internets...provide me (and Beth) with the magic solution for de-swaddling a baby. We have EXACTLY the same problem...our 4 month old WILL sleep through the night...provided that he is trapped in a swaddle...there is only one slight problem...halfway through EACH night, via wiggling, the swaddle becomes a turban and then violent crying ensues...until one said parent (usually the non-working one) treks down the hall, unwraps the turban and re-swaddles the furious baby.

help me internets...I beg of you...

I would pay for that service, too.
About the swaddling's not a full solution but t helped me. I swaddled one arm and left one free. He still pissed himself off, but not as much. We also found out (during this period) that the older son can sleep through a holocaust. Felt better about letting the little guy cry for a little while after finding that bit of news out.

at 11 months old, lola still sleeps "half-swaddled" at night, with her arms out. it has always seemed to keep her sufficiently "comforted" without pissing her off that her arms are confined.
good luck...

you DO know that their night nurses/nannies exist, right?

also...i'd be willing to come to your house and sleep train your son. just saying ;) you can pay me in cookies and coffee.

well, you are going to totally hate me ... but such a service already exists. Baby nurses comes for, oh, about two weeks or so and care for the baby at night so the mom can sleep. They also show the mom how to diaper and care for the umbilical cord. These nannies are astronomical in cost. As you can imagine.

The Night Nannies should have British accents. They'll fetch a higher price that way. If they can travel via umbrella and make friends with a musical chimney sweep? Disney dollars. Big bucks.

As for swaddling? Would you consider those thin mittens that are really for newborns to keep from scratching themselves? Maybe you could just do a light blanket loosely wrapped and the mittens to keep him from sticking his fingers in his head holes and waking up? I really don't know but Good Luck anyway!

You are scaring the almost ready to give birth lady again (because it is all about me).

So sorry...and hoping that you get some sleep. Your business idea is brilliant.

Ok here is what we did with R. We did the leave one arm free...then eventually left both arms that point he could worm his legs out and ended with the whole thing around his mid section and was all pissed we removed it totally.

One thing that worked super-well for us was a chenille blanket - heavy enough to hold them and make them feel snuggled (and discourage arm movements) but unrestrictive enough that they *can* get out if they really want to. We called it "The Magic Blanket" for my son. The dry-cleaning bill goes up a bit (spit-up) but it helps the transition (and doesn't take long to transition again) - SO worth the short-term cost! Good luck!

Um, not to burst your bubble but they have those. They are night doulas. My best friend had one for her twins.

Miracle blanket?

We are going through the same thing here with my 5 month old son...he is addicted to that damn miracle blanket. We started leaving one arm out and for about 5 days it completely screwed his sleeping pattern..and he would wake up wailing 2 or 3 times a night. But then, he got used to it. I am too scared to take the other arm out though. Sigh.

Oh, I sooo know what you are going through! (I've had the same idea about "Night Nannies" in the midst of the awful months on end without a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep. Probably a lot of overly exhausted mamas come up with that one at some point, but dammit! Someone (you) needs to actually start this business up, rightaway!). I guess you probably already know about the four month sleep regression (I first read about it on the ask moxie website). My son had to be swaddled until six months old, then we quit the swaddle cold turkey b/c the one arm out thing had the same effect as no swaddle at all: no solid sleep. After about two weeks of really hellish nights, he slept a bit better. Good luck with the swaddle situation, I sympathize with you!!

Oh, I sooo know what you are going through! (I've had the same idea about "Night Nannies" in the midst of the awful months on end without a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep. Probably a lot of overly exhausted mamas come up with that one at some point, but dammit! Someone (you) needs to actually start this business up, rightaway!). I guess you probably already know about the four month sleep regression (I first read about it on the ask moxie website). My son had to be swaddled until six months old, then we quit the swaddle cold turkey b/c the one arm out thing had the same effect as no swaddle at all: no solid sleep. After about two weeks of really hellish nights, he slept a bit better. Good luck with the swaddle situation, I sympathize with you!!

