Angel On Your Shoulder

Stop Me If You've Heard This One


So a few days ago I randomly decided that Ezra was Over Swaddling. I'd wrap him up and he'd kick and fight and make his little frowny-face and go PEH PEH RA RA WAAAAAH and I'd hastily start yanking on all the flaps and dig him out lest he get REALLY good an pissed off, although it was usually too late.

So I stopped trying. And guess what! He stopped sleeping! At all! Ever! No naps, no nice stretch of a few hours at night, just hour after hour with a high-maintenance, demanding infant (I KNOW, RIGHT?) who would not let me put him down for a minute without ramping up into ear-splitting screams.

Things cratered on Monday. Ezra was obviously exhausted and would not go to sleep. I tried swings and bouncies and cribs and mobiles and toys and slings and carriers and pacifiers. Scream scream scream. He nursed non-stop, not really to eat, but to fall asleep after a few sucks, but if I tried to move him, scream scream scream. Scream. Unearthly, unholy screams. I got so baffled I mixed up a bottle of formula and fed him that, hoping that a nice, easy, steady influx of milk would finally get him to sleep.

It didn't. I paced around the house, bouncing him in my freaking. aching. arms. for hours, hushing, singing, asking him ever-so-politely just what the FUCK his problem was. Jason had barely made it through the front door when I shoved the baby at him and fled to go do something more blissful, like laundry. I heard Jason moving towards the swing, clearly still oblivious to what I'd been sending him increasingly non-sensical emails about all day, and I cackled maniacly, counted to three and I swear, the basement ceiling insulation shook with the force of that child's screams. I heard Jason say something like, "Whoa. Dude."

And he just never really went to sleep. He fussed and fretted all night, waking up every hour or so to nurse, and seemed to have more trouble than usual soothing himself back to sleep. I started making out a will in my head, because oh my God, I am going to die. I think I might want to die.

Tuesday morning it all started again, and that's when I saw a discarded Miracle Blanket on the floor and grabbed it. As I started to wrap him up I realized that...hmmm...his legs are getting a little long for the foot pouch, I wonder what would happen if I just swaddle his arms?

(I know y'all are on the edge of seats right now. I JUST KNOW IT.)

He smiled, sighed, and BAM. Sound asleep. For hours. Last night he slept straight through the night. He took another nap this morning. Awake does not equal screaming! He's smiling again! All because...oh Jesus, it's all too dumb and obvious to even sum up in a pithy little manner.


Dudes, I don't know what she's going on about. Like, ME? What?


Look at me. LOOK AT ME. Do I look like I could ever morph into a screaming hellmonster? I do not think so.



In a totally unrelated note, Ezra is 12 weeks old today. Which means in another life, I'd be headed back to an office today. (Maybe. If I still even had a job, since OH HI STOCK MARKET. WHAT'S UP? NOT YOU!)
(Financial editor joke! I've got dozens of 'em!)

In another life, I would have read today's post on another blog and thanked my lucky stars that I was not stuck at home day after day with a screaming baby and a high-maintenance three-year-old, that there were not diapers and burp rags in my Coach bag and that I did not have to ever deal with so much poop and penis and snot or write about putting panty liners in my bra or pregnancy double chins.

And now I thank my lucky stars that I do.

Photo 97



Oh that sweet baby, gorgeous little man. I don't believe you about the screaming. But I know, us mothers run around catering to those babies' whims like lap dogs. By the way, what's happened to Ceiba? And do you still have that cat?


So basically you're saying he looked like a smaller, balder version of your profile photo at the top of the page? (kidding!)

Sorry about the screaming, I've so been there. And you just wonder why they won't say to you "Excuse me, Mother, could you please swaddle just my arms? These jerky things attached to my body that I can't control which are preventing me from sleeping? Thank you ever so much".

That last line- perfect.

Catherine S

Yay! Problem solved. Sleep and quiet are good. Unholy baby screams are very, very, very, VERY bad.

I know that a lot of people may disagree, but I think it is a great idea to keep swaddling until they are really DONE with it. We finally took the swaddle away at night at 4 months and it took about a week, but he goes to sleep without it just fine now. AND is sleeping from 9 till about 6. In the dark days of the first 12 weeks, I would have never, EVER believed this would be possible. We still use the swaddle during the day for naps and that lets him sleep for 2-3 hours at a stretch.

We do not cosleep at night, but have gotten into the routine of taking that first morning nap together. I LOVE this time as he is most sweet and lovey first thing in the morning. We will continue this as long as he wants too...


my son is 5.5 months old and *still* will not sleep if not swaddled. we're trying to wean him from it, but if it's not a nice tight swaddle, nothing but screaming. i'm putting him down for naps loosely swaddled but no luck. since he actually sleeps at night, i'm scared to take away the night swaddle...


