I'm a freelance writer and mom of two little girls and a cat. When not chasing them, I write about parenting, business, and gardening.
A Little About Babies and Their Sleep Patterns
Nearly every parent has struggled at least once or twice to get a restless baby to fall asleep or to sleep for longer. In fact, early on, babies aren’t supposed to sleep longer than a few hours at a time, and moms and dads pretty much expect to have some degree of interruption to their sleep for the few months after bringing baby home. According to the National Sleep Foundation, however, most babies have the capability to sleep through the night by six months old. Some may take longer than that, depending on different factors like whether they’re breastfed or if they have digestive issues like acid reflux that might keep them up.
Even by three months old, babies typically show a change from when they were first born and start sleeping longer stretches and waking less easily. Some babies at this age may even sleep up to eight hours without waking up for milk. A lot of us know all too well, however, that this is definitely not always the case.
Why Do Babies Wake Up at Night?
There are a couple scientific reasons babies can’t always sleep easily through the night like adults too. Tiny babies less than 3 months old often wake up because it is time for another feeding—their little tummies are very small and can only hold a small amount of milk, therefore requiring frequent refills to keep baby full.
Babies also have naturally shorter sleep cycles than adults. When they transition between those cycles they may wake themselves up with the little movements their arms and legs may make. Babies are also used to the enclosed environment of the womb, which almost acted like a 24-hour rocking chair to constantly sway them to sleep, with the added bonus of the “white noise” coming from the sound of mom’s body.
The Parental Impact on Their Sleep
Some studies have shown that mom and dad’s behavior also has a significant impact on their child’s sleep habits. There is a lot of conflict surrounding whether it's ok to let your baby “cry it out” or not, but at least one study showed that babies who are picked up more during the night end up having poorer sleep habits. It also indicated that if the same parent (usually mom, if breastfeeding) is the one who always attends to the crying child at night, rather than alternating mom and dad, they are likely to wake up more frequently.
What Happens When Baby Doesn’t Sleep
If you’ve ever gone more than 1 night in a row staying up with a crying baby, you can probably relate to the groggy, zombie feeling that comes during the day. Sleep deprivation and exhaustion are huge factors that can lead to post-partum depression. If a mom has not been able to rest for long periods of time, and then has to work or take care of children during the day, it can really take a toll on her sanity and well-being. Baby also will likely be crankier and harder to deal with during the day. Plenty of advice suggests sleeping during the day while baby sleeps as a way to cope—but that is simply not an option when you have other kids to take care of or any kind of responsibilities to tend to.
What I Tried That DID NOT Work
I knew all of the information above before giving birth to my second baby. I had even been through it all before with my first born—she had been a terrible sleeper until about 5 months old, but then magically started sleeping through the night once we transitioned to her crib in her own room and I quickly forgot about the struggles we had early on. Nights with my second girl, however, were really starting to take a toll on me. She had started out a good sleeper, but then sometime around 2-3 months something changed. She would go to sleep just fine at bedtime, but I could almost set my watch to the 1.5-2 hour intervals at which she would be waking up. During this period, I had just started going back to work full time, and was exhausted.
Like many moms, I started reading books and asking friends, desperately trying to find a solution. I would have tried anything! A few of those suggestions I tried that DID NOT work were:
- Swaddling—baby would break free
- BabyWise and other parent-led baby schedules
- A later bedtime
- Sleeping in the same room
- Transitioning to the crib
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How I Stumbled Upon the Sleep Suit
Finally, when I had gone countless nights with no more than 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep and was struggling to function at my job during the day, I desperately turned to the internet again for advice. I knew there must be something out there, either a product or a method, that could help us. On one of my pumping breaks at work, I groggily typed “magic sleep baby” into Google. I thought I had heard a friend or relative talk about some “magic” sleep solution before, but didn’t think twice at the time. The first result that came up was Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit! When I saw the picture of what looks like a padded miniature spacesuit I laughed out loud. But I was ready to try anything, so I immediately went to Amazon, ordered it with rush shipping, and prayed that a solution to all our sleep problems was about to arrive at my doorstep.
What is Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit?
The sleepsuit is basically a very cushioned foot-less sleeper designed for babies who are ready to break out of the swaddle but who are having trouble with the transition. Designed for back sleeping, which your baby should be doing if they are younger than 12 months or are not yet flipping over in their sleep by themselves, the sleepsuit muffles small movements your baby may make during the night that might otherwise wake them up. It is made of two layers of lightweight jersey cotton (also comes in microfleece) that is filled with polyfil in between. To get baby easily in and out, it has 2 zippers on either side that zip from the ankle to the collarbone. The zippers tuck nicely under a flap on either side of the collar to prevent irritation to baby’s neck or face. The suit comes in different colors—cream, yellow, pink, blue—and in 3-6 month and 6-9 month sizes. It is recommended to start using the sleepsuit at 3 months, which is right around when babies are starting to escape from their swaddle.
Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit
What Have You Tried?
Have You Tried the Magic Sleepsuit? What Did You Think?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Megan Machucho (author) from Milwaukee, WI on September 04, 2017:
MamaDu, the following source is a study finding that having both paternal and maternal involvement in the nighttime routine can be beneficial to baby's sleep:
Also, this article is where I first came across this claim, and where the study was referenced:
MamaDu on September 04, 2017:
Do you have a source for this?
"at least one study showed that babies who are picked up more during the night end up having poorer sleep habits. It also indicated that if the same parent (usually mom, if breastfeeding) is the one who always attends to the crying child at night, rather than alternating mom and dad, they are likely to wake up more frequently."