The only anti-fingers-up-the-nose device I can think of would be those little baby mits that keep them from gouging their eyes out as newborns. It might solve the nose-gouging problem... maybe. Possibly some baby mittens? That's all I've got. =/

I love that idea, and I love kids... and i need another job. Make the job national and get me a career (make it pay well, too, please!) ;) Sorry that you're getting no sleep. That sux!


Um, I can't help you on the swaddling. Mister is 18 months and he still likes to be "swaddled" (in quotes because how much can you really swaddle an 18 month old, but we effectively turn him into a Mister Burrito) in his blankie at night and he will not go to sleep unless he is wrapped up like that.

But Owen, man, that's a catch 22....

I'm really sorry. I think that sleep deprivation is torture. When we made the transition it was a shitty time and I just had to ride it out till she got used to having her arms all over the place. Once she did get used to it though it made life easier. Could you try wrapping just the bottom half so he still feels secure but has access to chubby hands? I don't know this is probably useless advice. I hope you get some sleep soon. It sucks. But you knew that already.

So we're working on getting the fussbot to sleep unswaddled as well. Right now we swaddle him and are leaving his right arm out with the hope that he will get used to smacking himself in the face while sleeping and not wake up from it. In a few weeks we will try both arms out. Can't tell if its working yet but we figure its worth a shot.

I am pretty sure you'd have a success on your hands, because reading about it made tears spring to my eyes.

It would be a 1-800 number with a nanny within 5 minutes of any house, because no one would want to arrange it during the day when it seemed too expensive: only at night when it seemed priceless.

My son was a swaddler too....eventually we lfet his arms out and swaddled the rest of him really tightly, so he still felt like a burrito but he had his arms free to flail around. We used the Halo sleep sack for this, since there were no blankets big enough. In fact, we still have a new XL sleep sack (since he outgrew the swaddling by then) up for grabs, but I don't think Owen is quite THAT big just yet. Maybe by next week tho'. Say the word and its yours.

I would so have paid for that service when Ben was in the middle of his "I hate sleeping at night" campaign. When you already have an older one you are just plain screwed. I remember being about ready to punch anyone that said "take naps when the baby sleeps". WTF I have a 3 year old who doesn't nap. I can't sleep then or my house might get burned down or worse. I also learned during this time that my husband can sleep though a hurricane and me kicking him several times.

As to the swaddling thing - we let Ben sleep swaddled until about 6 months old. At about 4 months old he started getting mad like that and we changed to a bigger blanket and that seemed to help a ton. I bought some 1 yard pieces of cotton fabric at Wal-Mart and finished the edges. They made perfect blankets for swaddling during the older months and they don't get too hot.

We had the same problem. Finally we used a good-sized lightweight blanket (or a twin sized sheet folded in half) and put it over our daughter and tucked a generous amount of the blanket between the sides of the crib and the mattress (a generous enough amount so that it cannot be easily pulled out by a restless sleeper). This way her arms were tightly "swaddled" under the blanket, but her legs and feet could move freely without kicking the blanket off of herself, or feeling too trapped.

Peanut loved being swaddled, but I don't remember how we un-did it. I think we just tucked a blanket around and under him with both arms free. The blanket was loose around the legs, but covered them.

Kid #2 seems to hate the swaddle. I guess this is good because we won't have to break him of it, but it would be nice to find something that comforts him other than mommy boobs.

I'd love a night nanny. I'm sure we can't afford it, but wow to get some sleep would be fabulous. Though I can't go too long without feeding the child or pumping for fear of explosion so I have to get up regularly anyway.

I'll think good thoughts for you if you promise to do the same for me?

Good luck!

You can totally hire me! I love being up in the middle of the night :)

All I can offer are sympathies and good thoughts.

Can I work for your company when you start it...I seem to always wake up anyway around 3 am?

No solutions here. I need the same help. My 4 month old likes sleeping in her car seat though. Good now, not so good when she gets too big for it.