I feel your pain. My 5 month old has head to toe eczema and will scratch his face off and not sleep unless I hold him. All night long. The moment I put him down he starts raking his mittened hands over his body and screaming bloody murder. Sigh.


None of us out here believe your maniacal ravings. Because cute and adorable ALWAYS trump maniacal raving. Sorry.

Happy Birthday, sweet Ez!!!



Pantyliners in your bra? That's ingenious -- and cheap! Glad Ezra's back to a normal schedule. I was tired just from reading about the lack of sleep.


You need this in size large. Trust me. I did too. She outgrew the size small in length but was still desperate for the wrap. It kept her sleeping HOURS at a stretch when nothing else would. And since it's only January, I'm sure the cozy fleece on Ezra's bottom half could be a good thing. Good luck from a mother who's been there not so long ago!


Oh the sobbing, out-of-control crying of infants. Mine is now 9 months old and that seems SO far away, but hopefully I'll hear it again someday. Well, not the endless, easily-solved-but-I'm-too-addled-to-think-of-it crying, but newborn crying. Glad he's still swaddling.


We all figure everything out eventually. With my daughter I pumped and bottle fed. I am still BFing my 9 month old - he is A LOT needier. I still swaddle him. We went through a very rough sleeping patch around 3-5 months or so. The book No Cry Sleep Solution really helped me. You're not alone!

Sprite's Keeper

I take one look at those photos and think "what is she bitching about?" and then I remember my own innocent looking one and the "witching hour" which turned into two or eight and think "damn straight, Amy." Glad you outsmarted him. For now..

Catherine S

This is to Sara. It may seem cruel, but we just had to rip off the bandaid with the swaddle. We used this method called the Moms on Call method which incorporates a schedule, swaddling, white noise machine. They recommend that once your baby is breaking out of the swaddle to take it away entirely. The first night our baby yelled for about 3 hours. I say yelled and not screamed b/c it was more of a complaining cry not an all out bone shaking scream. The second night about half that time, the third night, half that. It took about 5 days, but by the fifth day, he went down without a fight and without the swaddle. That was just before Christmas and now he goes down without a fight most nights. This is not for everyone as it is VERY hard to listen to babies cry for that long, but it worked for us. In the long run, I think it going to make bedtime easier as he gets older too. Also, putting a sleep sack over his jammies seemed to help with the transition and helped keep him all snuggly and warm.


You and your spawn are so cute.
But I hate you for having a 12 week old baby who slept through the night. Even if only once. My 10 month old made to 5 am for the first time ever last night, but made up for it by vomiting all over me all morning. A sleep breakthrough, I thought! :P

Alicia Millis

yay for arm swadling! I am glad it worked!!!

I love that last pic, so cute!

Deborah Vahle

Hooray for figuring it out! I'll bet you and Ezra both slept like a baby. Going that long without sleep AND having an unhappy baby on your hands is definitely a test of anyone's patience. Way to get through it!


Even after hearing about the non-stop screamfest, I'd still want to be you at home with the lovely trainwreck vs. me @ work today and 8 months pregnant... still undecided about what to do post-baby. Not coming back here is #1 on my list of things to do, for sure!


I CANNOT believe for one minute that the owner of that beautiful face could be a scream monster. Impossible!


My son did the same thing when he was 4ish months at which time, in a desperate attempt not to go crazy or kill myself, I spent 50 bucks on 4 aden+anais swaddling blankets. For once one of my panic-panic-wait-this-will-solve EVERYTHING purchases paid off. We kept his arms swaddled until he was 8ish months and he's 13 months now and we leave his feet and hands out but 'swaddle' his middle. He's happy, I'm still alive. Win-win.


Also, Pantyliners as breast pads?


Figures I would read this when my milk is dying out on me ggggrrrrrrr.


I read this post from my office where I go 5 hours a week, and my little 10 month old is tearing apart brochures and "filing" for me, and you got me all choked up. I guess I can stop complaining about how hard it is to bring him to work with me one (short) day and just be glad that I don't have to leave him with someone else while I go.


I made the same swaddling mistake at the same age but it took me longer to figure out - I blame the exhaustion and inability to hold a thought in my head on the constant screaming. I decided then and there that I would swaddle until Kindergarten if it meant I got more sleep.


Is it totally creepy that I want to eat your kid? Because I do. I want to eat my own, too. Don't worry.

