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My son is turning 2 months old next week, and lately we've noticed he has trouble getting comfortable when we put him down in his bassinet/crib.

It starts out alright, he looks sleepy after we feed, change, and burp him so we put him down with a little soft white noise playing. But as soon as his hands and feet touch the mattress, his legs start to kick in the air and his hands and arms start to swing about, and it can take anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour to get him to relax again.

Is there anything we can do to help him settle when we lay him down for a nap?

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Swaddle the child well. The arms and legs should be wrapped well enough to prevent flailing, swinging and wide movements. Detailed directions can be found in many sources, for example in the book and accompanying videos by Harvey Karp "The Happiest Baby on the Block; Fully Revised and Updated Second Edition: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer".

REFERENCES:

New babies have very little control over their arms. Swaddling prevents your little one from whacking herself in the face and getting even more upset. It also prevents her from startling herself and disrupting sleep. Once wrapped, a baby can pay attention and be soothed by the other S's (Side-Stomach, Shushing, Swinging or Sucking).

How To Swaddle a Baby Using the “DUDU” Method By Dr. Harvey Karp

1. The 1st S: Swaddle
Swaddling recreates the snug packaging inside the womb and is the cornerstone of calming. It decreases startling and increases sleep. And, wrapped babies respond faster to the other 4 S’s and stay soothed longer because their arms can’t wriggle around. To swaddle correctly, wrap arms snug—straight at the side—but let the hips be loose and flexed. Use a large square blanket, but don’t overheat, cover your baby’s head or allow unraveling. Note: Babies shouldn’t be swaddled all day, just during fussing and sleep.

Using the 5 S's to Soothe a Crying Baby: Dr. Harvey Karp – Happiest Baby

DUDU Swaddling Technique by Dr. Harvey Karp (YouTube video)

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  • We have tried swaddling - we even use the DUDU method linked above. However, getting the bottom part of the swaddle under him is proving to be a challenge as he gets bigger and bigger, and he's usually wiggled free of his swaddle within 15 minutes of us finishing it - so we aren't having much luck there.
    – Zibbobz
    Oct 22, 2021 at 13:54
  • @Zibbobz Swaddling snugly, when done correctly, does not allow the child to wiggle free, certainly not within 15 minutes. Perhaps your swaddle is too loose for the child's current strength. I would recommend revisiting your swaddling technique. Also, what about the other 4 S's: Side-Stomach, Shushing, Swinging or Sucking? Oct 22, 2021 at 14:01
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    A tighter swaddle might help - we'll try to practice a little more, though it doesn't quite resolve the issue of the bottom flap not being able to wrap around our boy. As for the other S's of soothing, they work to varying degrees - but it can still be an issue when we finally have to put him down.
    – Zibbobz
    Oct 22, 2021 at 14:06
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    Regarding ambient noise your solution with white noise sounds the best. Make sure that the white noise is loud. It is not supposed to be soft and low, but rather quite loud. Also, for light, have you considered a large upright standing folding screen? It can shield the child from light quite well. Oct 22, 2021 at 14:21
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    That might be in our future - for now though, the suggestion to tighten the swaddle has yielded some good results! I may need to get more of the larger-sized ones since they seem to fit him best. But barring any other surprises, I'm probably going to accept this as the answer. Thank you for all the help!
    – Zibbobz
    Oct 22, 2021 at 16:04

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