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My baby has always been on the big side; I love that that makes for delicious thighs to squeeze and chubby cheeks to nibble, but it’s also meant she’s outgrown things at a much faster pace than we anticipated. At 6 weeks she was fitting into 6-month-old clothes; at 2 months she was squirming in her infant car seat; and at 3 months she outgrew her bassinet and started breaking out of her swaddle (oh how I miss you, Miracle Blanket!).
As much as I loved having her sleep next to me in her bassinet, it was time to move into her crib. She handled the transition fairly well during her daytime naps, but she did not like the cotton sleepsack I put her in at night. Even if she fell asleep while feeding, the second I laid her down she’d start flapping her arms and would work herself into a tizzy. She clearly missed the snugness of her swaddle, but in keeping with American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, I didn’t want to risk having any loose blankets in her crib as a suffocation hazard, especially since she had also started rolling over onto her tummy.
After about 10 days of bleary, sleepless nights (by far the worst sleep stretch to date in Maggie’s short life), I came across a webinar from Isis Parenting, a now-closed baby shop in my hometown with a wealth of amazing information for new parents (bookmark that Youtube page, like, yesterday mamas). Isis’s baby guru, Nancy Holtzman, sang the praises of something called Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit for babies who were transitioning out of the swaddle.
“What the heck?” I thought when I found it on Amazon. It looked like a cross between a snowsuit and a straitjacket. But it also got great reviews, with parents of babies around Maggie’s age describing similar plights to my own, followed by miraculous stretches of uninterrupted sleep.
To my great delight, I discovered that the company’s website ships to Singapore (hallelujah!) at the not-unreasonable price of just $12 USD (a small price to pay for my sanity). The suit arrived less than a week after I ordered it; I tore open the envelope like it was a college acceptance letter.
The sleepsuit combines the safe, zippered confines of a sleepsack with structured arms that help muffle the startle reflex (so Maggie couldn’t flap her arms if she tried). Made from a soft, snuggly fleece, it’s super cosy and comforting, but here in Singapore you’ll definitely want to crank up the aircon to prevent overheating. (NB: They’ve recently introduced a lighter weight cotton version that’s probably more Singapore-appropriate).
Her first night in the sleepsuit Maggie went from sleeping three hours to six. She happily allowed herself to be zipped in when I put her down, and I watched with amazement as she drifted off to sleep rather than wake herself up slamming her arms on the mattress. As I’ve written previously, at four months she did hit a snag that coincided with a growth spurt, but after some timely sleep training and a change in habits she’s now sleeping 11 to 12 hours a night.
The sleepsuit is also a great way to encourage routine and consistency. When I zip Maggie into her suit after her final feed at night, she knows it’s time to sleep. On our recent 20-hour flight home to the United States for Christmas, it helped create a cozy, familiar setting in airplane bassinets (plus it helped protect against the draftiness!).
Oh and, by the way, babies in the sleepsuit are like THE CUTEST THING EVER. She looks like marshmallow man and is just as cuddly when I pick her up in the morning!
At 7.5 months, Maggie has maybe one more month of use before she grows out of the sleepsuit (she’s wearing the 6-9 months size). I’m hoping she’ll finally accept the sleep sack when the time comes, though at least she’ll soon be old enough to use a blanket.
Parents often tell me that just when you get used to one thing with babies, everything changes, and I’ve come to accept that. But I’ll always be grateful to Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit for these five wonderful months, and can’t recommend it highly enough to mamas in search of a swaddle transition solution!
Lead image sourced courtesy of Baby Merlin’s Facebook