We swaddle her still, and she's two weeks older than Ezra. She acts like she hates it for the first five minutes or so ("MEH MEH PWUH MEH MEH"), then suddenly she's all happy and sleepy again. My sister swaddled her babies until they were 6 and 9 months old. She has a friend who swaddled her kid until he was two. TWO! Just the arms, though. I'm trying to picture that kid when he grows up and tells his wife that they can't share blankets because he needs to roll himself up in them in order to sleep.

I thank my lucky stars every day that I didn't have to go back to work two weeks ago. She makes me nuts half the day, but I can't imagine leaving her for more than a couple hours.


Yup, I love me my Miracle Blankets. I cried when DS started rolling over and we had to discontinue use of it. Goodbye sleeping through the night, hello waking up every 2 hours again.

The Wife

Man, you're so lucky! The Boy led a similar mutiny against the swaddling only his stuck. He quit all swaddling cold turkey and the Husband and I thought we were going to DIE. He would not sleep unless he could sprawl and even then it was iffy for a few weeks. Much screaming ensued. Not all of it his.

I'm sure you're sick of hearing this but that Ezra is adorable!

The Wife

Man, you're so lucky! The Boy led a similar mutiny against the swaddling only his stuck. He quit all swaddling cold turkey and the Husband and I thought we were going to DIE. He would not sleep unless he could sprawl and even then it was iffy for a few weeks. Much screaming ensued. Not all of it his.

I'm sure you're sick of hearing this but that Ezra is adorable!


Have you seen those "woombie" things? They're like giant stretchy sacks - looks easier (and harder to escape from) than the MB. I'm totally getting one for dude #2 who is coming in a few months. Wish me luck.


You know, Amy... I read your blog and I laugh and laugh, and then always at the end - you hit me right in the gut and I cry. You are an amazing mom, and an artist with words. Seriously.

Thanks for writing... your words have inspired me to give life to my own. Thanks for that.


The thought of being in an office full time makes my stomach churn. I went back to work @ six weeks with my first. Now I'm fighting tooth and nail to work from home as much as I humanly can, even if sometimes the days at home with both boys are torture. Cause yes. The bebesnuggling.


We kept our first boy swaddled until he was like six months old, I say swaddle away! And GO 12 weeks! I love the 12 week mark. I love Birth, Six Weeks, 12 Weeks, Six months, 18th birthday. :)


I needed that today! I needed to know that I was not the only one at home in my glasses, overly big pj's, bedhead, no make-up, with a screaming baby and a dog who whines (LOUD) every time the baby screams. His daddy just got home...guess what NO CRYING (WTF?). Anywho, said baby also only likes arms swaddled-whatcha say we go in together and create the arms only swaddle blanket or onesie =) WE COULD MAKE MILLIONS! And have money for nanny's to hand the screamers off to. J/K, well only about the last part-I love my little screamer.


I went through the same thing around the same time with my youngest daughter (now 10 months). And I got the SAME thing as Mommy Time mentioned. You will LOVE it.


My last two HAD to be swaddled until like 8 months. The best? Those thermal blankets, BabiesRus brand, folded in half like a triangle. Okay so they leave little waffle prints on them, but I owe that dang Koala company my sanity. Oh and the first? I was just too stupid to realize that swaddling existed beyond the newbie stage.


Yeah. My Daughter turned 9 months yesterday and still has a swaddle for night sleeping. The two front teeth coming in are driving her insane. I am going for the one-arm swaddle tonight.

I did the arm swaddle on my son, watch that Ezra doesn't lift his ams and thus push the swaddle up around his mouth. Mine did, like, to his mouth, and that was the end of that. He sleeps like a lump now, so sooner or later it gets better!

One hook wonder

*nods sagely* Even though it looks like his legs won't fit - they will. Err...up to a certain point - then the blanket gets tiny holes in it. I full on swaddled my babe till the age of 9 months in his Miracle Blanket. Now (a month later) he lugs a security blanket that I sewed for him out of the same material EVERYWHERE!

Plano Mom

Amen on the last line. I cried for two weeks after I had to go back to work. As for the swaddling, when it comes to sleep, WHATEVER THE HELL WORKS IS AWESOME.

bethany actually

Well, of course it took you a while to figure it out. Because you were TOTALLY SLEEP-DEPRIVED.

I'm glad you did figure it out though! Yay for 3-month-olds who sleep through the night!


Oh, Amy, be so glad for what you have. My daughter just hit the 8 week mark yesterday, which means not only that she is growing entirely too fast, but that I had to return to work ever-so-reluctantly. I'm sure I was a doll to work with the last two days through the tears and sleepless blubbering.

