Transitioning out of a swaddle
Wrapping your baby snug-as-a-bug can make him or her sleep more peacefully, but you will eventually have to stop using it. Swaddling can help your baby sleep better. Wrapping your newborn in a tight wrap will make her feel more secure and safe as she adjusts to the world outside her womb. It will also keep her warm and cozy as her internal temperature rises.
In a few months, however, you’ll have to say goodbye to the practice. While swaddling is safe for newborns, if you follow the safe sleeping guidelines, it can become dangerous as your baby grows older and more mobile.
What is the best time to stop swaddling your baby? And how can you help your child transition to swaddle-free sleeping? Here are some things you should know.
What age should you stop swaddling at?
There is no easy answer to every parenting question. The issue of when to stop swaddling can be complicated. You need to do away with the swaddle as soon your child is more active and trying to roll over. This can occur as early as two months. It is the best time to stop swaddling. Although babies often roll over around 3 to 4 months of age, it is best to say goodbye sooner, if your baby begins trying to roll.
Why is this the ideal age to stop swaddling your baby? The blanket can pose a danger of strangulation or suffocation if your baby becomes mobile enough to kick her blanket off. Remember that safe sleep rules state that no bedding or blankets should be left in a crib or bassinet before your baby’s first birthday.
It’s more than a safety concern. A wrap that restricts your baby’s movement can hinder her ability to practice age-appropriate motor skills. This could hinder her ability to develop. All this being said, you may be wondering if it makes sense to stop swaddling your baby earlier than a month. If your baby is not showing signs of mobility and trying to roll over, it’s okay to stop swaddling. It’s fine to swaddle your baby if you feel the need to. Babies don’t require to be wrapped. Some babies actually sleep better without being wrapped.
You might consider a Velcro wrap or zipper swaddle wrap before giving up on swaddling. They are easier for parents to use and more comfortable than traditional blankets.
What is the best way to get out of a swaddle and transition?
Stopping swaddling your baby can be like the end for an era. You have wrapped and unwrapped her more times than you can count. You might be concerned that swaddling could cause your baby to lose her sleep routine.
All babies eventually learn to sleep without a swaddle. You could also try to stop cold turkey to see if your baby responds. She might fall asleep just as well as she did before.
If that is not the case, or you don’t want a bad night of sleep experimentation, you can try a slower approach. Here’s how it works:
- Begin by wrapping your baby in a swaddle.
- After she has become comfortable with having one arm out for a few nights, you can start to wrap her up with both arms.
- After a few nights, you can stop using the swaddle bed.
As long as your blanket is secure, you can wrap your baby in one or both arms. Some newborns like to be swaddled with either one or both arms at the beginning.
Swaddle blankets can be traded for transitional sleep bags. These hybrid swaddle wrap/wearable swaddle blankets provide a similar snugness as a wrap but aren’t likely to be kicked off during sleep.
You can use any of these sleeping bags but you will eventually need to get your baby out . This could be because she outgrows it, or because it becomes unsafe when she moves more.
There is no single way to stop swaddling. You can do what works best for you and your baby. If you have any questions or are unsure, speak to your child’s pediatrician.
How can I get my baby to go to sleep without having him swaddled?
You might be concerned that your baby will not sleep well without a swaddle. It’s normal for babies to have a difficult time getting used to the swaddle at first.
You still have many tools to help your baby sleep. Help your baby relax and fall asleep by creating a calm bedtime routine that includes a bath, feeding and rocking, as well as a story or lullaby.
You can create a calm atmosphere by dimming the lights and speaking softly. Don’t forget the power of touch. Infant massage is a great way to calm your baby and get her to sleep.
Even though a swaddle bed is no longer available, you might still be able to use a hybrid swaddle-sleep sack to help you get through the transition. A regular sleep bag is another option. This is a blanket your child can wear through toddlerhood, though you might need to adjust the size.
For newborns, swaddling is a great way to sleep. When your baby is approximately 2 months old, and your child is able to roll out of her swaddle blanket or kick it off, it’s time for you to let go. We are now entering the exciting next phase of babyhood.
Methods to transition your baby out of a swaddle
Here are some tips and tricks to help make the transition a little easier for you and your little one.
Start your baby off sleeping without a swaddle in the beginning of the night this should be at least a half or third of the night. Once they wake up in the middle of the night and start to become fussy you can put them in the swaddle for the remainder of the night. The idea is for your child to get used to going to sleep without the swaddle and slowly sleep longer each night without their swaddle. This might take a few weeks for your child to adjust without the swaddle but it’s important you start this process before your child rolls over in their sleep.
Swaddle with one arm in and one out
Similar to the method above this helps gradually get your baby used to sleeping without the swaddle. Leaving one of their arms out and one in the swaddle gives them the sense of being in a swaddle but also introducing sleeping without it. For the first few nights leave one arm out and see how they adjust. After the first few nights you can leave both of their arms out of the swaddle. Once they have adjusted with both arms you can transition into no swaddle blanket.
We recommend this method for babies who are good at self soothing. Your child might adjust immediately while others take a few nights. If your baby hasn’t learned to self soothe or hasn’t mastered it, transitioning to cold turkey may leave you with a few sleepless nights.
If you are looking to transition from a swaddle, a sleep slack is a great alternative. Sleep sacks are exactly what you may think. It’s a wearable blanket that zips up around your baby. Every sleep sack is different, some have openings for legs and arms. However others are completely enclosed with an opening for their head. Others have a slight weight on the chest to help with your baby’s startle reflex. Sleep sacks can be a lot warmer than a swaddle so make sure to not use one with your child when they are running a fever.
A swaddle is a great way to give comfort to your newborn and help them get a full night’s sleep. While your baby might want to stay in a swaddle forever it’s important to know when to transition them out. You will want to start transitioning them around 3-5 months, but again the earlier the better.
When starting the transition it might not be easy but don’t give up. Eventually you both will be able to sleep soundly throughout the night and safely. These milestones will keep coming so just relax and enjoy your little one growing up.