Monday, September 2, 2013

{Real Mom Life} Swaddling

6:45 AM lighting, thus a grainy picture
There are times when it hits me with full force that Maylin will not be a baby forever. I remember these times with electric clarity: the night Maylin was 3 days old, when she outgrew her first newborn outfit, when she outgrew size newborn diapers, the first time she sat up independently, when she learned to put her passy in her mouth by herself.

And last night when, for the first time in Maylin's 5 month life, I chose not to swaddle her before putting her to bed. 

I know, right? Like, so not a big deal.

Except it is. To this mama it is.

Swaddling is one of the trademarks of being a baby-baby. A newborn. So, to not wrap her in a tightly woven baby-blanket-bundle was like saying good-bye to that phase of her life. A phase we will never return to. I will never again be the mother of a first born newborn baby.

Teeny, tiny, two week old Maylin, swaddled to the max.

Sometimes that knowledge is crippling and frightening, because having the sentimental, hoarder-type personality that I have, I want to clench with white-knuckle ferocity to whatever phase we're living in at the time. Other times, I am joyful that Maylin will not be in a certain phase anymore, like when she finally began consistently sleeping through the night. I was totally okay with waving goodbye to middle of the night feedings. There are times that I can hardly wait for her to grow to a toddler, to see her totting around on wobbly legs, for her to grow even a smidgen of hair for me to put a bow in, for her to babble in sweet toddler-talk, for her to grab my face and plant a slobbery kiss on my cheek, to hear her 4 year old voice.

Yet I know that I will trade these baby moments for those toddler moments, and the baby moments will be over. Then I'll trade toddler moments for school-girl moments. School-girl moments will be swapped for teenage moments. Then she'll be gone. And our moments together will be fewer and farther between. 

All of this because she is growing out of her swaddling blankets. 

I've been grappling with this decision in my mind for a while. I realize that 5 months is a little old for a baby to still be bound at night, but I've always convinced myself that she liked it, that it made her feel safe and secure, kind of like she was still in my womb. Until she convinced me otherwise. And she has probably been trying to tell me that for a couple weeks now, but I've been too stubborn to listen. After consistently sleeping through the night with no problem, Maylin has recently been waking up mid-night, or has been fighting being put down to bed. It's frankly been exhausting. Soon, after talking to a friend at church whose children are a little older, I concluded that Maylin's sleeping habit disruptions are probably two-fold.
1) It's time to lose the swaddle.
2) It's time to start her on some sort of solid food.
I am (albeit selfishly) so not ready to give up exclusive breastfeeding, so the only option left was to give up swaddling.

So I did.

She slept peacefully through the night. She did not scream when I tried to put her to bed, and she did not wake screaming during the night. 

Then this morning she greeted me with this face.

"Thanks, Mom."

I suppose I should've listened sooner.

One small step for Maylin, one giant leap for mama. Thus is motherhood, I suppose.

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