I'm wrestling with the swaddling transition too. Our nurse in the hospital told us not to swaddle the baby after 2 weeks, and now that we've hit that point it's a challenge.
Have you tried putting mittens on his hands so he can't stick fingers in his nose? A loose suggestion because my baby HATES mittens. But yours might not. (shrug)

I was also totally unsure on how to give up swaddling with both babies once it was supposedly "unsafe" (esp. after they were competent rollers). I remember fantasizing about various contraptions involving velcro straps for wrists stitched into the side seams of sleep sacks, etc., but nothing really seemed SAFE. So I decided the only logical solution would be one of those plastic funnels you put on a dog's head when he has fleas.

Turns out we went cold turkey both times and really had minimal problems. But they were like 8 months old by the time I gave it up.

Hi Beth, I've been reading your blog for a long time now and have decided to delurk :)

Chinese women who have just given birth employ a "confinement nanny" for the first month. Traditionally, during the first month, the new mother isn't supposed to shower or wash her hair and has to stick to a strictly controlled diet of food cooked by the confinement nanny. The diet includes lots of ginger and other nourishing ingredients that adhere to the yin and yang that the Chinese believe in. The new mother is also not supposed to leave the house for a whole month. Fortunately, in these modern times, new mothers choose not to be as restricted as those of days past.

The best part of all this "confinement" practice is that for the entire first month, the confinement nanny is supposed to take care of the baby day and night so as to allow the mother to fully recover. After that, the mother is on her own unless she decides to to hire a night nanny which is seldom practised here in Singapore where I live. I believe that in China, confinement nannies are much more strict and traditional.

For my two kids, I had a confinement nanny but broke all the rules - I went out regularly to avoid cabin fever, showered every single day, ate stuff I wasn't to eat like ice cream and lemonade, and took care of my baby most of the day because hey that's MY child. BUT I let her take care of the baby at night because I knew I was going to be sleep deprived from the second month onwards.

Those night nannies you refer to are also called postpartum doulas. Still very business worthy and you would make a killing if you live near a military base where husbands are gone soon after the birth and the wives are left alone to take care of a newborn/young infant.

They have them - here in Vegas you can hire a doula service. I was SO BLESSED that my mom didn't work at that time and came and stayed with me a few nights a week for the first few months, so that I could sleep.

As far as the swaddling goes - both of my boys went from being swaddled to sleeping on their bellies. I know, I know . . . but I'd do it again.

sorry - Im all fresh out of baby sleep ideas...I always let them sleep on their tummy's...i know, Mother of the year I tell ya

i've worked as a night nanny/baby nurse/sleep trainer and i've met many mothers who wanted to give me the world covered in chocolate sauce when my work was complete. there is something about patience being tested at night that makes it less manageable than the day, isn't there? i can be on the next flight if you wish.

i echo the others who said to try with one arm out, or even two if it feels like he's ready. a bolster to keep him on his side might help, too, either with or without the swaddle. it is hard to say having not seen him "in position."

if you aren't against your kids using thumb or finger sucking to self soothe, sometimes sneaking in and quietly moving the hand (out of the nose (!) and) toward the mouth encourages them to figure it out (reposition, readjust, settle) on their own.

of course, there's always the possibility that sucks the most: nothing works except time. in which case, uncork the wine, my dear. pump and dump.

We just went through that stage and according to Moxie it is just the four month sleep regression. Sadly, all we could do was tough it out (SO HARD). At the same time the baby stopped wanting to be swaddled and so we just cut her off cold turkey. There were a couple of nights of nose-stuffing but since she was waking up every hour or so it didn't really make a difference. And once she was sorted that part was at least done.

I admit I white knuckled it though.

We made the un-swaddle transition by accident when we traveled to LA without a proper swaddle blanket (at 6 months). It took him a few nights, but he got the hang of it pretty quickly. I put a couple of small, safe stuffed animals in the crib with him, and I think that helped with the transition - he would swat out and find them in his flailing, and it would calm him a bit (at least, that's how it seemed). Good luck!

We had no problem un-swaddling. One day he just fell out and rolled down the hill...(just kidding)

They are called post partum doulas, they take the night shift after the baby is born. They are damn fine women and you can hire them by the week or day depending. try google DONA (doulas of North America) will give you local referrals.

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