Anyway - Ezra is adorable, but I don't have to tell you that.

Anyway - I had a similar story when she became too long for her SwaddleMe a couple of weeks ago.


He is so delicious!


My little boy wanted to be swaddled but not his arms. They had to remain unswaddled. Whatever works. At fifteen months I still use a sleep sack on him. I don't know what I'm going to do when he outgrows that.

Goddess in Progress

Indeed, we were swaddle nuts at my house for AGES. We even did a crazy double-swaddle for a while. Then they got too big, but we still swaddled the arms until a whopping 6.5 months. Madness! But powerful stuff.


The Miracle Blanket is the best baby product out there. And i am a firm believer in swaddling until the kid can roll both ways when swaddled. When they roll over in the swaddle, then it is time to cut them loose. With my first baby, we did it that way and only had one night with a few wakings, then she became a great tummy sleeper. With my 4 month old, she is still in the MB nightly.


I think you are fibbing to us. There is no way that sweet little innocent peaceful child has ever given you a moment's worry. He is so quite obviously an angelic child, just look at him!

(ducking and giggling)


I'm going to respectfully disagree with the previous poster re: the kiddopotamus wraps. My colicky son would bust out of that thing before I was even finished wrapping him.

The Miracle Blanket--wrapped so tight he could barely breathe-- was the only thing that worked for my kid...miracle blanket, loud white noise and sleeping in the swing. And he'd sleep...for a whole forty-five minutes before waking up and being all, "Give me my bottle or give me death!"

Ah. The good ole' days.


YAY Miracle Blanket! They call it that for a reason, yo.

We were pretty sure we'd be swaddling Gwen until she was a year old. She finally got over it at 7 months. And yeah, she outgrew the foot pouch about the same time as Ezra. But the magic of arm-swaddling lived on!


Great post! I swear the swaddle truly is a miracle. My 11 month old is still swaddled at naps and night time. And he sleeps like a champ!


Those first few paragraphs are us today (and a little bit yesterday and the day before)! The two-minute nursing, two-minute sleeping, and then grouse grouse grouse grouse until I stick him back on the boob. Maddening. Conincidentally(OR NOT), I also decided Wombat was officially Over Swaddling a few days ago. Hmmmmm...


No joke- I still swaddle my 16 month old (just his arms) because otherwise he cannot fall asleep. :(


You're so lucky to be able to be home with your boys. I've got the primary income, so there's no question that I keep at it, though I was fortunate to have 16 weeks of maternity leave, and I get to work at home a lot.


PS. When they outgrow the products on the market, try a long piece of t-shirt jersey. I have to reinforce it with a bandana tied around his midsection, but it works like a charm.


i totally relate to this. My 15 month old has stopped sleeping. But, there's NO swaddling him, obviously. And, he's either screaming or ransacking the house during the day. Bliss. Bliss, I tell you! What it really is, is probably teething.... Glad things worked out for you in the end!


I had my son in the Miracle Blanket until he was four months old and he was huge, like completely too big for it, but he loved it. We used it from day one and he always slept great. The reason I stopped was not because he wanted to but because during the day his poor little arms seemed to be permanently stuck to his sides. It was as if he had no idea how to raise them because they were always crammed into the blanket. Anyway, swaddle as long as you can!! Btw, I read this all the time and think your blog is great!


Thank Heaven for miracle blankets. No if they only worked for 9 month olds....


First of all, congratulations!

Secondly, I have a one year old - we tried swaddling a lot in the beginning but, just like with a binky, our son would have none of it. He would wriggle out of the swaddle and spit out his binky. I swear he was thinking: "This isn't the real thing, I have no USE for this... you imbeciles" in the same voice that Stu-y from Family Guy uses.


I need to get me one of those Miracle Blankets for baby #2. My first one hasn't ever really liked being swaddled, but for all the raving... man, it would be worth it to at least try.


OK, the absolute adorableness that is Ezra (when he's not screaming of course) is prompting me to be an unsolicited advice-giver (I know, you hate me already right?) But in case you miss my other rant I feel compelled to tell you that panty-liners contain chlorine and dioxin and other yucky substances that cause cancer, respiratory disease, reproductive problems and other assorted nastiness and you should really really keep them away from your precious baby's face and mouth and food supply. O.K? I'll shut-up now.


Give me my darling screaming whiny baby any day over a ugly whiny boss. Glad the boy went to sleep.


