On the recommendation of another swaddle-addicted mama, we purchased the Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit, and our daughter has been wearing it to sleep for almost a month now.
Here is my review, based on a number of important categories:
This sleepsuit is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever put on my child, and I have put some pretty ridiculous things on my child.
Such as this hat.
When she wears it, she looks like the Michelin Man. It at least doubles her size. It's like the scene in A Christmas Story where the little brother screams "I can't put my arms down!" in his snow suit, but it's even funnier because it's a tiny little baby that is lost in the giant fluffy padding of the sleep suit.
Of course I have pictures of my own child wearing the suit, but I want to build up some suspense before I show them to you.
The main reason the suit is so puffy is to blunt the baby's movements so that she doesn't flail herself awake so easily, but I'm convinced that the other secret backup reason is because it makes the baby look so funny. Whoever invented this suit clearly has a sense of humor and is someone I would love to have a beer with.
SWADDLE REPLACEMENT ABILITY: 4/5
The first night we used the sleep suit, we tried just putting the baby in it and putting her to bed as usual. This did not work. She still had a little too much freedom of movement. The suit was just too different from the Halo sleep sack she was used to.
So, I folded up a swaddle blanket until it was only ~6 inches wide and used this to tie the baby's arms down at her sides. We did this for a few days to let her get used to the suit, and then tried it with only her more active right arm tied down. And then switched to only tying down the left arm. Eventually, we were able to put her to bed with no swaddle blanket at all ... but if she wakes up in the night and gets herself worked up, I still have to tie one or both of her arms back down to get her to go to sleep. So technically I guess the weaning is still in progress, though I am trying to resist tying up her arms whenever she gets wild in the night. Maybe someday.
I should also add that the blanket tying her arms down added significantly to the hilariousness factor. Not only was she huge and puffy, but she also looked like some old-timey slapstick comedy kidnapping victim. And when I tied down only one arm but not the other, the swaddle blanket looked like that time I put a sling on my teddy bear as a child because I was playing doctor and got a little too fast and loose with the scalpel. The bear survived, but we were on pins and needles for a while there.
I cannot for a moment take my child seriously when she looks like this. And I don't know who "James" is.
What I'm saying is, the one-armed swaddle makes my child look like a giant stuffed carnival prize that was abused by some dark-minded child and is now wearing a sling because children don't understand that stuffed animals are not real people and slings do not help them.
One of the main reasons we used the Halo sleep sacks instead of regular swaddle blankets was because fartability is so important to us. Our daughter gets really gassy in the night, and it's very important that her sleep solution allows her the freedom to kick her legs up as needed to force out some comically exaggerated flatulence. Fortunately, the Merlin sleepsuit allows her to work out her farts like a hippo after a colonoscopy.
I give this category four stars instead of five because Audrey still ends up in bed with me at some point most nights, and I am just sick to death of sharing the bed with someone who farts up the place like they don't give a f***. If it's not my husband, it's my daughter. I know it's not the sleep suit's fault but seriously, can I just enjoy ONE night without someone farting two inches from my body??
BABY'S OVERALL SLEEP: 4/5
It's certainly better than what happened the night I tried to put her to bed in just a sleep sack, but after a month we're still not quite where I'd like to be. I still have to tie up an arm or two about four days a week, and that's not ideal. But we'll get there eventually.
The sleep suit is kind of a pain to take on and off. They did the best they could with the design of it, but the fact remains that it is huge and puffy and so it's a challenge to stick uncooperative baby arms and legs through the holes. It's also definitely not designed for midnight diaper changes. Which is fine most nights, but just the other night the baby's farts got a little out of hand and she pooped her diaper at 3AM. This meant that I had to carefully take her out of the suit completely to change her diaper, and then put it back on her once she was clean. By the time all was said and done, she was so completely wide awake that we might as well have just gone downstairs and watched infomercials together.
Am I the only one who thinks that "baby bullet" is maybe not the best name for a product? It sounds like a bullet designed especially for the murder of helpless infants.
Also, when you wash the sleep suit, it takes forever to dry in the dryer. And you will probably want to turn the arms and legs inside out halfway through the dryer cycle.
BUT -- my baby is learning to sleep without a swaddle, and SHE LOOKS LIKE THIS:
So I'd recommend the Merlin's Sleep Suit to anyone and everyone!