Like most new parents, sleep is at the top of my list of “Things That I Miss About My Former Life.” The first few months after welcoming a baby are blissful, to say the least, filled with so much love and happiness that many of us new moms seem to forget the importance of getting all those consecutive hours of shuteye. We get up to nurse every few hours, without any resentment at all because we get to. It’s an honor, a bonding experience, a rite of passage.
And then, the exhaustion sets in and not only do other mothers start bragging about how many hours a sleep their little bambino is getting, but that question, “Is she sleeping through the night yet?” seems to be asked by someone at least once a day.
There is that time, anywhere from three to six months, where some babies will actually start sleeping through the night — and every mom wants in. In fact, many of us are willing to do whatever it takes to be part of that club that can coo, “Why yes, she is. I slept eight hours last night and I feel great.”
My first child was pretty colicky and not an awesome sleeper. Despite the abundance of beautiful aden + anais swaddles I was gifted at my shower, he decided that he was just too strong to be wrapped in a flimsy blanket decorated in beautiful little giraffes and monkeys. We had to look for other options, because he definitely wasn’t sleeping on his own and I knew it wasn’t safe to swaddle him if he could break free. I tried a few decently priced sacks that I found at my local baby superstore, but they failed to work. I was tired and desperate and close to taping him into his swaddle — a tactic that I read about on the web that seemed a tad barbaric.
One of my friends swore that her friend swore by the Miracle Blanket, a cleverly designed piece of cotton that retails for a whopping $31-a-pop. Paying that much for basically a swatch of fabric hurt a little, but like I said, we will fork over whatever it takes in times of desperation. But the first night of using it we earned our money back — oh boy, did he sleep!
I became an unofficial mascot of the company, started by father Mike Gatten after enduring two colicky babies. I wanted the world to know that sleep was an option, thanks to the miraculous little baby wrap that held my child’s flapping arms down, making him resemble a little cocoon. However, the sensational swaddle only worked for a few months, until our son started breaking out of it and rolling over. Again, we tried allowing him so sleep on his own, but he still “wasn’t ready.”
My fatigued husband obsessively started researching other options and stumbled upon the underground sleeper market, which consists basically of two genius inventions: The Zipadee-Zip and Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit. Both products were so spectacularly reviewed that we wondered if they were rigged. Immune to spending big bucks on swaddles, we were willing to pay ANYTHING for sleep, so the price tag, each around $40, didn’t really startle us.
The Merlin, created and patented by mother of four, pediatric physical therapist Maureen Howard, looks like a cross between a baby straight-jacket and snowsuit. It is constructed out of super-thick fabric, heavy enough to keep your baby’s arms and legs extended out and to keep them planted on their back in the crib. There are openings at the hands and feet. It is only recommended for crib sleeping and once they are strong enough to flip over while wearing it, it’s time to retire.
The Zipadee-Zip, which was featured on the television show Shark Tank a few months after we discovered it, is basically a sleep sack with wings. Created by a Texan couple who couldn’t get their kid to sleep through the night, the company was just a little mom and pop shop with a less-than-impressive website when we placed our order.
We opted for it over the Merlin, mostly because it looked less ridiculous paired with the fact that our son was around six months old so we weren’t particularly worried about him sleeping on his stomach. When it arrived, it didn’t seem possible that this was the same piece of fabric parents were willing to trade their family pet for, but the first night we slipped our son into the little fleece number, sleep returned to our home. Within a few months he shed the sack and started sleeping through the night in his pajamas, and all was normal.
When we welcomed our daughter a few years later, we quickly realized that every child was different and that the tricks of the trade we learned the first time around didn’t always apply.
Baby girl was holding her head up the day she was born, breaking out of the Miracle Blanket around six weeks, and flipping over in the Rock n’ Play at three months. We weren’t comfortable starting her in the Zipadee-Zip at this point, because we didn’t want her on her tummy, which is inevitably where she would end up because she couldn’t yet flip back over onto her back. After several sleepless nights, we decided to give the Merlin a shot, ordering one on Amazon.
It arrived promptly the next afternoon and my husband and I couldn’t wait to try it out. While she wasn’t too thrilled to be zipped into the ridiculous looking sleepsuit, and my husband couldn’t stop laughing every time we stalked her on the baby monitor, she actually slept, on her back. Which means that we slept. And everyone was happy the next morning.
Every infant is different, but unless yours was just born sleeping through the night, they may need a little bit of help. The conventional sleepsacks that are sold at most baby stores are less expensive than the Miracle Blanket, Zipadee-Zip, and Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit, but in my experience, they simply don’t work.
So instead of continuing to reenact scenes from The Walking Dead every morning, I strongly encourage sleep-deprived moms and dads to hop online and order one of these bad boys.
h/t: The CutMore On