My daughter will be six months old soon and we still have to swaddle her at night. Somehow, she naps just fine for the sitter without it. I'm afraid she's going to outgrow all of the blankets soon. My mom *jokingly* said I should use an ACE bandage then. If we have the screaming, screaming, screaming, I might consider it ... for a second.


Aw, the baby days. My youngest is almost 2 and (crying fits aside) I miss having him in his bassinette next to me - all swaddled and happy.
I hear ya, though.
Transitions suck. It's neverending with babies. Breast to bottle, bottle to sippy, breast/formula to milk, sleeping transitions, potty training (what fun this is going to be with my easy to piss off toddler), etc.
Thank goodness they are so cute that it makes the really rough times worth it ;)

Mrs. Flinger

ohmyholyhell. Those cheecks! Omnomnom. And the witty financial editor jokes? I giggle. Out loud. I don't know what this says about me.
But keep 'em coming.

(And more cheecks.)

P.S. We swaddled LB until she was 16. In a large over sized king size bed spread. It's the only way.

Mrs. Flinger

oh for the love of midnight: I mean CHEEKS. CHEEKS.


Can I just THANK YOU for teaching me about the Miracle Blanket? I hesitated at first because they are about a bazillion dollars, but I got a good deal on ebay (2 for $35 shipped! brand new! yippee!) so I went for it. Oh sweet swaddling goodness.

And I feel so bad now! When you said something about him starting to outgrow the foot pouch on the Miracle Blanket, I meant to comment and say that you could do just the arms. This also works super well for putting them in a swing/bouncer. Glad you guys got it all worked out. And thank you again. That company should pay you money.


Diane - I know, right? I should at least get a free damn blanket. Although I learned about them from the commenter's over at, so maybe THEY should all get free blankets.

Noah wasn't a swaddler past his first week or two, and we had those velcro Swaddleme things and he could totally bust out of them as soon as I'd finish wrapping him up, so I figured all the fancy blankets were similarly useless, but hey! I will register for them and give them a try. And OHTHANKTHELORD. Worth every penny.

And I stupidly KNEW I could leave his feet out of the pouch, but for some reason I thought it was the arms that were bugging him. I will never listen to my own brain again.


I am still swaddling my 7 month old. My plan is to do it until she doesn't need it any more - but these 12 hour nights (I'm not kidding, she slept 8 to 8 last night!) are heaven! And I owe it all to swaddling. Even when the miracle blanket is too small, use a regular receiving blanket to trap those arms!


SwaddleMe = Fucking Godsend.

I bought the next size up, lol. Husband had to put his foot down. At that point he was like 4 months, and over it. I'd do it for as long as is necessary!


The miracle blanket is the world's greatest invention for newborns' parents. Without it, I would have slowly gone insane when #1 was first born. I kept him in that thing until he was busting out of it at 4 months...

Parsing Nonsense

You are hilarious, I've never known anyone who could make screaming infants so entertaining. Way to tough it out, though.

My niece was this way, and the first three months of being her nanny were enough to inspire in me the beginnings of a drinking problem. She grew out of it, I grew out of the vodka bottle, and life went on to quieter pastures.


When Alex would scream all night, my hubby and I would DVR The Shield and we would go in at 3am with a screaming baby and watch the episode. We could always hear Vick Mackey and all the gunfire over her screams and I'll be damned if all that cussin', drug use and dirty cops didn't put her right to sleep every time.

heidi Anderson

i've always thought that the miracle blanket should be called something more direct, like the "thank you sweet jesus for the sleep, seriously, i love this thing" blanket.


We had to keep our daughter swaddled until 10 months. Otherwise,there would be no sleep. We went to only arms at first, and when she started breaking out of it, we went to one arm only. Obviously, it was ridiculous, but we paid each time we tried to let it go.

Papa Bradstein

Yeah, any of us who made the mistake of unswaddling too early won't make it again. And yes, why don't any of the books tell us to just forget about the feet, it's all about the arms with the swaddling? Because they want to laugh at us, that's why.


We had the opposite issue...we had to stop full-on swaddling at 6 weeks. It became a wrestling match between him & the blanket as soon as I laid him down. I felt like I wasted my money on the MB! But I know that everyone else loves MB (for good reason). Heather (who posted above) is right about the thermal blankets from BRU. Those are great! They are stretchy enough to tightly wrap, but have good 'give' too. I wrap my 10 wk old in those from the chest down (but the blanket's off in about an hour).
I'm glad that it worked out for you, Amy!

Wacky Mommy

"IS HE A GOOD BABY? IS HE SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT?" That was always my favorite. No, bad baby. Bad, bad, bad.

Thanks for the pix.

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